Skip to main content

Elizabeth Coatsworth papers

Identifier: CLRC-15

Scope and Contents

Elizabeth Coatsworth's papers reflect her work as an author of children's books. The collection contains production material for 53 titles, including her autobiography, published between 1930 and 1976. The collection also contains production material for stories and poems published in magazines, as well as unpublished stories, poems, and books.

The material includes manuscripts, typescripts, notes and research, proofs, and dummies. Also contained is a substantial amount of business and personal correspondence, including some to her husband, the author Henry Beston. In addition, the collection holds journals kept by Coatsworth during her travels (some which include poems later published), as well as journals containing stories and other writings, scrapbooks, photograph albums, and miscellaneous items.


  • circa 1894-1978


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

Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth was born May 31, 1893 in Buffalo, New York. She graduated from Vassar College in 1915, and received a M.A. from Columbia University in 1916. During her childhood and after college, she traveled extensively, which helped inspire many of her works.

Coatsworth began writing poetry in 1914 and published many poems in magazines, and in 1923 published her first book Fox Footprints. In 1927, she published The Cat and the Captain; (later revised and re-published in 1974). In 1930, she published The Cat Who Went to Heaven, supposedly based on Buddhist folktales, which won the Newbery Award in 1931.

For the next forty-five years, Coatsworth continued to write for juveniles and adults, poetry and fiction, as well as some nonfiction. Coatsworth received the 1975 Kerlan Award from the University of Minnesota Children's Literature Research Collections. She died in Nobleboro, Maine on August 31, 1986.


16 Cubic Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection consists of production material for books written by Elizabeth Coatsworth, as well as unpublished material, correspondence, journals, and other items.


Collection guide is arranged alphabetically by title or material type.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elizabeth Coatsworth.

Elizabeth Coatsworth Papers, circa 1894-1978
Lisa Calahan
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • September 5, 2014: Collection reprocessed by Laura Howard, EAD updated by Lisa Calahan.
  • April 2023: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library