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Harry Behn Papers

Identifier: CLRC-108

Scope and Contents

The collection contains production materials for seventeen children's books published between 1949 and 1971. It includes corrected typescripts, original illustrations, linucut prints, color separations, and proofs. Additionally the collection contains several folder of correspondence, both professional and person, scrapbooks, typescripts for speeches and lectures, several articles and essays written about Behn, and related items.


  • Creation: 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

Author, illustrator, editor, and screenwriter Harry Behn was born in 1898 in Yavapai County, Arizona. He graduated from Harvard University with an SB in 1922. He worked as a scenario writer for motion pictures and later taught writing at the University of Arizona and founded the University of Arizona Press, in addition to editing several periodicals and writing and directing radio programs. He published his first book of poetry, Siesta, in 1931 and published The Little Hill for children in 1949. Harry Behn wrote and translated poetry, especially haiku, for children. He also wrote fiction for older children and young adults including The Faraway Lurs (1963). Harry Behn illustrated many of his works and received several graphic arts awards for his artwork. He died in 1973.

Biographical Sources:

"Harry Behn (1898-1973)." Something About the Author. Vol. 2 and 34. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1971 and 1984.


2.9 Cubic Feet (6 boxes [1 record carton, 3 hollinger boxes, 1 half hollinger box, 1 flat box])

Language of Materials



Harry Behn's papers focus on his work as an author and illustrator of children's books. The collection contains production material for seventeen books published between 1949 and 1971, as well as other related material.

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. Harry Behn gave additional material during the 1960s with more donated by his estate after Behn's death.

Related Materials

Another collection of Harry Behn's papers, primarily related to his scriptwriting, can be found at the University of Oregon Archives.

Harry Behn Papers, 1932-1974
Christina Cowan and Nancy Larsen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • March 2023: Collection reprocessed and collection guide updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library