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Marie Hall Ets Papers

Identifier: CLRC-26

<emph render="bold">Scope and Content</emph>

The collection contains production material for twenty title published between 1935 and 1974 as well as material for some unpublished titles. There are also diplomas and certificates ranging in date from 1911 to 1976, some miscellaneous art work, her 1960 Caldecott Medal and acceptance speech, and a sketchbook. The production material includes a substantial number of illustrations, sketches, and studies done in a variety of media and related materials, and manuscripts and proofs for some titles. There is also some autobiographical material, miscellaneous material, and correspondence.


  • 1911-1976


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.

<emph render="bold">Biographical Sketch</emph>

Biographical SketchMarie Hall Ets was born December 16, 1895 (some sources cite 1893) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She spent many summers in the north woods of Wisconsin and would later draw on her experiences observing animals in writing and illustrating her books. She began drawing as a child and later studied at Lawrence College, the New York School of Fine and Applied Art, the University of Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Columbia University. Early in her career she worked as an artist, social worker, and Red Cross worker in Czechoslovakia in 1921-1922. Marie Hall Ets published her first children's book Mister Pennyin 1935. The story of a kindly old man and his mischievous animals. It displayed her talent for creating a story simple in text and design but highly appealing to children and critics for its simplicity, humor, and subtle messages of the importance of teamwork, tolerance, and living together peacefully. Marie Hall Ets would write two other stories about Mister Penny and his animal friends and their happy times together, and a love of animals is found in many of her books such as Play With Me, where a little girl learns how to get the animals to come play with her by being gentle and quiet.

Her sense of humor and a mixture of slapstick and fancifulness are demonstrated in Cow's Party, Elephant in a Well where silliness abounds. Marie Hall Ets wrote several books that reflected her interest in Mexican-Americans and Mexico including her 1960 Caldecott Award winnerNine Days to Christmas, that tells of young Ceci's Christmas plans and celebration in modern Mexico. Marie Hall Ets also received Caldecott Honor citations for In the Forest, Just Me, Mister Penny's Race Horse, Mr. T . W. Anthony Woo, andPlay With Me. She was awarded the Kerlan Award in 1975. Throughout her long career Marie Hall Ets worked in a variety of media but is perhaps best known for her black line and paper batik illustrations that served to highlight her books' simple yet appealing construction. Marie Hall Ets died in 1984.


0.6 Linear Feet


Marie Hall Ets' papers focus on her work as an author and illustrator of children's picture books. The collection contains production material for twenty titles published between 1935 and 1974. It includes holographs and typescripts, notes, front matter, correspondence, and gallery proofs and some miscellaneous holograph and typescript material, clippings, and a nine page autobiographical typescript. There are also diplomas and certificates dating from 1911 to 1976. Her 1960 Caldecott Medal and a copy of her acceptance speech. The collections contains a substantial amount of her art work and includes sketches, studies, and illustrations some with separations done in variety of media, layouts and pasteups, negatives, photographs and photostats, proofs for text and illustrations, dummies, and some miscellaneous original artwork and a sketchbook.

<emph render="bold">Arrangement</emph>

Another Day, 1953

Automobiles for Mice, 1964

Auto Tales, unpublished

Bad Boy, Good Boy, 1967

Beasts and Nonsense, 1952

Cow's Party, 1958

Elephant in a Well, 1972

Farm Boy in New York, unpublished

Gilberto and the wind, 1963

In the Forest, 1944

Jay Bird, 1974

Just Me, 1965

Little Old Automobile, 1948

Miscellaneous Materials,

Mister Penny, 1935

Mister Penny's Circus, 1961

Mister Penny's Race Horse, 1956

Mr. T. W. Anthony Woo: the Story of a Cat, a Dog and a Mouse, 1951

Nine Days to Christmas, 1959

Oley the Sea Monster, 1947

Play With Me, 1955

Story of a Baby, 1939

Talking Without Words, I Can, Can You?, 1969

Autobiographical Sketch,

Caldecott Acceptance Speech,

Caldecott Award Medal,

Miscellaneous Drawings,

Physical Location

See Detailed Descriptions for Each Title Item for Box Locations

Accession Information:

Part of this collection was originally given to Dr. Irvin Kerlan who in turn donated his collection to the University of Minnesota. During the 1960s and 1970s, Marie Hall Ets gave additional material to the Children's Literature Collection, with more given by her estate in the 1980s.

Gift of: Ets, Marie Hall

Processing Information

This collection was processed with financial assistance from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Marie Hall Ets Papers
Christina Cowan; revised by Charles Thomas and Lois Steer
December 1995; revised 1999 and 2003
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