Skip to main content

Gustaf Tenggren Papers

Identifier: CLRC-100

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of various materials dating from 1916 to 2002 related to Gustaf Tenggren's work as an illustrator of children's books. There are original art pieces (tempera, watercolor, ink and pencil), early pencil and ink sketches, layout sketches, and crayon drawings. Some of the final art pieces are matted. Other materials including color proofs, dummies, jacket proofs, typescripts, financial records, correspondence, royalty documents, newspaper clippings, photographs of original art, magazine clippings, bulletins, and exhibition catalogues. There are also two copper plates from unidentified illustrations. Materials are from published works and unpublished works.


  • Creation: 1916 - 2002


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical / Historical

Gustaf Tenggren was born on November 3, 1896 in Magra in Vastra Gotaland County, Sweden. He attended the Valand School of Fine Arts in Gothenburg, Sweden beginning in 1913, and in 1917 he began illustrating Bland Tomtar Och Troll,(Among Gnomes and Trolls), an annual serial of fairy tales published for children. In 1920, Gustaf Tenggren came to the United States and moved first to Cleveland, Ohio, where his sister resided, before eventually moving to New York City in 1922. In 1923, Tenggren illustrated his first work for children in America, Nathaniel Hawthorne's A Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales. From 1923 to 1939, Tenggren worked for the game company Milton Bradley. In 1936 he was hired to work as the chief illustrator on the feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfsfor the Walt Disney Company. Tenggren left Walt Disney Company in 1940 after having worked on other productions such as Bambi and Pinocchio and at times leading the workforce of artists that numbered up to 700.

From 1942 to 1962 he worked for Little Golden Books, illustrating such well known titles as The Poky Little Puppy. Throughout his long career as an artist and illustrator, Tenggren illustrated dozens of books for children, including many of his own adaptations of fairy and folk tales. He passed away in 1970 at Dogfish Head in Southport, Maine.


38 Cubic Feet (56 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of original art (both in-process drawings and final art) as well as manuscript materials related to numerous children's book titles illustrated by Gustaf Tenggren.


This collection is arranged in three series:

Series 1: Publications

Series 2: Unpublished materials

Series 3: Miscellaneous

Please note that materials in Series 2: Unpublished materials are for identified titles that were not published or could not be verified as published. Materials in Series 3: Miscellaneous include materials that could not be identified as relating to any discernible title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Part of this collection was originally given to Dr. Irvin Kerlan who in turn donated his collection to the University of Minnesota. Additional material was donated by Gustaf Tenggren's widow, Mollie (Malin) Fröberg Tenggren, in 1983.

Separated Materials

Additional artwork by Gustaf Tenggren from Mollie Tenggren's donation is held by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.

Gustaf Tenggren papers, 1916-2002
Finding aid created by CLRC staff
1996, 2005, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • April 2015: Collection reprocessed by Kate Dietrick; EAD updated by Kate Dietrick
  • February 2023: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library