Margaret Ayer papers, 1918-1970  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Ayer, Margaret
Margaret Ayer papers
1918-1970 (inclusive)
2.0 linear feet, (2 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 506
Margaret Ayer (?-1981) was a free-lance writer, artist and illustrator of literature, with an emphasis on children's literature. The collection includes manuscripts, illustrations and correspondence that reflect her interest in art and in Asia.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

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

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Margaret Ayer was born in New York City (date unknown) to Ira Ayer, a physician, and Louise (Foster) Ayer. She was educated at the Philadelphia Museum of Industrial Arts as well as receiving private art instruction in Paris and Rome. She was married to Alfred Babbington Smith who was a banker. She traveled in Thailand in 1918-1919 and again in 1962-1963. The dates of her education and marriage are unknown. She wrote and illustrated six children's books and illustrated 52 books, both for children and adults. She also wrote short stories, serials and articles for children's magazines. She was the member of several organizations including: The Asia Society, The Society of Illustrators, The Women's National Book Association and Artist's Guild of New York. Margaret Ayer died in 1981 in Castro Valley, California.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Margaret Ayer papers contain correspondence from friends as well as letters from the Thai government granting permission for Ayer to sketch certain places and works of art. This series also has receipts and postcards from Ayer's travels to Thailand. The manuscript series contains research notes and drafts for the book Animals of Southeast Asia, as well as the final draft and page proofs. It contains early drafts for the book Made in Thailand. These are only two of the six books she wrote and illustrated during her life. In this collection, (in the publications series) are several of the serials as they were published, including The First Easter, The Girl Who Helped Her Master, Jesus and the fisherman, The Little Shepherd, and Through the Roof to Jesus, all of which were published by C.R. Gibson. Other stories in this collection are "Paklat's Lucky Day," published in the Trailblazer serial (of which this collection contains two), which have in them chapters three and four of "Packlat's Lucky Day." Also included are three issues of Young Wings magazine of The Junior Literary Guild, containing the articles: "Hobby Happiness Abroad", "My Part in the Secret Spring", and "I Must See Mauna Loa." Ayer's short story "The Stone Jungle" is included in a copy of the American Red Cross Youth News magazine.. While not a complete collection, the stories and articles are a good example of the Ayer's work. In the illustrations series are many of Ayer's works in ink and crayon. As an illustrator she did the drawings for at last 52 children and adult books.

Overall this collection contains manuscripts, publications, illustrations in ink and crayon, research materials, and correspondence that demonstrate Ayer's artistic and narrative style, as well as her interest in the culture and natural world of Thailand.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

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 collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival 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], Margaret Ayer Papers, Ax 506, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Incoming personal correspondence
December 1918-April 1968
1 2
Incoming from St. Martin Press
September 1969-February 1970

Literary ManuscriptsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 3
Made in Thailand. First draft
1 4
Animals of Southeast Asia. First draft
1 5
Animals of Southeast Asia. Early drafts
1 6
Animals of Southeast Asia. Final draft (Xerox)
1 7
Animals of Southeast Asia. Page proofs
1 8
Research notes
1 9
Research notes
1 10
Research notes
1 11
Research notes

PublicationsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 12
Series of booklets published by C. R. Gibson: The Girl Who helped Her Master, The Little Shepherd, Jesus and the Fishermen, The First Easter, and Through the Roof to Jesus.
1 13
Young Wings magazine of The Junior Literary Guild, containing the articles:"Hobby Happiness Abroad" (p. 13), "My Part in the Secret Spring" (p. 13), "I Must See Mauna Loa" (p. 13)
November 1944, January 1945 and August 1984
1 14
American Red Cross Youth News: magazine containing the short story"The Stone Jungle" (p. 20)
October, 1969
1 15
Trailblazer serials containing the story: "Paklat's Lucky Day" chapters three and four
March 19, 1961 and April 2, 1961
1 16
The Golden Coin by Grace McGavran, illustrated by Margaret Ayer, The Golden Coin Friendship Press. Bound book without cover

IllustrationsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 17
Artist's Guild flyer featuring illustrations by Margaret Ayer

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Children's literature, American--Authorship
  • Women authors, American--20th century
  • Women illustrators--United States
  • Personal Names :
  • Ayer, Margaret
  • Ayer, Margaret--Correspondence
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Manuscripts for publication