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Maurice Sendak Papers

Identifier: CLRC-69

Scope and Contents

The collection contains production material for 21 titles, as well as an illustration for a Robert Frost poem included in a collection of children's literature published in 1958. There is manuscript material for 1 title only, Kenny's Window, consisting of typescripts, some corrected or carbon, corrected galley proofs, and notes. The rest of the collection consists of illustrative material and includes studies done in a variety of media, including ink and pencil, illustrations, jacket and endpaper studies, illustration proofs, a dummy, and a signed lithograph. It also contains miscellaneous artwork done for Esquire magazine, a version of The Happy Princenot verified as published, and an ink and watercolor study inscribed for Irvin Kerlan.


  • 1951-1965


Language of Materials


Access and Use:

Collection is open for researchers with no restrictions. Registration with the collection is required.


This collection is 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.

Biographical Sketch

Maurice Sendak was born June 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York. He began his art career as a cartoonist and display artist, and in the 1940s he started to illustrate children's books. Sendak illustrated many well-known author's books in the early years of his career, including Meindart De Jong, Ruth Krause, Charlotte Zolotow, and Janice Udry; he also illustrated Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear series. In the 1950s he began to write children's picture books. Throughout his long career he has continued to illustrate his own and other author's works, retellings of folk and fairy tales, and to write and direct plays for children, as well as to write for adults. He has been honored many times by the Caldecott committee, winning the Medal in 1964 for Where the Wild Things Are, and the Caldecott Honor for A Very Special House; Little Bear's Visit; The Moon Jumpers; Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present; In the Night Kitchen; Outside Over There; What Do You Say, Dear?. He has also illustrated a number of Newbery Honor books. He was one of the first authors/illustrators to deal honestly and openly with the feelings of young children, and their emotional reality. He vividly brings to life their dreams and fantasies, and how they make discoveries about themselves and their world. He also uses flights into adventure and/or fantasy to help children deal with their feelings of anger, sadness, etc. recognizing that all of these are present in the young child, and they need to be able to come to grips with them. Some of Sendak's detractors claim that he is too serious in some of his works, but Sendak, and many other critics, assert that children should not and can not be shielded from reality and harsh truths.

Sendak died May 8, 2012, in Connecticut.

Biographical Sources: Something About the Author, vols. 1, 27, 113 Children's Literature Review, vol. 74


3 Cubic Feet (.4 linear feet -- written 2.5 cubic feet -- illustrative)


Maurice Sendak's papers focus on his work as an author and illustrator of children's books, with emphasis on the latter. The collection contains production materials for 21 titles published between 1951-1965, an illustration for a Robert Frost poem contained in a book of children's literature published in 1958, some miscellaneous art work, including studies for Esquire magazine, an ink and watercolor study inscribed for Irvin Kerlan, and a study for a version of Oscar Wild's The Happy Prince, not verified as published. The collection contains studies done in a variety of media, proofs, a dummy, a signed lithograph, and typescripts, notes, and galley proofs.

Physical Location

See Detailed Descriptions for Each Title Item for Box Locations

Accession Information:

This collection was given originally to Dr. Irvin Kerlan, who in turn donated his collection to the University of Minnesota.

Gift of: Sendak, Maurice

Maurice Sendak Papers
Jim Eyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library