Skip to main content

Helen Damrosch Tee-Van papers

Identifier: Ax 715

Scope and Contents note

Illustrations from 13 books are included in the Collection, from the linear, nearly stylized pen and ink drawings for Red Howling Monkey to the softer, shaded pencil drawings of The Story of an Alaskan Grizzly Also included are the finished illustrations for Nature's Protection of the Animal Kingdom, unpublished, and 26 sketch books from 1900-1929.


  • 1900-1969


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

Helen Damrosch Tee-Van, artist, illustrator and author, was born in New York City in 1893. She attended Veltin School in New York. In 1909 she dropped out of Veltin School, but continued her art education. She studied with George de Forest Brush, attended an anatomy class at the Columbia Medical School with a group of artists, and belonged to Jonas Lie's Memory Sketch Club for several years. Many memory sketches, made from notes or rough sketches in New York, are included in sketch books in the Collection.

Mrs. Tee-Van was an artist on 13 expeditions of the Tropical Research Department of the New York Zoological Society, under the direction of William Beebe. She was sent to British Guiana in 1922. In 1923 she married John Tee-Van and returned to British Guiana the next year. She participated in the Arcturus Oceanographic Expedition, 1925; Haiti, 1927, where she made underwater sketches with e lead pencil on zinc plates while wearing a 60 pound glass helmut at a depth of 60 feet; the Bermuda Oceanographic Expeditions, 1929-1933; Rancho Grande, Venezuela, 1946; and was a guest artist in "Simla," Trinidad, in 1956, 1960 and 1963. Drawings from both the British Guiana expeditions and the Bermuda expedition are included in the Collection.

In 1937 Mrs. Tee-Van graduated from the New York School of Display. Between 1943 and 1947 she designed 16 educational dioramas for United Service to China. She created murals for the Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1938 and 1939, and for the Bronx Park Zoo in 1941-1942 and 1949. She made the background for exhibits in the New York Zoological Society's building in the 1939-1940 World's Fair. She has also designed textiles.

In addition, Mrs. Tee-Van has been an active illustrator of books and articles, specializing in natural history. She did color plates for both the Encyclopaedia Britannica and Collier's Weekly Encyclopaedia and has done illustrations for many scientific journals. She has written and illustrated Red Howling Monkey, 1926; The Trees Around Us, 1960; Insects Are Where You Find Them, 1963; and Small Animals Are Where You Find Them, 1966, and has illustrated A Birthday Greeting and Other Songs, by Emily Niles Huyck, 1918; Creative Music in the Home, by Satis Coleman, 1927; Reluctant Farmer, by Elswyth Thane, 1950; Mosquitoes in the Big Ditch, by Roger Burlingame, 1952; Reptiles Round the World, by Clifford Pope, 1957; Sea Monsters, by William Knowlton, 1959; The Story of the Platypus, by Alfred G. Milotte, 1959; Imported Insects, by Naomi Talley, 1961; The Story of the Hippopotamus, by Alfred G. Milotte, 1964; and The Story of an Alaskan Grizzly, by Alfred G. and Elma Milotte, 1969.


3 linear feet (4 containers) : 4 solander cases

Language of Materials



Collection comprises papers of American artist, illustrator and author Helen Damrosch Tee-Van, and includes illustrations from her books (both rough sketches and final drawings), sketch books, educational dioramas, murals, backgrounds for exhibits, manuscripts, articles, underwater illustrations from oceanographic expeditions, photographs, letters, and habitat maps.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series: BooksSeries: ArticlesSeries: Illustrations For Unidenifies BooksSeries: Murals and Exhibitions

Processing Information note

Collection processed by processing staff.

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 Helen Damrosch Tee-Van Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by processing staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA