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Mary and Conrad Buff Papers

Summary Information
Title: Mary and Conrad Buff Papers
Dates: 1937-1951
Creator: Buff, Mary and Conrad
Extent: .5 cu ft
Location: See Detailed Descriptions for Each Title Item for Box Locations
Language: English
Collection Number: CLRC-1942
Mary Marsh Buff and Conrad Buff''s papers focus on their work as authors and illustrators of children's books. The collection contains production material for four titles published between 1937 and 1951. The bulk of the production material is illustrative material with one manuscript for the title Big Tree , signed for Dr. Irvin Kerlan in 1957. The collection also contains some miscellaneous artwork by Conrad Buff that is not for children's books.

Repository: University of Minnesota Libraries Children's Literature Research Collections

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

Collection is open for researchers with no restrictions. Registration with the collection is required.


This collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.


Apple and the Arrow, 1951

Big Tree, 1946

Dancing Cloud, the Navajo Boy, 1937

Kobi, a Boy of Switzerland, 1939

miscellaneous artwork,

Biographical Sketch

Conrad Buff was born January 15, 1886 in Speicher, Switzerland. He studied art in Switzerland and Germany and came to the United States in 1904. He married Mary Marsh (born April 10, 1890 in Cincinnati, Ohio) in 1922 and the couple had two sons. The Buffs collaborated on many children's books between 1937 and 1968. Conrad Buff did the artwork and Mary Marsh Buff did most of the writing, although some of their works were written jointly. Their first book, Dancing Cloud, the Navajo Boy (1937) was praised by critics for its beautiful illustrations and its sense of place and nature in Navajo life. In 1943, the Buffs were runners up for the Caldecott Medal for Dash and Dart , a story about deer that was praised for its "beautiful simplicity" of text. In 1947, they were runners up for the Newberry Award for Big Tree (1946) the story of "Wa Wo Na", a giant sequioa. Critics praised the book for its beautifully and dramatically told story in both text and illustrations and for giving readers a "sense of wonder at the trees" and the "need to protect them." The Buffs were also Newbery runners up in 1952 for The Apple and the Arrow (1951) a story about William Tell and again in 1954 for Magic Maize (1953). Mary Marsh Buff died in November 1970 and conrad Buff died in 1975.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection contains production material for four titles published between 1937 and 1951. Illustrative materials include pencil illustrations, an original black and white illustration, an original colored illustration, an original black and white trial proof, and one lithograph illustration. Manuscript material consists of a corrected typescript for the title Big Tree , signed for Dr. Irvin Kerlan in 1957. There is also some miscellaneous artwork done by Conrad Buff that consists of two lithographic prints and a pencil sketch not done for children's books. The materials are arranged by title.

Subject Terms
Indexing Terms
  • The collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Buff, Mary and Conrad
Collection Contents
 Location  Title
Apple and the Arrow 1951 
Note  1951
Box MC 107
pencil illustrations (2 p.)  Box MC 107
Big Tree 1946 
Note  1946
Box MC 159, folder 1
typescript, corrected (41 p.)  Box MC 159, folder 1
Box MC 107
pencil illustration (1 p.)  Box MC 107
Dancing Cloud, the Navajo Boy 1937 
Note  1937
Box MC 107
black and white illustration (1 p.)  Box MC 107
colored illustration (1 p.)  Box MC 107
black and white trial proof (1 p.)  Box MC 107
Kobi, a Boy of Switzerland 1939 
Note  1939
Box MC 107
lithograph illustration (1 p.)  Box MC 107
miscellaneous artwork  
Box MC 107
lithograph print (1 p.)  Box MC 107
lithograph print (1 p.)  Box MC 107
pencil sketch (1 p.)  Box MC 107