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Cornelius DeWitt papers

Identifier: Ax 347

Scope and Contents

The Cornelius DeWitt papers includes original artwork for children’s book illustrations, as well as artwork for proposed publications. These artworks are represented by preliminary pencil drawings, ink and watercolor drawings, cut-paper collages, and proofs. Proofs for several of the Regions of America publications represent comparative illustration material demonstrating various stages of the illustration process, including initial watercolor drawings, hand-proofed lithographs, final press-printed lithographs, and color separations.

In addition to artwork, the collection contains professional correspondence related to publications, research material, dummies, commercial art, exercises, and travel drawings.

The collection also includes materials donated by the family of Charles B. Harding. DeWitt illustrated and wrote a volume on the yacht Jeroboam of Martha’s Vineyard, which belonged to the Harding family (The Log of the Jeroboam, ca. 1946-48). Two bound volumes of The Log of the Jeroboam and three additional watercolor drawings gifted to the Harding family by DeWitt are also included in the collection.


  • 1925-1970


Conditions Governing Access

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

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

Cornelius Hugh DeWitt (also spelled De Witt) was born in Cassel, Germany on June 6, 1905. He spent his childhood and young adulthood in Europe, where he traveled extensively. Before emigrating to the United States in 1928, he studied bookkeeping, spent one year in the Army, and worked in the advertising profession in Paris to support his study of art at the Ecole de la Grande Chaumière and Alliance Française.

DeWitt created several murals, including four for the New York World’s Fair in 1939. While working for the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, he became acquainted with Lucille Ogle, and soon launched a successful children’s book illustration career with Ogle and Golden Books. His illustrations are featured in such publications as the Regions of America series (Harper, ca. 1940-48), The Little Golden ABC (Simon and Schuster, 1951), The Golden Geography (Simon and Schuster, 1952), The Golden History of the World (Simon and Schuster, 1955), and The Human Body (Golden Press, 1959). He illustrated the first edition of The Golden Encyclopedia (written by Dorothy A. Bennett, 1946) and was a contributing artist for the later sixteen-volume Golden Book Encyclopedia (edited by Bertha Morris Parker, 1959).

DeWitt died on February 27, 1995.

[Source: Viguers, Ruth Hill, Marcia Dalphin, and Bertha Mahony Miller, eds. Illustrators of Children’s Books: 1946-1956. Boston: Horn Book, 1958.]


34.75 linear feet (22 boxes and 4 folders)

Language of Materials



The papers of Cornelius DeWitt, German-born children's book illustrator, include original artwork for children’s book illustrations, as well as artwork for proposed publications. Also included are correspondence files and production notes for his work.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence and Production Notes, 1935-1968 Series 2: Dummies and Sketchbooks, 1941-1966 Series 3: Book Illustrations, 1932-1966 Series 4: Other Artwork, 1925-1970

Processing Information

Collection was processed by Alexa Goff in 2018.

Guide to the Cornelius DeWitt papers
Revise Description
Alexa Goff and Rachel Lilley.
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