Between the Covers

Gág, Wanda.  Interlewd, preliminary sketches, description, and final painting.
Wanda Gág papers, 1892-1968, Ms. Coll. 310
Wanda Gág (1893-1946) was an artist, author, and illustrator best known for her work on children’s books,
especially Millions of Cats. Here, however, she shows us her naughtier side with Interlewd, giving glimpses of what happens behind the scenes on stage.


Gilman, Stella. That Dakota Girl. New York: United States Book Co., circa 1892.
Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness, Schimmel Fiction 1879
This copy of Stella Gilman’s Western romance That Dakota Girl is inscribed by the author to “Uncle Herbert,” H. Herbert Pigott (1857-1927), a successful Philadelphia lawyer whosebigamous elopement to Denver with another niece, Charlotte Byram (b. 1871), made national headlines in 1901.  Pigott’s wife Mabel (1859-1933) pursued the couple with writs and private detectives for the next three years, a saga that climaxed with a sled-dog chase through the lumber camps of British Columbia, after which press interest in the scandal faded.  (The Pigotts subsequently reconciled, emigrated to Winnipeg , and re-established themselves as pillars of the community.)

Gorey, Edward.  Amphigorey Again, mockups and edits.
Gotham Book Mart collection of Edward Gorey material, 1945-2005, Ms. Coll. 1185
Edward Gorey (1925-2000) was an artist and writer known for his distinctive pen and ink drawings. Many edits and multiple steps are taken before a draft becomes a book.

Hopkins, Una Nixson. A Winter Romance in Poppy Land. Boston: Richard G. Badger, 1911.
Caroline F. Schimmel Fiction Collection of Women in the American Wilderness, Schimmel Fiction 2301
This book came with the delightful addition of a manuscript letter written by Hopkins’s neighbor, who explains how the photo illustrations were set in her garden and how the models used were locals.

Tehon, Atha.  The Old African, preliminary sketches, F&G’s (folded and gatherings), and edits for the production of the book.
Atha Tehon papers, 1929-2012, Ms. Coll. 1260
Atha Tehon (1926-2012) was a children’s book designer and art director at Dial Books for Young Readers for thirty years and a freelance designer. She was known for her exacting detail, frequently suggesting that artists and authors move text or images “a cat’s whisker.” Here you can see the immense work that went into the creation of The Old African, written by Julius Lester and designed by Jerry Pinkney with Atha Tehon.

Wolfert, Helen. Letter rejecting Helen Wolfert’s collection of poetry, 1962.
Wolfert family papers, Ms. Coll. 1313 (cataloging in process)
Helen Wolfert was an aspiring author who was married to a very successful journalist, Ira Wolfert. Over the years, she received many rejection letters. This particularly brutal one is not to mock Helen, but to represent the one truly awful letter—at least one!—every successful author has received early on. This is truly “behind the scenes” of the creative process—a part of the process that might often be eradicated from the permanent record in the archives.

Behind the Scenes                  Go to Into the Unknown