Scope and Contents
The Kurt Wiese papers represent a major portion of Wiese’s body of work produced as an illustrator and author of American children's literature. The collection is comprised of original children's book production material and personal papers.
The children’s book production material series includes Wiese’s original artwork and related preparatory materials used in the creation of children’s books written by Wiese and other authors. The bulk of the artwork is comprised of ink and litho crayon illustrations on paper and board, but it also includes press-ready color-separated art on acetate, dummies, cover art, sketches, and proofs. It also includes typed manuscripts, as well as publisher and author correspondence.
The personal papers series includes personal and commercial artwork by Wiese not created for children’s books, as well as personal scrapbooks and photographs of Wiese. The original artwork is comprised of sketchbooks, drawings, paintings, and etchings, as well as some illustrations for magazines, periodicals, and greeting cards.
- circa 1911-1974
- Wiese, Kurt, 1887-1974 (Person)
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
Kurt Wiese was born on April 22, 1887 in Minden, Germany. From 1909 to 1915, he worked and traveled throughout China and Southeast Asia. But at the outbreak of World War I, he was captured and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp in Australia. After being released at the end of the war, Wiese returned to Germany but the economy was so bad that he left for Brazil, where he began his career in illustration. In 1927 Wiese moved to the United States, where he married Gertrude Hansen in 1930 and they permanently resided in New Jersey. His first critical success in book illustration was Felix Salten's Bambi in 1929. Wiese wrote and illustrated 20 children’s books and illustrated another 300 for other authors. He received the Caldecott Honor Book Award in 1946 for You Can Write Chinese and in 1948 for Fish in the Air. He also illustrated the Newbery Award winner Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, and the Newbery Honor books Honk the Moose, Li Lun, Lad of Courage, and Daughter of the Mountains. Kurt Wiese died on May 27, 1974.
40.5 linear feet (26 containers) : 2 record storage boxes; 3 (11x13") boxes; 4 (11x17") boxes; 4 (10.5x15.5") boxes; 9 (16x20") boxes; 4 (21x25") boxes
Language of Materials
Kurt Wiese (1887-1974) was a German-born illustrator and author of American children's literature. The collection is primarily comprised of children’s book production material including original drawings, sketches, proofs, manuscripts, and correspondence. Other artwork and personal papers are also included.
The collection is arranged in two series:
1. Children's book production material, circa 1929-1971
2. Personal papers, circa 1911-1974
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Kurt Wiese, 1968-1976.
Existence and Location of Copies
Selected items are available online in the Kurt Wiese Papers, circa 1911-1974 in Oregon Digital.
Collection processed by Alexa Goff, 2020.
- Book illustrations Subject Source: TGM II, Genre and physical characteristic terms
- Children's literature -- Authorship Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Children's literature -- Illustrations Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Manuscripts for publication Subject Source: Art & Architecture Thesaurus
- Guide to the Kurt Wiese Papers
- Complete Description
- Finding aid prepared by Alexa Goff
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English
- Funding for publishing this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).