Kurt Wiese papers , circa 1911-1974

Overview of the Collection

Wiese, Kurt, 1887-1974
Kurt Wiese papers
circa 1911-1974 (inclusive)
40.5 linear feet, (26 containers)  :  2 record storage boxes; 3 (11x13") boxes; 4 (11x17") boxes; 4 (10.5x15.5") boxes; 9 (16x20") boxes; 4 (21x25") boxes
Collection Number
Ax 445
Kurt Wiese (1887-1974) was a German-born illustrator and author of American children's literature. The collection is primarily comprised of children's book production material including original drawings, sketches, proofs, manuscripts, and correspondence. Other artwork and personal papers are also included.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Additional Reference Guides

See the Current Collection Guide for detailed description and requesting options.

Funding for publishing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Kurt Wiese was born on April 22, 1887 in Minden, Germany. From 1909 to 1915, he worked and traveled throughout China and Southeast Asia. But at the outbreak of World War I, he was captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Australia. After being released at the end of the war, Wiese returned to Germany but the economy was so bad that he left for Brazil, where he began his career in illustration. In 1927 Wiese moved to the United States, where he married Gertrude Hansen in 1930 and they permanently resided in New Jersey. His first critical success in book illustration was Felix Salten's Bambi in 1929. Wiese wrote and illustrated 20 children's books and illustrated another 300 for other authors. He received the Caldecott Honor Book Award in 1946 for You Can Write Chinese and in 1948 for Fish in the Air. He also illustrated the Newbery Award winner Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, and the Newbery Honor books Honk the Moose, Li Lun, Lad of Courage, and Daughter of the Mountains. Kurt Wiese died on May 27, 1974.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Kurt Wiese papers represent a major portion of Wiese's body of work produced as an illustrator and author of American children's literature. The collection is comprised of original children's book production material and personal papers.

The children's book production material series includes Wiese's original artwork and related preparatory materials used in the creation of children's books written by Wiese and other authors. The bulk of the artwork is comprised of ink and litho crayon illustrations on paper and board, but it also includes press-ready color-separated art on acetate, dummies, cover art, sketches, and proofs. It also includes typed manuscripts, as well as publisher and author correspondence.

The personal papers series includes personal and commercial artwork by Wiese not created for children's books, as well as personal scrapbooks and photographs of Wiese. The original artwork is comprised of sketchbooks, drawings, paintings, and etchings, as well as some illustrations for magazines, periodicals, and greeting cards.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Children's literature--Authorship
  • Children's literature--Illustrations

Form or Genre Terms

  • Book illustrations
  • Manuscripts for publication