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Leo Politi Collection

Identifier: CLRC-1761

Scope and Contents

The collection contains production material for eleven children's books published between 1944 and 1957. The production materials include illustrations done in tempera and watercolor, studies done in tempera, ink, and watercolor, a proof, and dummies. There is also a watercolor illustration done for an unpublished textbook. The collection also contains some miscellaneous artwork done in a variety of media.


  • Creation: 1942-1962


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

Leo Politi was born November 21, 1908 in Fresno, California. He went to live in Brani, Italy in 1915, his mother's family home. He studied art at the National Art Institute in Mona, Italy. In 1931, he returned to California and settled in Los Angeles, living in the Mexican section of the city, a setting that would later form the backdrop of several of his books. In 1938, Leo Politi wrote and illstrated his first book for children, Little Pancho. In 1950, he received the Caldecott Medal for Song Of the Swallow, and also received Caldecott Honor citations for Pedro, the Angel Of Olvera Streetin 1947 and Juanitain 1949. Leo Politi died on March 24, 1996 in Los Angeles, California.

Biographical Sources:

"Leo Politi (1908-1996)." Something About the Author. Vol. 47 and 88. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1987, 1997.


4 boxes

Language of Materials



Leo Politi's collection contains art and production materials for multiple titles illustrated by Politi, as well as miscellaneous artwork.

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. Leo Politi gave two sketches to the Kerlan Collection in 1974.

Leo Politi Collection , 1942-1962
Christina Cowan, January 1999; Lois Steer, March 2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • October 2020: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library