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Eloise Wilkin papers

Identifier: Coll 213

Scope and Contents note

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.


  • 1979-1980


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

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.


0.5 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



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.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I. CorrespondenceSeries II. Manuscript, layout, published bookSeries III. PhotographsSeries IV. IllustrationsSeries V. Oversize Illustrations

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Eloise Wilkin in 1981.

Processing Information 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.

Guide to the Eloise Wilkin Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Aggie Agapito, Manuscripts Processor
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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