Tana Hoban Collection Processed Through NHPRC Grant

News item published on: 2024-06-14 13:44:00

Tana Hoban was an artist, film maker, and creator of more than two dozen award-winning children’s books. A collection containing materials related to fifty-two children's books, biographical items, correspondence, promotional items for Hoban's books, and parts of 18 unpublished books was donated to Special Collections by Hoban and her daughter to be housed in the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection.

Early in her career, Hoban worked as a free-lance advertising artist and magazine illustrator, but later concentrated on a career as a professional photographer. By 1950 her work was included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and in 1953 she was the only woman mentioned in a Time magazine portfolio on "Half a Century of U.S. Photography." She was named one of the Top Ten Women Photographers by the Professional Photographers of America, and in 1967 she produced and filmed Catsup, an award-winning film which was shown at the Venice Film Festival.

Long interested in child development, Hoban frequently used children as subjects for her photographs. As early as 1955 she had written a book on photographing children, and in 1970 she combined her skills as a photographer with her interest in children to produce her first juvenile picture book, Shapes and Things.

Hoban continued to produce children's books as well as make films. She won numerous gold medals and other awards for her photography and films, in addition to her many awards for the children's books she produced. As of 1990, five of her books had been listed as American Library Association Notables.

Through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant, Crystal Walker worked to process and preserve this important collection. Walker completed the finding aid, identified items for digitization, created an online exhibit, input items into Archive Space, the information management system for archival materials. Of her work with this collection, Walker said, “Even though Tana has been gone 18 years, it feels like she was just sitting here at the table with me, cracking jokes and explaining a development process she was using. I'm happy to have had this time in the archives because I found a passion for it. I hope to continue working with the archives and libraries in the future.”

Lorraine A. Stuart, Head of Special Collections and Curator of Historical Manuscripts and Archives, is leading the two-year grant project. The purpose of the grant is to increase access to collections and will support processing, digitization, and development of finding aids for existing collections significant to the history and culture of Mississippi. The grant is also providing multiple opportunities for hands-on materials preservation and presentation experiences for the University’s Library and Information Sciences and Humanities graduate students.