Le Grand Henderson papers , 1932-1981

Overview of the Collection

Henderson, Le Grand, 1901-1964
Le Grand Henderson papers
1932-1981 (inclusive)
17.25 linear feet, (31 containers)
Collection Number
Coll 021
The collection comprises general correspondence, a manuscript sequence series, subject files and scrapbooks by author and illustrator Le Grand Henderson.
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 encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Le Grand Henderson (1901 - 1964), most often writing under the "nom de plume" Le Grand, was a writer and illustrator of books for all ages--preschool to adult. He is best known for his folklore series (9 books, including Cap'n Dow and the Hole in the Doughnut and Cats for Kansas) for children 4 - 8, and for his Augustus series (12 books) depicting the country-wide adventures of a "Huck Finn" type lad, for children 8 - 12.

Henderson, who in his own words "spent a childhood lifetime roaming the woods of Northwest Connecticut, where the Berkshire Hills begin and the spirit of Thoreau was very close," stayed close to home for college, attending the Yale School of Fine Arts for four years.

After leaving Yale, Henderson headed to New York City, full of "youth, hope and a desire to paint landscapes." Instead he ended up designing heating and ventilating equipment, switchboards for submarines, and later, window and interior displays for Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

Soon tiring of city life, Henderson gave in to his desire to travel and to "a long-suppressed urge to write and illustrate books." Henderson traveled to St. Paul, Minnesota where he began a year long journey in a houseboat down the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico. From this journey came the creative energy that turned Henderson into a full time writer and illustrator-and a very successful one, based on over 30 published books, and several magazine stories.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Le Grand Henderson Papers, occupying approximately 11 cubic feet of space, consist of general correspondence, a manuscript sequence series, subject files, and scrapbooks. Approximately 75 photographs and one photo album depicting family, the South and his Mississippi River trip have been removed to the Photograph Collection.

The correspondence series (Boxes 1-3) contains only those letters not relevant to a particular manuscript. It has been arranged alphabetically by correspondent and placed in chronological order. Over 300 fan letters have been put in rough chronological order and appear at the end of this series.

The manuscript series is arranged alphabetically by title. Each manuscript sequence contains all or parts of the following components: correspondence relating to the individual manuscript; all drafts of the manuscript ranging from the original handwritten draft, to the edited revisions, to the final typed version; illustrations (oversize illustrations are housed in the solander cases and are so indicated by an asterisk); galley proofs; notes; reviews; and miscellaneous. The published books are shelved at the end of the collection as freestanding volumes.

Three boxes of information collected by Henderson have been arranged alphabetically into a subject file series (Boxes 20-22). Here the researcher can find two folders of musings - ideas for possible stories, writing and painting techniques, publicity, and a full accounting of Henderson's royalty income.

The final box contains two scrapbooks of publicity about Henderson collected by his wife, Kathryn Dallas Henderson.

Photographs include prints and an album.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Authors, American--20th century
  • Children's literature, American--Authorship
  • Illustrated children's books--United States
  • Illustration of books--20th century
  • Illustrators--United States

Personal Names

  • Henderson, Le Grand, 1901-1964

Corporate Names

  • Abingdon-Cokesbury Press
  • Bobbs-Merrill Company

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographs