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Lynd Ward papers

Identifier: Ax 724

Scope and Contents note

The Lynd Ward Papers is divided into two series. Series I contains correspondence, both incoming and outgoing. The incoming correspondence is from Carley Dawson. The outgoing correspondence to Carley Dawson are photocopies of original letters which are housed in the Carley Dawson Collection. Series II, Illustrations and Production Notes contains original illustrations by Ward as well as manuscripts, correspondence and material related to the subject. The series is arranged alphabetically by the author or commissioner of Ward's illustrations. In regards to the illustrations, the collection contains published works ("North Star Shining"), rough sketches, color proofs, color guides, and dummies.


  • Creation: 1946-1962


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

Lynd Kendall Ward, wood engraver, illustrator, and children's book author, was born in Chicago in 1905. He graduated from high school in Englewood, New Jersey, and attended Teacher's College at Columbia University where he majored in fine arts. At Columbia, he met May McNeer and married her in June 1926. They traveled to Europe on their honeymoon and arrived in Leipzig, Germany where Lynd studied wood engraving at the Academy of Graphic Arts under Hans Alexander Mueller. He returned to the United States and embarked upon a career in illustration. In 1929, he published his first wordless novel, Gods' Man, which was the first work of its kind published in the United States. Over the next decade, he printed several more novels featuring his wood engravings. All of them critiqued the greed of the capitalist system and the economic disaster it had imparted upon the world. In 1929, Lynd also illustrated his first children's book, Prince Bantam, which was written by his wife. The outstanding illustrations created by Ward elevated the job of illustration into an art form. During the later years of the Great Depression, Ward served as the Director of the graphic arts division of the Federal Art Project in New York City, but illustration became his primary profession. He illustrated over 100 books during his lifetime, including Newbery Medal winners Johnny Tremain and The Cat who went to Heaven. Lynd Ward's greatest success came in 1952 when he won the Caldecott Medal for the book he wrote and illustrated, The Biggest Bear. Over his career, Lynd won the Zella de Milhau prize, the Library of Congress award for wood engraving, and the silver medallion from University of Southern Mississippi. Ward was respected by his peers. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators and served as President of the Society of American Graphic Design from 1953-1959. Lynd Ward died in 1985 from Alzheimer's disease two days after his 80th birthday


0.5 linear feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Lynd Ward was an artist and children's book author. The Lynd Ward Papers comprise incoming and outgoing correspondence to and from Carley Dawson, and outgoing correspondence to a Mr. Rohde. The collection also includes various notes, correspondence, manuscripts, sketches, copies of sketches, and illustrations for books, magazines, and brochures that Lynd Ward illustrated.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series I. Correspondence; Series II. Illustrations and Production Notes.

Processing Information

Collection processed by 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 Lynd Ward Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections
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