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W.W. Denslow Papers

Summary Information
Title: W.W. Denslow papers
Dates: 1902-1904
Creator: Denslow, William Wallace
Extent: 2 boxes
Location: See Detailed Descriptions for Each Title Item for Box Locations
Language: English
Collection Number: CLRC-363
Contains miscellaneous art (tempera, ink, watercolor, one dummy) for 4 titles

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.


Denslow's Night Before Christmas, 1902

Denslow's Zoo, 1903

Miscellaneous art,

Pearl and the Pumpkin, The, 1904

Biographical Sketch

W.W. Denslow was born May 5, 1856, In Philadelphia, PA, and died March 29, 1915. He married Annie McCartney in 1882, divorced her, and married Ann Waters Holden in 1896. After divorcing her he married Frances Golsen Doolittle in 1903. He studied at the Cooper Union Institute and the National Academy of Design, both in New York City. Denslow was an illustrator of books and magazines and a designer of costumes and scenery. He illustrated a series of 18 Picture Books which he himself had written, and he illustrated L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz , and several other of Baum's books, no others in the Oz series. His drawings often showed 'an exuberant sense of Humor.' After several years of wandering and miscellaneous jobs, he married his first wife, Annie McCartney, but separated after a year. He moved to New York in 1885. In 1888 he became a newspaper artist for the Chicago Herald. He also became an alcoholic, and took the cure. 1890 found him in Denver, and for a while actually became a cowboy. In 1893 he returned to Chicago, and drew illustrations of the Columbian Exposition. In 1899 he did his first work with L. Frank Baum, but suffered a mental breakdown in 1901 and was sent to a Michigan sanitarium. He developed a rift with Baum, which led to a final split in 1902. He married his third wife in 1903, honeymooned in Bermuda, and later bought an island there. The next few years brought a series of theatrical failures, bringing on financial hardship which brought on a return to alcoholism, and forced him to mortgage his island. In 1915 he contracted pneumonia and died at the age of 58. Biographical sources: Something About the Author , v. 16

Collection Scope and Content Note

Contains tempera, ink, and watercolor illustrations, plus one illustrator's dummy, for 3 titles.

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.
  • Denslow, William Wallace
Collection Contents
 Location  Title
Denslow's Night Before Christmas 1902 
Note  New York: Dillingham, 1902
Box MC1467
tempera illustration (1 p.)  Box MC1467
Denslow's Zoo 1903 
Note  New York: Dillingham, 1903
Box MC1467
ink illustration (1 p.)  Box MC1467
ink illustrations (12 p.)  Box MC1467
Miscellaneous art  
Box MC1302
watercolor illustrations (4 p.)  Box MC1302
Pearl and the Pumpkin, The 1904 
Note  New York: Dillingham, 1904
Box MC1302
illustrator's dummy (1 p.)  Box MC1302