Guide to the Eloise Wilkin Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wilkin, Eloise Burns
Title: Eloise Wilkin papers
Dates: 1979-1980 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet (1 container)
Collection Number: Coll 213
Summary: Eloise Wilkin (1904-1987) was a writer and illustrator of children's book. The collection contains documents relating to the book illustrated by Wilkin, The Visit, and includes correspondence, illustrations, a draft of the manuscript, photographs, a layout of the book, a press release, original artwork, and a bound copy of the book.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Eloise Wilkin was born Eloise Burns on March 30, 1904 in Rochester, New York. Wilkin married and had four children, Sidney, Jeremy, Deborah Wilkin Springett, and Ann Wilkin Murphy. Her career, covering more than fifty years, involved free-lance drawing, doll designing, illustration and writing.

Wilkin won several awards for her writings and illustrations including the Ewald Eisenhardt Memorial Merit Award for excellence in printmaking for her lithograph “Lilybet.” Two books, which she illustrated, The Boy With a Drum (1971) by David L. Harrison and I Hear: Sounds In a Child’s World (1971) by Lucille Ogle and Tina Thoburn, were each named children’s book of the year by the Child Study Association of America. She also received honorable mention in 1940 from the New York Times Book Review for her illustrations for A Good House for a Mouse written by Irmengarde Eberle, 1940, and in 1950 for The Tune is in the Tree written by Maud Hart Lovelace

In addition to her collaborations with numerous other authors, however, Wilkin published several of her own books, including Baby’s Mother Goose, My Goodnight Book, and The Eloise Wilkin Treasury: Favorite Nursery Rhymes, Poems, and Stories. A number of her books were joint efforts with her sister, Esther, who provided the text. Over the years she worked with various major publishing houses, and by 1944 she was under exclusive contract with Golden Press, a division of Western Publishing Company in New York City. Wilkin also collaborated with her daughter Deborah Springett on Eloise Wilkin’s Book of Poems, a collection combining Wilkin’s drawings with verse written by Deborah. Wilkin’s work was exhibited in 1982 at Hartnett Gallery, Rochester, New York.

Eloise Wilkin was also known for designing dolls and dollhouses. In the 1960s she successfully marketed a newborn infant doll called “Baby Dear.” Reportedly, former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev returned home with several of the dolls after a trip to a toy store in New York City.

While studying art at Mechanics Institute (now Rochester Institute of Technology), Wilkin met Joan Esley, best known as an illustrator of several books for adolescents. They formed a lifelong friendship that included collaboration on The Visit. Eloise Wilkin died of cardiac arrest following surgery for cancer, October 4, 1987 in Rochester, New York.

Source: Contemporary Authors Online.

Content Description

The Eloise Wilkin collection contains materials relating entirely to the book illustrated by Wilkin, The Visit. Materials include chronologically arranged correspondence, a typed revised draft of the manuscript, photographs, a layout of the book, a press release, original artwork, and a bound copy of the book.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish or from collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Eloise Wilkin Papers, Coll 213, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series:

  • Series I. Correspondence
  • Series II. Manuscript, layout, published book
  • Series III. Photographs
  • Series IV. Illustrations
  • Series V. Oversize Illustrations

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Eloise Wilkin in 1981.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by Aggie Agapito.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Correspondence
1 1 Incoming correspondence 1979-1980

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Series II:  Manuscript, layout, published book
1 2 Typed draft with revisions, pages 1-11
1 3 Layout for The Visit
1 4 Published book: Esley, Joan. The Visit. Chicago: Rand McNally 1980
1 5 Book review, The Visit

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Series III:  Photographs
1 6 Photographs for illustrations
1 7 Photographs for illustrations

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Series IV:  Illustrations
1 8 The Visit (flowers and leaves, p. 32) 1979-1980
1 9 The Visit (bird on branch, p. 2)

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Series V:  Oversize Illustrations
2 1 The Visit (Two-story house, p. 1)
2 2 The Visit (Grandmother knitting, sitting with girl, p. 5)
2 3 The Visit ("Aunt Lavinia," she said, "someone is watching me. There's a boy outside and he's staring in the window." p. 7)
2 4 The Visit (Grandmother brushing girl's hair, p. 11)
2 5 The Visit ("Long, long ago, another little girl named Abigail had slept in this bed, with this same doll in her arms." p. 13)
2 6 The Visit (Family eating in dining room, p. 15)
2 7 The Visit (Girl looking out window, p. 17)
2 8 The Visit (Grandmother and child in attic, p. 19)
2 9 The Visit ("A Freckled face was peering through the railing" p. 25)

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  • Personal Names :
  • Esley, Joan
  • Esley, Joan--Correspondence
  • Wilkin, Eloise Burns--Correspondence
  • Subject Terms :
  • Children's literature, American--Illustrations
  • Illustrated children's books--United States--Specimens
  • Women authors, American--20th century
  • Women illustrators--United States.
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Book illustrations
    • Manuscripts for publication
    • Photographs

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