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Brian Pinkney Papers

Identifier: CLRC-2130

Scope and Content

The collection contains original artwork for books that Brian Pinkney illustrated from 1993 to 2013, of which his wife Andrea Davis Pinkney is the author. The collection primary consisted of sketches and process artwork, including drawings, watercolors, artist's dummies of book layouts, page proofs, research, and black and white matted photographs used for reference.


  • Creation: 1996-2011, undated


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

Brian Pinkney was born in Boston in 1961; his father Jerry was an illustration and his mother Gloria Jean was an author, milliner, and silversmith. In 1983 he earned his Bachelors of Fine Arts from Philadelphia College of Art, where his father had also attended. Beginning his career as a freelance illustrator, Brian eventually returned to school to complete a Masters of Fine Arts degree in illustration in 1990 from the School of Visual Arts in New York. While working as an illustrator for a magazine art department Brian met Andrea Davis, an editor and writer, and the two were married in 1991. Together, Brian and Andrea have created nine picture books, including a series of biographies of famous African Americans, including Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and his Orchestra published in 1998, and Ella Fitzgerald: The Tale of a Vocal Virtuosain 2002. Brian has won numerous awards including a Coretta Scott King Award, four Coretta Scott King Honors, the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and two Caldecott Honors. His works have also been exhibited in museums around the country including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Detroit Institute of Art.


2.08 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of production material for publications illustrated by Brian Pinkney.


Collection guide arranged alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Brian Pinkney and Andrea Davis Pinkney

Related Materials

A number of titles illustrated by Brian Pinkney were written by his wife, Andrea Davis Pinkney. For manuscript materials, please refer to the finding aid for the Andrea Davis Pinkney Papers.

Brian Pinkney Papers, 1996-2011, undated
Finding aid created by Meredith J. Gillies and Kate Dietrick
October 2013, June 2014
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • June 2020: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library