Finding Aid to the W. W. Denslow Drawings 1903 BASC 13

Finding aid prepared by Susanne Mari Sakai
Book Arts & Special Collections
February 2020
100 Larkin Street
San Francisco 94102

Title: W. W. Denslow Drawings
Date: 1903
Identifier/Call Number: BASC 13
Creator: Denslow, W. W., 1856-1915
Physical Description: 2 oversize flat boxes (2 linear feet)
Contributing Institution: Book Arts & Special Collections
Abstract: The collection consists of original artwork by W. W. Denslow for Denslow's House That Jack Built, Denslow's Little Red Riding Hood, and Denslow's Three Bears, all part of the Denslow's Picture Books for Children series published by G.W. Dillingham Co. in 1903.
Physical Location: Collection is stored on site.
Language of Materials: Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research and is available for use during Book Arts & Special Collections hours.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the San Francisco Public Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from materials must be submitted in writing to Book Arts & Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the San Francisco Public Library as the owner of the physical items.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item/Title of folder], W. W. Denslow Drawings (BASC 13), Book Arts & Special Collections, San Francisco Public Library.


Transferred from the San Francisco Public Library's Children's Department in 1993.

Related Materials

Researchers are encouraged to see also the W. W. Denslow Papers at the McCain Library and Archives of the University of Southern Mississippi.

Biographical Note

William Wallace Denslow, best known as the illustrator of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was born in Philadelphia in 1856. Shortly afterwards his family moved to New York City. He began his formal art training there at age fourteen attending the Cooper Union Institute and the National Academy of Design. In 1896 he met L. Frank Baum and in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published. Although the collaboration was met with great success, the pair only worked together on one more book, parting ways due to financial disputes. While he never reclaimed his early success, he continued to illustrate and write children's books, such as Denslow's Mother Goose and Denslow's Night Before Christmas. Adding another name in front of these classic titles was unprecedented, but Denslow's changes were perceived as justified as he amended many of the verses to avoid what he considered unnecessary violence and questionable content. He also produced a series of 18 booklets called Denslow's Picture Books for Children. His work featured his trademark of a Japanese-inspired, stylized seahorse monogram, winning him the nickname "Hippocampus Den."

Scope and Content

The collection consists of original pen and ink illustrations by W. W. Denslow for Denslow’s House That Jack Built (4 leaves), Denslow’s Little Red Riding Hood (11 leaves), and Denslow’s Three Bears (13 leaves, of which 1 is blank) all part of the Denslow’s Picture Books for Children series published by G.W. Dillingham Co. in 1903.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Illustrated children's books
Illustration of books -- Juvenile literature
Illustrators -- Juvenile literature.
Nursery rhymes
Denslow, W. W., 1856-1915