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Barbara Latham Papers

Identifier: CLRC-2285

Scope and Contents

This collection contains art, correspondence and notes on 18 published titles illustrated by Latham as well as one published title she both wrote and illustrated. There are numerous types of art created in mediums such as ink, watercolor, pencil and charcoal. There is also material from several unpublished titles and original art work that is not in reference to any book. There is a large amount of correspondence between Latham and her publishers for several of the published titles as well as a few typescripts from the authors of the books.


  • 1937 - 1965


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

Barbara Latham was born in Walpole, MA in 1896. Both her father and mother were teachers and the family moved to Connecticut when Barbara was six for her father’s new job. As a self-described tom-boy, Barbara remembers her childhood as a happy, idyllic time full of outdoor activities, reading and art. She was encouraged to develop her artistic abilities as a child, and after high school she attended the Norwich Academy and the Pratt Institute in New York City. She graduated from Pratt in 1919 and after a few summers of studying with noted painter Andrew Dasburg at the Art Students League Summer School in Woodstock, New York, Barbara got a job as a greeting card designer in New York City. Eventually, after taking a vacation there in the fall of 1925, Barbara moved to Taos, NM where she met her future husband, artist Howard Cook. After marrying in 1927, the couple spent the first decade of their married lives traveling the globe, living in Europe, Mexico and the southern United States. Her experiences living in these places greatly influenced her art, though none so much as the American southwest, where the couple eventually settled. Her first children’s book Pedro, Nina and Perrito (1939) is a perfect example of this. After many decades of creating highly-renowned artwork, Barbara passed away in 1989, still residing in her adopted home state of New Mexico.

Biographical Source: Cunningham, E. J. (2013). : Remarkable women of Taos: a yearlong community-wide celebration honoring outstanding Taoseña: a printed version of a web project. Taos, New Mexico: Nighthawk Press, [2013].


2.29 Cubic Feet (7 boxes [1 Hollinger box and 6 flat boxes])

Language of Materials



Barbara Latham’s papers focus on her work as an illustrator of children’s books. The collection contains production materials for 19 titles published between 1939 and 1965 as well as correspondence and materials for various unpublished works.


The collection guide is arranged into three series; Authors Material, Published Work, Unpublished Work. Within the Published Work series, publications are arranged alphabetically by title.

The Barbara Latham Papers, 1930-1960
Kristell Benson
March 15, 2018
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 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