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Holling Clancy Holling papers, ca.1832-1989
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use
  • Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
  • Provenance/Source of Acquisition
  • Processing Note
  • Preferred Citation
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Biography/History
  • Timeline of Published Work
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Holling Clancy Holling papers
    Collection number: 1012
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 98.6 linear feet (200 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): ca.1832-1989
    Abstract: Holling Clancy Holling (1900-1973) was an instructor, freelance designer, advertising artist, and book illustrator. He and his wife Lucille Webster Holling collaborated on many books, including The Book of Indians (1935) and The Book of Cowboys (1936). He later wrote and illustrated fiction, combining nature and history themes, including Paddle-to-the-Sea (1941). The collection consists of materials relating to books written and illustrated by Holling and Lucille.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic paging system using the request button located on this page.
    Creator: Holling, Holling Clancy

    Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Open for research. All requests to access special collections materials must be made in advance through our electronic paging system using the request button located on this page.

    Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UC Regents. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

    COLLECTION CONTAINS DIGITAL MATERIALS: Special equipment or further processing may be required for viewing.

    Provenance/Source of Acquisition

    • Gift of Holling Clancy and Lucille Holling, 1968.
    • Gift of Lucille Holling, 1977-1986.
    • Gift of Tony and Susan Thompson, 1989.

    Processing Note

    Processed by Erin Flannery, Christina Olague, Yasmin Damshenas and Rebecca Bucher, with assistance from Lilace Hatayama and Megan Hahn Fraser, 2013.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Holling Clancy Holling Papers (Collection 1012). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 1720486 


    Holling Clancy Holling was born Holling Allison Clancy, the oldest of three children, on a farm at Holling Corners, Jackson County, Michigan, on August 2, 1900. His father Bennett Allison Clancy worked as superintendent of Au Sable Public Schools, and his mother taught piano. Bennett's career in education ended when Holling was about eight years old, and the family moved to live with his maternal grandparents at the farm where he was born and spent his summer vacations.
    Holling began drawing at age three and showed great interest in Native American life and animals. Both parents encouraged him to keep journals, sketch, write, and take photographs. At age fifteen, Holling wrote his first published work, an article for Lone Scout magazine titled "How I Built My Log Cabin," using the pen name "LONE CROW."
    During Holling's teen years, his father returned to live in Canada where he was born. In December of 1918, while en route from Canada to Michigan for the holidays, Holling's father died when the train's wooden sleeper caught on fire near Winnipeg.
    When Holling's father moved to Canada, the rest of the family moved to Leslie, Michigan, where Holling attended Leslie High School. There he played the violin, acted in theater productions, and edited and made sketches for the joke section of the yearbook, showing promise as an illustrator. During high school and as a recent high school graduate, he spent summers working as a laborer and sailor on Great Lakes freighters, experiences that he drew from decades later when he wrote and illustrated his book Paddle-to-the-Sea (1941).
    At Albion College, his father's alma mater, Holling enlisted as a student soldier in the Student Army Training Corps. Holling was honorably discharged from the United States Army on Dec. 15, 1918. With plans of becoming a cartoonist, he enrolled in the Art Institute in Chicago at age nineteen. There he met his future wife, fellow student Lucille Webster from Indiana. They worked for a season in an art colony near Taos, New Mexico, where they sketched and lived among members of the ancient Pueblo peoples, learning firsthand about Native American heritage.
    Holling's fascination with the southwest deserts resulted in the publication of his first book, a slender volume of free verse that he illustrated in woodblocks titled Sun and Smoke (1923). Two other books followed: New Mexico Made Easy (1923), a tourist handbook with the history of New Mexico illustrated in cartoons, and Little Big-Bye-and-Bye (1926) a story about a Pueblo boy, Holling's first book for children.
    Holling became the youngest member of the scientific staff at the Field Museum (now the Chicago Museum of Natural History), where he worked from 1923-1926. Sent to British Columbia with a guide to hunt --using bows and arrows-- Rocky Mountain goats for a Field Museum exhibit, Holling assisted with the taxidermy, design, and installation of the exhibit, referring to the oil sketches he created while in the goats' snowy habitat. Also at the Field Museum, Holling found a mentor in the Curator of American Ethnology Ralph Linton, who took him on as a special student of anthropology for two years.
    Citing professional reasons, the author/illustrator legally changed his name to Holling Clancy Holling in 1925 before marrying Lucille in Chicago on May 2. The couple honeymooned on a camping trip in northern Wisconsin.
    Shortly after their wedding, Holling took a faculty position on the pioneer University World Cruise of 1926-1927 that circled the world, sailing to 39 countries over eight months. He lectured on the comparative folk art of the countries visited and conducted sketching classes. Lucille had no official duties but volunteered in the Drama Department designing stage sets and costumes. During the cruise, Holling did hundreds of sketches as well as many water colors from native life and local museums.
    The cruise's stop in Africa inspired Holling's second children's book titled Rum-Tum-Tummy (1927) which he wrote and illustrated while crossing the Atlantic en route back to the United States and published later that year in 1927.
    Back in the United States, Holling and Lucille worked as freelance designers, advertising artists, and book illustrators, often signing their work "The Hollings." In New York, the Hollings set up a temporary studio in a hotel and completed artwork for two Cunard Steamship Cruises. A New York editor suggested that Holling write a book about goats, which led to Rocky Billy (1928) that later was included in school readers.
    Opening their first studio in Chicago in 1928, the Hollings designed a Montana Dude Ranch in 1929 and continued to work freelance in advertising, developing copy and color pages for national ad campaigns, and contributing syndicate material in color for Esquire Features.
    In 1938, the Hollings moved from Chicago to southern California. In the spring of 1944, their new home Deerwood was built from Lucille's plans on four acres of woodland in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains.
    Using an early streamlined automobile trailers outfitted as a studio, the Hollings set out on a series of camping trips throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. Avid researchers, the couple recorded notes in journals, sketched, painted, took copious photographs, and collected postcards and clippings, gathering material over the years for a series of richly illustrated children's fiction books that convey Holling's love of nature, history, and geography.
    The first book in what his publisher Houghton Mifflin would later advertise as "The Famous Holling Series" was Paddle-to-the-Sea. Named a Caldecott Honor book, Paddle-to-the-Sea tells the story of a Native American boy's miniature wood carving of a man paddling a canoe. Starting a four-year journey at Lake Nipigon, Canada, Paddle-to-the-Sea continues from one adventure to the next through the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. His other books Tree in the Trail (1942), Seabird (1948), Minn of the Mississippi (1951), and Pagoo (1957) also focus on nature and/or history themes and share a similar format. On the left pages of these books, there is an informative narrative text with detailed pencil sketches along the margins. On the right page is a full five color watercolor illustration reproduced by offset. While her name is not listed on these later books, Lucille Webster Holling contributed her research, criticism, and illustrations.
    Holling responded personally to the many classes of school children and devoted fans who wrote fan mail and sent their own art to him. The Hollings themselves did not have children.
    Between writing books, Holling worked as an artist for Walt Disney Productions from 1943-1945, during which time he traveled on business with a Disney Group to Mexico, El Salvador, and Guatemala. He also did advertising work for Levi Strauss between 1947-1948. The author/illustrator enjoyed many years of membership in the Los Angeles Corral of Westerners, a club founded in 1946 for men devoted to the history of the old West.
    In his later years, Holling suffered from ill health due to Parkinson's disease and died on September 7, 1973.

    Timeline of Published Work

    1923 New Mexico Made Easy with words of modern syllables
    1923 Sun & Smoke: Verse and woodcuts of New Mexico
    1926 Little Big Bye-and-Bye
    1927 Rum-Tum-Tummy: The Elephant Who Ate
    1927 Roll Away Twins
    1928 Choo-Me-Shoo
    1928 Claws of the Thunderbird: A Tale of Three Lost Indians
    1928 Rocky Billy, The Story of the Bounding Career of a Rocky Mountain Goat
    1930 Twins Who Flew Around the World
    1930 The Blot: Little City Cat, by Phyllis Crawford
    1931 Little Folks in Other Lands, by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Eulalie Page)
    1932 The Road in Storyland, by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Eulalie Page)
    1932 Book of Cowboys
    1934 Folk Tales Children Love, by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Eulalie Page)
    1935 Book of Indians
    1939 Little Buffalo Boy
    1941 Paddle-to-the-Sea
    1942 Tree in the Trail
    1943 Children of Other Lands, by Watty Piper (a.k.a. Eulalie Page)
    1948 Seabird
    1951 Minn of the Mississippi
    1957 Pagoo
    1964 The Magic Story Tree: A Favorite Collection of Fifteen Fairy Tales and Fables

    Scope and Content

    The collection consists of materials relating to the private and professional lives of author and illustrator Holling Clancy Holling and his wife Lucille Webster Holling, also an artist and a frequent collaborator. Included is biographical material, photographs, film, audio tapes, correspondence, commercial art, books, watercolors and sketches, unpublished writings and artwork, research, objects, and materials documenting the recognition given to Holling's work. Of particular interest are typescripts and artwork from Holling's children's book series that includes his classic Paddle-to-the-Sea, sketches and journals from the author's travels on a university world cruise and on numerous camping trips throughout the United States, autobiographical writings, materials related to his upbringing on a Michigan farm, personal photographs, correspondence with publishers, and many letters from admiring and inquisitive schoolchildren. This collection is enhanced by annotations written by the Hollings on several items.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Arranged in the following series:
    1. Personal and Family Life
    2. Photographs, Films and Sound Recordings
    3. Correspondence
    4. Early Career
    5. Published Works
    6. Unpublished Writings and Art
    7. Research
    8. Professional Recognition
    9. Lucille Webster Holling
    10. Books from Holling's Library
    11. Objects

    Related Material

    Lucille Webster Holling papers (Collection 1588).   Available at UCLA Library Special Collections.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Holling, Holling Clancy--Archives.
    Holling, Lucille Webster--Archives.
    Authors, American--20th century--Archives.
    Illustrated works.
    Illustrators--United States--Archives.
    Juvenile literature.
    Manuscripts for publication.