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James Ransome Papers

Identifier: CLRC-2111

Scope and Contents

This collection contains illustrations from five published childrens books by James Ransome. There are oil illustrations on paper, pencil sketches, and watercolor illustrations.


  • Creation: circa 1991-circa 2013


Biographical / Historical

James Ransome was born in Rich Square, North Carolina. Lacking exposure to museums or galleries because of his rural upbringing, Ransome drew early inspiration from hot rod cars, comic books, and the bible. His first foray into artistic training came from a correspondence course advertised in a comic book. Following a move to Bergenfield, New Jersey, Ransome shifted his artistic focus in high school to film making and photography. These interests shaped his visual perspective and fostered narrative development. With renewed fervor Ransome pursued a Bachelors of Arts in Illustration from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. While attending Pratt, Ransome met Jerry Pinkney, a prolific artist and later mentor, who acted as role model showing Ransome the opportunities available to African American artists. He has since received the Coretta Scott King award twice, an IBBY Honor Award, and been named one of the seventy-five authors and illustrators everyone should know by the Children's Book Council. In addition to illustrating children's books, Ransome commissions murals for libraries and museums. James resides in Rhinebeck, New York with his wife Lisa Cline Ransome, a writer of children's literature.

Biographical Source: author's website, at


1.24 Cubic Feet (1 flat box)

Language of Materials



James Ransome is an illustrator of children's books. This collection contains original artwork from five of his children's books.


Collection guide arranged alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material for The Light in the Darkness and Aunt Flossie's Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) purchased from James Ransome by the University of Minnesota. Additional materials were a gift by James Ransome.

Separated Materials

Material related to the writing of The Light in the Darkness, authored by Lesa Cline-Ransome and acquired alongside the illustrative material, were separated into the Lesa Cline-Ransome Papers.

James Ransome papers, circa 1991-circa 2013
David Haider
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Revision Statements

  • May 2018: New material added and finding aid updated by Kristell Benson
  • June 2020: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.
  • March 2023: New material added 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