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Susanne Suba illustrations


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

Susanne Suba was born in 1913 in Budapest, Hungary. She began studying art with her father, Miklos, an architect and painter. Sometime between 1919 and 1922 she and her mother May, a pianist originally from Brooklyn, moved to the United States. Her father joined the family later. They settled in Brooklyn, where Suba attended the Brooklyn Friends School and the Pratt Institute. Frank Henahan of Aldus Associates gave her her first commission, for four illustrations to The Colophon Part XX. The first book she fully illustrated was Life Without Principle by Henry David Thoreau, which was chosen as one of the American Institute of Graphic Arts Fifty Books of the Year in 1937. Other notable books illustrated by Suba include The Cat by Colette (1936), The Coat-Hanger Christmas Tree by Eleanor Estes (1973), Morning Faces: A Book of Children and Parents by John Mason Brown (1949), and Sonny-Boy Sim by Elizabeth Whitemore Baker (1948). She also illustrated a number of books by her husband, Russell McCracken. These included The Elegant Elephant (1944), The Mystery of Carmen the Cow (1946), and The Gentle Giraffe (1945). She both wrote and illustrated one book, My Paintbook (1936). In addition to illustrating books, she also designed book jackets for various publishers and drew caricatures for The New Yorker. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Brooklyn Museum. Susanne Suba died in New York City on February 4, 2012.


“Drawings and sketchbooks of Susanne Suba, ca. 1917-circa 1930," Winterthur Wintercat Catalogue.

Kingman, Lee, ed. Illustrators of Children's Books: 1957-1966. Boston: Horn Book, 1968.

Suba, Susanne. “Suba.” PM, 4:20 (1938 December-1939 January).

This collection contains eighteen illustrations for Sonny-Boy Sim written by Elizabeth Whitemore Baker. The illustrations are rendered in graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on paper.

The illustrations are arranged in the order in which they appear in the published book.

Gift of Susanne Suba, 1998.

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.

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.

Collection Inventory

Preliminary art, graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on paper, 1947.
Box 1
Final art, graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on paper, 13 sheets, 1948.
Box 1-2
Scope and Contents note

The final art is for the half-title page and pages 7, 9, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25. 28, 29, 30, and 31.

Print, Suggest