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Leonard P. Kessler papers


Held at: Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection [Contact Us]1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

Leonard P. Kessler was born on October 28, 1921 in Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He received his B.F.A. from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949. He began writing and illustrating books for children with What’s In a Line? (1951) and Farther and Faster (1953). Many of his books were co-written with his wife, Ethel, including Plink, Plink! Goes the Water in My Sink (1954) and Art is Everywhere (1958). Most of the illustrations in Kessler’s work were simple and childlike, and the text showed a good understanding of children’s vocabulary. He was awarded the New York Times best illustrated children's books award three times: in 1954 for Fast Is Not a Ladybug and in 1955 for Heavy Is a Hippopotamus, both by Miriam Schlein; and in 1957 for Big Red Bus, which was co-written by his wife, Ethel. Throughout his prolific career, Kessler has created illustrations for over 200 books.


Something About the Author, vol. 14.

This collection consists of a dummy, preliminary art, a partial galley proof, and final artwork for the book How to Play Better Football (1972) by children's author C. Paul Jackson, illustrated by Leonard P. Kessler. There is also a small amount of correspondence.

This collection is arranged in probable order of creation.

Gift of Leonard P. Kessler, 1973.

Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Garrett Boos
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.
Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers by appointment. Please contact the Curator for information on access. Final art is too fragile for researchers to handle without the supervision of the Curator.

Use Restrictions

The right of access to material does not imply the right of publication. Permission for reprinting, reproduction, or extensive quotation from the rare books, manuscripts, prints, or drawings must be obtained through written application, stating the use to be made of the material. The reader bears the responsibility for any possible infringement of copyright laws in the publication of such material. A reproduction fee will be charged if the material is to be reproduced in a commercial publication. Some of the materials in this collection may be too fragile for use without the Curator’s supervision.

Collection Inventory

Dummy, graphite, pen and ink, and grey wash on paper and tracing paper with text pasted in, 120 pages.
Box 2
Preliminary art for page 99, pen and ink on tracing paper.
Box 1 Folder 2
"About the Illustrator," corrected typescript.
Box 1 Folder 3
Complete set of final art, pen and ink and grey wash on tracing paper mounted to layout board with text pasted in, 121 sheets.
Object 1 Box 1 Folder 1
General note

Pages 208-212 are housed with Children's Literature Research Collection original framed artwork.

Partial galley proof, 3 sheets.
Box 1 Folder 5
Memorandum from Thomas Y. Crowell Company to Leonard Kessler regarding completed art, 1972 October 6.
Box 1 Folder 4

Print, Suggest