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Willy Pogány papers

Identifier: Coll 199

Scope and Contents note

The Willy Pogány Papers consist of the following series: correspondence, illustrations, and memorabilia and miscellaneous.

Business letters to Pogány have been arranged chronologically. Of interest to the researcher is the series of letters written by Pogány to his son, Peter Pogány Scott, which span the years 1931 to 1955, the year of his death. These contain many glimpses of the artist's busy life and philosophical remarks on the contemporary American world view.

The largest segment of the Pogány Papers is the illustrations. Willy Pogány worked in a variety of media which are only partially represented in this collection. Many original illustrations for books and for the American Weekly supplement to the Hearst newspapers are represented both in final form and in sketches, using pencil, charcoal, ink, watercolor, gouache, and oils. Of note is the illustration of Don Quixote being visited by demons of his madness, and extraordinary watercolor and perhaps on of Pogány's finest efforts (folder 40). Original artwork for books, magazines and motion pictures/stage productions is arranged alphabetically by title within each series. The remainder of the artwork consists of etchings for two titles and unidentified original works, randomly grouped by media and/or general subject matter where possible. A few tearsheets and miscellaneous photographs complete the collection.


  • 1910-1967

Conditions Governing Access note

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.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and 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.

Biographical/Historical note

William "Willy" A. Pogány, born in Szeged, Hungary, in 1882, studied at Budapest Technical University and in Munich and Paris. His reputation as a muralist, painter and illustrator was well established in Paris, London and Munich before arriving in the United States in 1915, at the age of thirty-three. Skilled in an unusually wide range of media, he had won gold medals at exhibitions in Budapest, Leipzig, and at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition.

Among Pogány's many murals are those for the Heckscher Children's Theatre in New York City and the Niagara Falls Power Station. As a painter he did portraits of famous people in all walks of life. An expert on scenery design and lighting effects, Pogány also designed sets for ballets and operas, including "Le Coq d'Or," and for many films, such as Modern Times for Charlie Chaplin as well as animated cartoons based on his children's books.

Among his other artistic endeavors Pogány was an accomplished book illustrator. It was this phase of his career, especially as an illustrator of children's books, which gives this collection special relevance for Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Oregon Libraries. Pogány designed and illustrated more than 150 books. His illustrations include those for the Rubaiyat and the Sonnets from the Portuguese, The Song Celestial, The Adventures of Odysseus, Gulliver's Travels, and many others, both classic and original.

Working tirelessly right up until the end, Willy Pogány died in 1955. He is survived by his second wife, Elaine Pogány, a children's book writer, and his son, Peter Pogány Scott.


4.5 linear feet (2 containers, 74 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



Collection comprises artwork and papers related to artist and set designer Willy Pogány, including correspondence with his son, Peter Pogány Scott. Collection includes original art for books, magazines, and motion picture and stage productions.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: CorrespondenceIllustrations Artwork for motion pictures or stageUnidentified sketchesEtchingsTearsheetsPhotographs Memorabilia and miscellaneous

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Richard Baer, Manuscripts Processor.

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

Guide to the Willy A. Pogány Papers
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Finding aid prepared by Richard Baer
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA