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Norman Bridwell Papers

Identifier: DG0116

Scope and Contents

The Norman Bridwell Papers contain letters sent and dummies and illustrations for four Bridwell books published between 1963 and 1966. The papers are organized into two series: letters sent and books.

The letters sent series consists of three letters Norman Bridwell sent to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection between 1966 and 1971. The books series contains original illustrations for two Clifford books, Clifford the Big Red Dog and Clifford's Halloween. It also contains dummies from two other works, Bird in the Hat and Zany Zoo. The materials are arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation.


  • 1963-1971
  • Majority of material found within [1963-1966]

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

The author and illustrator of the popular Clifford the Big Red Dog series, Norman Ray Bridwell was born in Kokomo, Indiana in 1928. By his own admission he always liked to draw, even to the detriment of his schoolwork. He studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis and Cooper Union Art School in New York before working as a commercial artist for twelve years.

In 1962 Bridwell found himself having to support a wife and infant daughter on extra money he picked up doing freelance artwork. He considered supplementing his income by illustrating picture books. An editor at Harper & Row advised him that he might find success by writing a story about one of his pictures. Because of his young daughter, Bridwell chose to write a story about an illustration he had made of a little girl and a big red bloodhound. He decided to make the dog VERY big and more of a general, all-around dog instead of a bloodhound. Bridwell wanted to name the dog Tiny, but his wife thought the name too boring. She suggested the name Clifford, after an imaginary play friend from her own childhood. With that settled, Bridwell decided to name the little girl in his book after his own daughter, Emily Elizabeth, and within a few days he completed his story. Three weeks after submitting his story and illustrations to Scholastic Books, the publishers called with an offer to publish his work. Forty titles and sixty million copies later, "Clifford the Big Red Dog" is a well-known and beloved character to the preschool set. Norman Bridwell and his wife Norma moved to Martha's Vineyard after tiring of city life. Their daughter, Emily Elizabeth, and son Tim, who sometimes showed up in his father's stories as a character named Timmy, also live in Massachusetts.

Norman Bridwell passed away on December 12, 2014 at the age of 86.


Contemporary Authors, New Revision Series, v. 46 pp. 40-1

Children's Books and Their Creators, pp. 82-3 [accessed on 6 December 2001]


.60 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials



Norman Bridwell was the author and illustrator of the popular Clifford the Big Red Dog book series. Clifford books have sold more than sixty million copies and are translated into many languages worldwide. The Norman Bridwell Papers hold original illustrations or book dummies for four Bridwell works, including two Clifford titles.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These papers were donated to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries by Norman Bridwell between 1966 and 1971.
Norman Bridwell Papers
In Progress
Cheri Alder
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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This finding aid is the product of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001