de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
.40 cu.ft. (1 box)

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory


Material received from Russell Hoban in 1966.


Non-circulating; available for research.


This 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, other than that noted above.

Biographical Sketch

Russell Conwell Hoban was born February 4, 1925 in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. From the age of five he drew and sketched a great deal. His older sister, Tana, who became a successful photographer and children's book author, strongly influenced him. He entered Temple University but dropped out after five weeks. He attended the Graphic Sketch Club in Philadelphia, where he met his future wife, Lillian Aberman, and the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art from 1941-1943. Serving in the U.S. Army from 1943 to 1945, he took part in the Italian campaign and received the Bronze Star.

Lillian Aberman Hoban was born May 18, 1925 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she spent her childhood. She attended the Museum School and Hanya Holm School of Dance. Even as a child Lillian wanted to illustrate children's books, and at age fourteen she enrolled in classes at the Graphic Sketch Club. Later, she won a scholarship to art school and majored in illustration.

The two married in 1944 and moved to New York. Lillian gave up illustration to study and teach dance professionally, until the early 1960s when she teamed up with her husband to produce children's books. In New York after the war, Russell worked as a magazine illustrator and advertising studio artist (1945-1951); a story board artist and character designer at a film studio (1951); a television art director at advertising agencies (1952-1957) and a free-lance illustrator for advertising agencies and magazines, including Time, Life, Fortune, Saturday Evening Post, and True (1956-1965); and an advertising copywriter (1965-1967).

Russell wrote and illustrated his first book, What Does It Do and How Does It Work (1959), due to an interest in machinery. The Hobans soon collaborated on their first book, Herman the Loser, which was published in 1961. Russell shifted his career emphasis from illustrator to writer, while Lillian gradually switched from dancer back to illustrator. During the course of his writing career Russell produced approximately fifty books for children, about half of which Lillian illustrated. He also wrote six novels for adults and three plays. In addition to Russell books, Lillian has illustrated about twenty books for other writers as well as writing and illustrating several books of her own. The Hobans moved to London in 1969. They divorced in 1975, and Russell married Gundula Ahl. After his divorce Russell began to write more for adults.

Several of Russell and Lillian Hoban's collaborative books were award-winning. Bread and Jam for Frances was selected as a Library of Congress Children's Book in 1964. For Charlie the Tramp, they won the Boys Club Award in 1968, and for Emmet Otter's Jug-band Christmas, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and the Christopher Award, both in 1972. Russell Hoban won the Whitbread Literary Award in 1974 and made the International Board on Books for Young People Honor List in 1976, both for How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen. A Near Thing for Captain Najork was selected as one of the Best Illustrated Children's Books of the Year by the New York Times in 1976. Russell Hoban also won several awards for his adult science fiction book, Ridley Walker, published in 1980. He was awarded Recognition of Merit, George G. Stone Center for Children's Books, 1982, for his contributions to books for younger children.


Scope and Content

The collection contains a letter from Russell Hoban to the de Grummond Collection describing the material, which he selected to explain the various steps involved in the process of writing and illustrating a picture book. The collection also contains material for six titles, all but one of which were collaborative works by the Hobans published between 1961 and 1967. Also included is an illustration by Lillian for When I Am Big, by Robert P. Smith. The titles are arranged alphabetically; within each title material is arranged in the probable order of creation.

A Baby Sister For Frances (1964) is one of the "Frances" series in which Frances must deal with having a younger sister. For this title the collection contains two press sheets. For Henry and the Monstrous Din (1966), a picture book about a little boy whose little noise grows into a monstrous din, the collection includes a carbon typescript and the folded, cut press sheets. Herman the Loser (1961) is a story about a boy who can never find anything until he loses his father's watch and finds many things while looking for the watch. For this title the collection contains a typescript and a galley, both edited by the author and an editor. The Sorely Trying Day (1964), a picture book, is the humorous story about a father who comes home to find his household in an uproar and how he gets to the bottom of the trouble. As Hoban noted in his correspondence, he wrote this story in an evening, after a similar "sorely trying" afternoon. For this title the collection has a page of type samples and two pages of sketches. Tom and the Two Handles (1965) is a picture book about boys and fist fights and a solution to the problem. For this title the collection includes a complete dummy with colored illustrations, a jacket sketch that was not used, and page layouts for two pages. For When I Am Big (1965) written by Robert P. Smith and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, the collection holds artwork and text for page 6.

Related Collection

The Tana Hoban Papers (DG0460)

Series and Subseries

A. Correspondence (1966)

B. Books (1961-1966)

Box Inventory


A. Correspondence

1/1 From Russell Hoban to the de Grummond Collection, 17 May 1966, 5 pp.

B. Books

A BABY SISTER FOR FRANCES by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper & Row, 1964). 1/2 Press sheets, text and cover, 2 items [oversize, stored separately]. HENRY AND THE MONSTROUS DIN by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper & Row, 1966). 1/3 Typescript, carbon, 4 pp. Press sheet, folded and cut, 32 pp. HERMAN THE LOSER by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper, 1961). 1/4 Typescript, edited, 10 pp. Galley, edited and marked for typesetter, 6 pp. THE SORELY TRYING DAY by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper & Row, 1964). 1/5 Type sample, 1 p. Sketches, graphite, 2 pp. TOM AND THE TWO HANDLES by Russell Hoban, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper & Row, 1965). 1/6 Dummy with text and illustrations, ink, graphite, chalk, and marker, 64 pp., bound. 1/7 Page layout, pp. 22-23. Preliminary illustration, opaque watercolor and graphite, cover. Color separations, dust jacket. Dust jacket. WHEN I AM BIG by Robert Paul Smith, pictures by Lillian Hoban (New York: Harper & Row, 1965). 1/8 Text and illustration, transparent watercolor, graphite and ink, p. 5.

Processed: March 1991
Revised: June 2001

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory
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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

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