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Tomie dePaola Papers

Identifier: CLRC-19

Scope and Contents

Collection contains production material for over 160 books written and/or illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Collection includes drafts, proofs, notes and research material, illustrations done in a variety of media (many with separations), studies and sketches in a variety of media, photographs, dummies, and related materials. The collection also contains a substantial amount of correspondence to and from dePaola, including some from children that include art work and photographs, as well as correspondence to and from publishers and editors.


  • 1947 - 2017


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

Biographical Sketch Tomie De Paola was born on September 15, 1934, in Meriden, Connecticut. He studied art at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and received his B.F.A. in 1956. He later received an M.F.A. from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Early in his career he worked as a freelance artist, designed, painter, set designer, and teacher. In 1965 he illustrated Soundand Wheels, two informational books for children by Lisa Miller, and in 1966 published his own book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Throughout his long and prolific career, he has illustrated over 100 books for children, including informational books, realistic picture books, folktales, and other works, written by himself or others.

De Paola's works are noted for their humor and distinctibe illustrations; he is also noted for his versatility and range of topics. His own stories, such as The Art Lessonand Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairsoften draw upon his childhood and are cited for their sensitivity, realism, and lack of didacticism. His folktales and religious stories, such as The Clown of Godand Francis, the Poor Man of Assisiand other, also display these qualities. His adaptation of Strega Nona, an Italian tale, received a Caldecott Honor citation in 1976. His illustrations are praised by critics for their lavishness and the care he takes to get his meaning across to readers, and the affection and respect he shows for both subject and audience. In 1981 he received the Kerlan Award for his contribution to childrens' literature.

Biographical Sources: Something About the Author vol. 11, 59, 108 Children's Literature Review vol. 81 Something about the Author Autobiography Series vol. 15


68.25 Cubic Feet (64 boxes (8 Paige boxes, 15 Hollinger boxes, 41 oversize flat boxes))

Language of Materials



Tomie dePaola's papers focus on his work as an author and illustrator of children's books. The collection contains production material for over 160 books written and/or illustrated by dePaola, including original artwork, drafts, proofs, and correspondence, and related materials.


This collection guide is arranged into series based on the title of the publication.

Accession Information:

Gift of Tomie dePaola

Tomie De Paola papers, 1947-2017
Jim Eyer and John Barneson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library