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James (Jim) McMullan Papers

Identifier: CLRC-2131

Scope and Contents

The collection focuses on James McMullan's work as an illustrator of books for children. The collection contains materials for titles published between 1992 and 2012, many of which were collaborations with his wife Kate McMullan. The collection is comprised mostly of original illustrations, including early sketch drawings, color studies for watercolors, and final art. The collection also includes correspondence, dummies, and photographs that were used as reference when creating the final art.


  • Creation: 1992-2013, undated


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 Sketch

James McMullan was born in June 1934 in Tsingtao, North China. His grandparents had immigrated to China from Ireland in the 1880's as missionaries for the Anglican Church, eventually establishing an orphanage and the export company James McMullan Ltd. McMullan himself lived in Cheefoo, where the McMullan company had its headquarters, until 1941, when he and his mother left for Canada while his father joined the British Army. In 1945, a month after the end of the war, James's father was killed in a plane crash while flying to a prisoner of war camp to make arrangements for the internees to return home.

When McMullan was 17, he and his mother immigrated to the United States. He studied for a year at the Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle. At 19, he volunteered for the United States Army, serving at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he illustrated diagrams of where to position propaganda loudspeakers on Sherman tanks. After his service, McMullan moved to New York City in 1955 and continued his art education at Pratt Institute. During his time at Pratt, he supported himself illustrating book jackets and provided magazine illustrations for titles including Esquire and Sport Illustrated.

In 1966, McMullan joined Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast at Push Pin Studios. Eventually in 1969 McMullan left Push Pin just as Milton Glaser and Clay Felker were starting New York Magazine; McMullan thus became part of the core group of artists that contributed to that magazine's singular graphic personality. In 1976, McMullan completed his first Broadway poster for the play Comedians. McMullan went on to meet Bernard Gersten, the Executive Producer of Lincoln Center Theater who eventually hired him to create theatrical posters for that institution. McMullan has created more than fifty posters for Lincoln Center Theater, including for shows such as Anything Goes, Carousel,Ah! Wilderness, A Delicate Balance, and South Pacific.

In 1979 Jim McMullan married Kate Hall, a children book writer from St. Louis. A year later, their daughter was born. His first book published with his wife, titled The Noisy Giant's Tea Party, was inspired by their experience with their daughter and was published in 1992.


17.83 Cubic Feet (41 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains original illustrations and production material related to children's books illustrated by artist Jim McMullan.


Materials are arranged alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

All materials gift of James McMullan with one exception. The final art for pages 8-9 of I'm Mightywas bought at An ABFEE (American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression) auction in June of 2013 for the CLRC Collection as a gift from Kate DiCamillo in honor of Dr. Joseph Carroll Von Drasek.

James (Jim) McMullan papers, 1992-2013, undated
Finding aid created by Kate Dietrick
October 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 2016-10: Finding Aid updated with accruals by Lydia Arant. EAD updated by Lisa Calahan.
  • June 2020: Description updated by Caitlin Marineau.

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library