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Esther Averill Papers

Identifier: DG0045

Scope and Contents

The collection contains two dummies from Ms. Averill's The Cat Club series, How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club (1953) and The Fire Cat (1960). Both have some original paste-ups and notes from the author in them. Also included are some letters to the de Grummond Collection that detail some of her work and art technique on Daniel Boone (1931) and The Fire Cat (1960). The Fire Cat (1960), is the story of a cat named Pickles who dreams of living in a firehouse. The other book, How the Brothers Joined the Cat Club (1953) is the story of how Jenny's two new brothers are accepted into the cat club.


  • 1953-1971

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." 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.

Biographical / Historical

Esther Averill was born July 24, 1902 in Bridgeport, Connecticut. As a teenager, she worked as a cartoonist for a local newspaper. In 1923, she graduated from Vassar College and went to work in the editorial department of Woman's Wear Daily, a fashion newspaper in New York. She moved to Paris in 1925 working as a free-lance photographer. Ms. Averill decided to write and set up her own publishing company, The Domino Press, in 1931 and published Daniel Boone, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. In 1934, she published her last book in France, The Fable of a Proud Poppy under the pseudonym, John Domino. After a ten year stay in Paris, she moved back to the United States, started The Domino Press, New York, worked in the New York Public Library and studied painting at the Brooklyn Museum Art School. Ms. Averill is most noted for The Cat Club series, 13 stories about a black cat named Jenny Lensky that wears a red scarf in all of her adventures. The characters were all based on cats Ms. Averill owned or knew. Jenny's Birthday Book (1954),written and illustrated by Esther Averill, was awarded the Best Children's Book of the Year by the New York Times. Some of the cat stories have been published in other languages throughout the world. Esther Averill died on May 12, 1992 in New York.


Contemporary Authors, vol. 139, pp. 20.

Something About the Author, vol. 28, pp. 39-43.


.40 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Material was donated by Esther Averill in 1966 and 1971.

Esther Averill Papers
In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001