Skip to main content

Margaret Wise Brown Papers

Identifier: DG1129


The Margaret Wise Brown Papers contain a manuscript, typescripts, and printed material created and accumulated by Margaret Wise Brown between around 1937 and 1944. Her papers were created from her composition of two published books and one unpublished work. Brown is celebrated for the revolutionary quality of her picture books that were based on children's everyday experiences.


  • circa 1937 - 1944

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

Margaret Wise Brown was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 23, 1910, to Robert Bruce and Maude (Johnson) Brown. She was educated at private schools in Switzerland and Massachusetts before receiving a B.A. degree in English from Hollins College in 1932. Brown studied at the Bureau of Educational Experiments, a combined nursery and progressive research institute for child behavior, in New York City. Although she quickly understood the development of perception in young children, she felt herself unsuited to be a teacher and began writing children's books. She served as editor of children's books for the William R. Scott Inc. publishing company between 1938 and 1942, promoting a genre of early childhood literature rooted in children's everyday experiences.

Brown is celebrated for the revolutionary quality of her picture books. She acknowledged children's natural interests in novel sights, sounds, and smells, as well as their concern with being lost, alone, found, and protected. Brown produced books at an extraordinary rate between 1938 and 1952. She authored more than a hundred books, among them classics like The Noisy Book (1939), Runaway Bunny (1942), and Goodnight Moon (1947). Brown received the Caldecott Medal in 1947 for The Little Island. She traveled to France in 1952, but became ill suddenly and died at Nice on November 13.


Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults, ed. Laurie Collier and Joyce Nakamura (Detroit: Gale Research, 1993), 1:345-349.

Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, ed. Laura Standley Berger, 4th ed. (Detroit: St. James Press, 1995), 154-156.

Children's Books and Their Creators, ed. Anita Silvey (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), 95-97.


.30 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

These materials were donated by Esphyr Slobodkina.

Related Materials

The Esphyr Slobodkina Papers (DG0905) contain production material and correspondence for The Little Fireman (1938), The Little Cowboy (1948), The Little Farmer (1948), and Sleepy ABC (1953).

Margaret Wise Brown Papers
In Progress
Hans Rasmussen
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
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