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Armstrong Sperry Papers

Identifier: CLRC-1875

Scope and Contents

The collection contains both illustrations (ink, tempera, and pencil) and correspondence, corrected galley proofs, and typescripts for ten books by Armstrong Sperry, two of them unpublished. Many of the items are inscribed for Irvin Kerlan.


  • circa 1940-circa 1967


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

Armstrong W. Sperry was born November 7, 1897, in New Haven, Connecticut, and died April 28, 1978, in Hanover, New Hampshire. He was educated at the Yale School of Fine Arts, continuing his education in New York City and Paris. He served in the U.S. Navy in 1917. His naval experience, plus his experiences as an ethnologist in the 1920s in the French-controlled islands of the South Pacific, led to a life-long interest in the sea-faring history and legends of that region, and shaped his literary work. He began his artistic career as an illustrator, and shifted to writing stories for children as well, although he continued to illustrated the works of others throughout his long career. He published his first work in 1932, and in 1940 published Call It Courage, which won the 1941 Newbery Award. Most of Sperry's books for children and young adults feature themes of adventure. He also wrote war stories set during World War II.

Biographical Sources: "Armstrong W. Sperry." Something About the Author. Vols. 1 and 27. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1971 and 1982.


4 boxes

Language of Materials



Armstrong Sperry's papers focus on his work as an author and illustrator of children's and young adult fiction and non-fiction.


Collection guide arranged alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Part of this collection was originally donated to Dr. Irvin Kerlan, who in turn donated it to the University of Minnesota. During the 1970s, Mr. Sperry donated additional materials.

Armstrong Sperry Papers, circa 1940-circa 1967
Jim Eyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • July 2020: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library