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MS 69 - Jan Wahl Collection


The correspondence, literary manuscripts, original illustrations, galley proofs and other materials in the Jan Wahl Collection form a solid basis for beginning research into the life and career of one of the most widely-read contemporary authors of children's literature. Correspondence includes letters from friends, collaborators and publishers and deals for the most part with Wahl's work, although interesting personal asides can be found. Over eighty-five manuscript versions (both originals and copies) of approximately forty of the author's works form the core of the collection.

The core of the collection, spanning the years 1960 to 1980, was given to Bowling Green State University by Mr. Wahl in 1980 as a result of negotiations with Dr. Dwight Burlingame, Dean of Libraries and Learning Resources. On May 1, 1980 the Collection was formally dedicated and the Friends of the Libraries honored the author with festivities marking Jan Wahl Day. Signed copies of a number of his books are housed in the Rare Books Collection and most of his other titles can be found in Jerome Library. In recognition of his continuing work in children's literature and in the history of film, Bowling Green State University awarded Mr. Wahl the honorary degree Doctor of Letters on March 15, 1996. Additional material on this event was added at that time.

This collection is for research. However, unpublished correspondence may not be quoted without written permission of Mr. Wahl. Manuscripts may be photocopied only with the author's permission. This register was compiled by Nancy Steen, then Rare Books Librarian, in February 1985 and revised in September 1996 by Lee McLaird, Curator of Rare Books.

Biographical Sketch

Jan Wahl was born in Columbus, Ohio on April 1, 1933 and grew up in Toledo. He was educated at Cornell University (B.A., 1953); the University of Copenhagen (Fulbright scholar, 1953-1954); and the University of Michigan (M.A., 1958). During his college years Wahl studied under such literary figures as Baxter Hathaway and Austin Warren and wrote a number of stories which were published in little magazines and anthologies.

While studying in Denmark, Wahl worked as secretary to author Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen) during the writing of her Last Tales. The relationship proved to be an unhappy one and after being abruptly fired by the famous Danish author, Wahl returned to America. In 1955 he was awarded the Avery Hopwood Prize in Fiction for his collected short stories. The next major milestone in his career was the 1964 publication of Pleasant Fieldmouse, by Harper & Row, illustrated by Maurice Sendak.

Since then, Wahl has published more than 100 books for children including Doctor Rabbit's Foundling, The Five in the Forest, Old Hippo's Easter Egg, Carrot Nose, Great-Grandmother Cat Tales, The Furious Flycycle, and Once When the World Was Green. He has worked with many noted illustrators, among them Maurice Sendak, Garth Williams, and Erik Blegvad and Mercer Mayer. Among his many awards are the Bologna (Italy) Book Fair Young Critic's Prize (1969), the Ohioana Book Award (1970), the Parents Choice Award (1987), the Redbook Award (1987), the Christopher Medal (1987), and the Coretta Scott King recognition (1992).

Wahl also has had a life-long interest in films and filmmaking. He began collecting films as a fourth grader, and today his collection includes everything from hand-colored films dating from 1893, to post-World War II black and white movies and Technicolor. In 1954 he was assistant to the world renowned film director Carl Theodore Dreyer during the making of "Ordet" in Denmark. Since 1993, he has presented his rare films and shared their history in Germany as well as in the United States.

Still a prolific children's author, Wahl shares his writings and experiences with teachers and children through classroom lectures, conferences, and writing workshops. He has been interviewed by both CNN and German National Television, and his books have been published in seven foreign languages.

Scope and Content

The manuscripts of more than eighty-five drafts of approximately forty of Jan Wahl's books form the nucleus of the Wahl Collection. Related items include galley proofs, illustrations, publishers' mock-ups and research materials used by the author. All manuscripts are typed, some in the original and others copies, but many have holograph corrections and notes by both Mr. Wahl and his various editors.

Integrally connected with the manuscripts is a fascinating collection of correspondence from Wahl's editors, publishers and illustrators dealing almost exclusively with editorial questions. While potentially very useful to researchers studying the pre- publication process, the letters do not give the reader more than a fleeting glimpse of the author's personal relationships. Several of Wahl's speeches, news articles, photographs and memorabilia from Bowling Green State University's Jan Wahl Day in 1980 and the March 1996 awarding of his honorary degree complete the collection.

Researchers interested in children's literature and in book publishing in general should find considerable material of interest in this collection.

Series Description


1964-2002, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters to Jan Wahl from his publishers, editors and illustrators concerning his works in progress.

Letter to Dwight Burlingame from Floyd C. Dickman, the State Library of Ohio.

Correspondence with Ralph Wolfe and BGSU, from Jan Wahl.


1974-1976, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Photocopies of articles dealing with deafness in children, used in preparation of Jamie's Tiger. Also included is "The Woman with the Eggs; a Fable in Verse" by Hans Christian Andersen.

1957, 1963-1980, 1999-2000
Arranged alphabetically by title.
Typed manuscripts, many with holograph corrections by author and editors of approximately forty of Wahl's books (many in several versions). This series includes many galley proofs, paper mock- ups, art work and other related items. Some items are shelved with oversize materials.

May 1, 1980, March 15, 1996
Photocopies of two speeches delivered by Jan Wahl at Bowling Green State University on Jan Wahl Day, May 1, 1980, and carbon typescripts of two speeches delivered by Jan Wahl at the degree award ceremony on March 15, 1996.

Carbon typescript of Wahl's autobiographical notes written for the publication of Jeremiah Knucklebones.

1980, 1985, 1990, 1994, 1996
Articles about Jan Wahl from the Toledo Blade, Toledo Magazine, The Sylvania Herald, and the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune; also publisher's catalog announcements for Once When the World Was Green and How the Children Stopped the Wars. Articles by Wahl from Montage.

Framing print from The Animal's Peace Day (distributed by Crown Publishers at the American Library Association annual meeting, July 1970).

1980, 1996
Program/Invitation to Jan Wahl Day, BGSU, May 1, 1980 sponsored by the Friends of the University Libraries and copy of BGSU's World Wide Web page with degree award announced, as well as copies of the award ceremony program for March 15, 1996. Also included is a program and advertising posters (one signed by Wahl) for a concert and book signing presented at the Field Museum February 21, 1999.

Autumn 1980, 1994
Article by Wahl called "Confessions of Somebody Who Believes Animals Do Talk; or Why I Write for Children" in Ohioana Quarterly. In Montage from late 1994, articles by Wahl on film and comic art.


May 1, 1980
Photographs taken during various activities on Jan Wahl Day, BGSU.

March 15, 1996
Photographs taken at ceremony awarding Wahl honorary degree Doctor of Letters at BGSU, and exhibit cases at Jerome Library with Wahl's publications.

Cassette tape of an adaptation of Wahl's I Met a Dinosaur.


Box 1

  1. Correspondence - Jan Wahl, 1964-1978, n.d.
  2. Correspondence - Jan Wahl, 1978-2002, n.d.
  3. Correspondence - Jan Wahl Day, 1980
  4. Correspondence - BGSU Honorary Degree, 1996
  5. Research materials, 1974-1976, n.d.
  6. Typed manuscript - Abe Lincoln's Beard (Final version). Delacorte Press, 1971, also photocopies of illustrations by Fernando Krahn, June 29, 1969.
  7. Typed manuscript - The Adventures of the Underwater Dog, with comments and revisions, 1988
  8. Typed manuscripts - Anna Help Ginger (original and one photocopy), G. P. Putnam, 1971.
  9. Typed manuscript - Bear, Wolf, and Mouse, 1975
  10. Typed manuscript (three versions) - The Bear, The Wolf and the Vole, with two original sketches by Feodor Rojankovksy and master galleys, 1969
  11. Galley mock-up (photocopy) - The Beast Book, 1964
  12. Typed manuscript - Cabbage Moon
  13. Typed manuscript - Carrot Nose, with corrected galleys, 1978

Box 2

  1. Typed manuscript - Cats and Robbers, with revisions, 1995
  2. Galley proof and sketches for Cats and Robbers by Kurtis Thomas and by Dolores Avendano, 1995
  3. Typed manuscript (two versions)- Christmas Present, with galleys and sample artwork, 1999
  4. Typed manuscript - The Clumpets Go Sailing, 1975
  5. Typed manuscripts (two versions) - Crabapple Night, with one photocopy of manuscript and a galley, 1970
  6. Typed manuscripts (two versions) - Crazy Brobobalou!, with one photocopy of manuscript, 1974
  7. Typed manuscript (two copies) - Cristobal and the Witch, 1972
  8. Photocopies of first and revised manuscripts - Dr. Rabbit, with picture proofs and notes by editor Merloyd Lawrence, 1967, 1969
  9. Photocopy of original manuscript and carbon and photocopy of revised version - Dr. Rabbit's Foundling, 1977
  10. Typed manuscripts (carbon and photocopy), copy with extensive holograph corrections by Wahl, with letter from the editor, 1978-1979.
  11. Typed manuscript - Doctor Rabbit's Storybook, 1975?

Box 3

  1. Typed manuscript (3 copies and page mockup) - The Dog Who Went to Lapland, 1995
  2. Typed manuscript (2 copies) - Emily and the Snowflake, 1995
  3. Typed manuscript - The Fishermen, 1969
  4. Typed manuscript (carbon) with editorial notes by Barbara Cooney - The Five in the Forest, 1965
  5. Typed manuscripts (four copies, 2 revised in holograph) - The Five in the Forest, with photocopies of the Erik Blegvad illustrations, 1974
  6. Typed manuscripts (four versions including originals, carbon and photocopies) - Follow Me Cried the Bee, 1974-1975, n.d.
  7. Typed manuscripts (first drafts) - Frankenstein's Dog and Dracula's Cat, 1977-1978
  8. Typed manuscript (first draft) - The Furious Flycycle, 1968
  9. Corrected galleys and photocopies of Leonard Weisgard illustrations - The Golden Christmas Tree, 1988
  10. Typed manuscripts (two drafts) - Grandpa's Indian Summer, with corrected galleys, 1976
  11. Typed manuscripts (two originals, two carbons) - Great Grandmother Cat Tales, with holograph notes, 1975

Box 4

  1. Corrected galleys and photocopies of Cyndy Szekeres illustrations - Great Grandmother Cat Tales, 1976
  2. Typed manuscript - How the Children Stopped the Wars (published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux). With six original pencil drawings by Mitchell Miller, 1969
  3. Typed manuscript (carbon) - The Howards Go Sledding, with author's note to illustrator and biographical sketch of Wahl, 1964.
  4. Typed manuscript (two copies, one corrected, one galley) - I Met a Dinosaur, 1999 with two posters for Chicago Chamber Musicians Concert
  5. Typed manuscript (two copies, one corrected) - I Remember! Cried Grandma Pinky, with photographs and photocopies of Arden Johnson illustrations, 1994
  6. Typed manuscript - Jack Rabbit and the Giant, 1996
  7. Typed manuscripts (two originals, one photocopy) - Jamie's Tiger, 1978
  8. Galleys and soft-bound mock-ups - Jamie's Tiger, 1978
  9. Typed manuscripts (first draft and final draft) - Jeremiah Knucklebones, with correspondence between editor and illustrator, 1973-1974
  10. Typed manuscripts (one in English, one in Spanish) - Juan Diego and the Lady, with two sets of galleys and related illustrations, 1973?

Box 5

  1. Typed manuscript - The Little Blind Goat, 1981
  2. Galley mock-up - Little Johnny Buttermilk, 1999
  3. Typed manuscripts (originals and photocopies) - Lorenzo Bear and Company, 1971-1972
  4. Typed manuscripts (early versions, including revisions) - Mabel Ran Away with the Toys, 2000
  5. Typed manuscripts (later versions) - Mabel Ran Away with the Toys, artwork and galleys, 2000
  6. Typed manuscripts (three versions: original and two edited copies, including a photocopy with notes) - Magic Heart, 1972
  7. Typed manuscripts (original obsolete version and carbon of revised copyedited version) - Margaret's Birthday, 1971
  8. Two sets of edited pre-publication mock-ups (one photocopied), original drawing and one page layout of book by Blair Lent, with cover mock-up and advance printing without boards - May Horses, 1969

Box 6

  1. Typed manuscript - Mooga Mega Mekki, 1974
  2. Typed manuscript (3 copies, 1 with corrections, 1 master galley with photocopy of illustration - Mrs. Owl and Mr. Pig, 1991
  3. Typed manuscript (partly carbon) - The Muffletump Storybook, 1975
  4. Typed manuscript, copyedited - The Mulberry Tree, 1970
  5. Galley mock-up and color prints - My Cat Ginger, 1992
  6. Typed manuscripts (one under original title: The Jan Wahl Storybook; another edited photocopy under published title: Needle and Noodle and Other Silly Stories), 1979
  7. Typed manuscripts (one original and one edited photocopy) - Old Hippo's Easter Egg, 1980
  8. Typed manuscript (copyedited carbon) - Pleasant Fieldmouse, 1963
  9. Typed manuscript - The Pleasant Fieldmouse Storybook, 1977
  10. Typed manuscripts (one original and two copies including final draft) - Pleasant Fieldmouse's Halloween Party, with corrected galleys, 1973-1974
  11. Typed manuscript (copyedited carbon) - Pocahontas in London, 1967
  12. Typed manuscripts (three drafts) - The Prince Who Was a Fish. With original hand-colored illustrations by Robin Jacques, 1969
  13. Typed manuscripts (photocopy) - Runaway Jonah and Other Tales, 1968?

Box 7

  1. Typed manuscripts (edited draft) - The Screeching Door, with master galleys, 1975
  2. Typed manuscripts (3 drafts), correspondence regarding editing and music - The Singing Geese, 1998
  3. Book mock-up - The Singing Geese, 1998
  4. Typed manuscripts (first and revised drafts) - The Six Voyages of Pleasant Fieldmouse, 1970?
  5. Galley mock-up - The Sleepytime Book, 1992
  6. Typed manuscripts - S.O.S. Bobomobile, with photocopies of the Fernando Krahn illustrations, 1973
  7. Typed manuscript and artwork sketches - Suzy and the Mouse King,
  8. Typed manuscripts (four drafts) - Sylvester Bear Overslept, 1979

Box 8

  1. Typed manuscript (2 copies) - Tailypo!, 1991
  2. Galleys, book mock-up - Tailypo!, 1991
  3. Typed manuscript - Three Pandas, 2000
  4. Typed manuscript - "Three Pandas" written for "The Bridge", 1999
  5. Book mock-up and other artwork - Three Pandas, 2000
  6. Typed manuscript - The Very Peculiar Tunnel, edited, 1972
  7. Galleys - Who Will Believe Tim Kitten? 1978
  8. Typed manuscripts (three drafts) - The Woman with the Eggs, 1974
  9. Typed manuscript (first draft) - The Wonderful Kite, 1957
  10. Typed manuscript (revised draft copy) - The Wonderful Kite, 1969
  11. Speeches, May 1, 1980
  12. Speeches, March 15, 1996

Box 9

  1. Flap copy, 1974
  2. Clippings, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1991, 1996, n.d.
  3. Clippings, news releases, booklet, Monroe Michigan Public Library, 1991-1992
  4. Print (The Animals' Peace Day), 1970
  5. Programs, 1980, 1996, 1999
  6. Periodicals (Ohioana Quarterly), Autumn 1980; Montage, 1994
  7. Photographs, May 1, 1980
  8. Photographs, March 15, 1996
  9. Cassette tape I Met a Dinosaur, 1999

Oversize Materials

  1. Christmas in the Magic Forest, 1999
  2. Galley mock-up of Three Pandas, 2000

Books Published by Jan Wahl
(Illustrator in italics)

Pleasant Fieldmouse (Maurice Sendak)
The Howards Go Sledding (John E. Johnson)
The Beast Book (Edward W. Eichel)
Hello Elephant (Edward Ardizzone)

Cabbage Moon (Adrienne Adams)

The Muffletumps (Edward Ardizzone)

Christmas in the Forest (Eleanor Schick)
Pocahontas in London (John Alcorn)

Runaway Jonah (Uri Shulevitz)
Push Kitty (Garth Williams)
Rickety Rackety Rooster (John E. Johnson)
The Furious Flycycle (Fernando Krahn)
Cobweb Castle (Edward Gorey)

A Wolf of My Own (Lillian Hoban)
The Fishermen (Emily Arnold McGully)
May Horses (Blair Lent)
How the Children Stopped the Wars (Mitchell Miller)
The Norman Rockwell Storybook (Norman Rockwell)

The Mulberry Tree (Feodore Rojankovsky)
The Prince Who Was a Fish (Robin Jacques)
The Animals' Peace Day (Victoria Chess)
Doctor Rabbit (Peter Parnall)
The Wonderful Kite (Uri Shulevitz)

The Six Voyages of Pleasant Fieldmouse (Peter Parnall)
Anna Help Ginger (Lawrence di Fiori)
Crabapple Night (Steven Kellogg)
Margaret's Birthday (Mercer Mayer)
Lorenzo Bear and Company (Fernando Krahn)
Abe Lincoln's Beard (Fernando Krahn)

Cristobal and the Witch (Janet McCaffery)
Magic Heart (Trina Schart Hyman)
The Very Peculiar Tunnel (Steven Kellogg)
Grandmother Told Me (Mercer Mayer)

Crazy Brobobalou (Paula Winter)
S.O.S. Bobomobile! (Fernando Krahn)

Juan Diego and the Lady (Leonard Everett Fisher)
The Five in the Forest (Erik Blegvad)
Mooga Mega Mekki (Fernando Krahn)
Jeremiah Knucklebones (Jane Breskin Zalben)
The Woman with the Eggs (Ray Cruz)
Pleasant Fieldmouse's Halloween Party (Wallace Tripp)

The Clumpets Go Sailing (Cyndy Szekeres)
The Muffletump Storybook (Cyndy Szekeres)
The Screeching Door (Jeffrey Higginbottom)
Bear, Wolf and Mouse (Kinuko Craft)
The Muffletumps' Christmas Party (Cyndy Szekeres)

Follow Me Cried the Bee (John Wallner)
Grandpa's Indian Summer (Joanne Scribner)
Great-Grandmother Cat Tales (Cyndy Szekeres)

Doctor Rabbit's Foundling (Cyndy Szekeres)
Frankenstein's Dog (Kay Chorao)
The Muffletump's Halloween Scare (Cyndy Szekeres)
Pleasant Fieldmouse's Halloween Trick (Erik Blegvad)

Dracula's Cat (Kay Chorao)
Jamie's Tiger (Tomie de Paola)
Youth's Magic Horn (short stories)
Drakestail (Byron Barton)
Who Will Believe Tim Kitten? (Cyndy Szekeres)
Carrot Nose (James Marshall)

The Teeny Tiny Witches (Margot Tomes)
Sylvester Bear Overslept (Lee Lorenz)
Needle and Noodle (Stan Mack)
Doctor Rabbit's Lost Scout (Cyndy Szekeres)

Old Hippo's Easater Egg (Lorinda Cauley)
Button Eye's Orange (Wendy Watson)

The Cucumber Princess (Caren Caraway)
The Little Blind Goat (Antonio Frasconi)
Grandpa Gus's Birthday Cake (John Wallner)

Tiger Watch (Charles Mikolaycak)
The Pipkins Go Camping (John Wallner)

More Room for the Pipkins (John Wallner)

Peter and the Troll Baby (Erik Blegvad)

So Many Raccoons (Beth Weiner)
Cheltenham's Party (Lucinda McQueen)
Runaway Jonah and Other Biblical Adventures (Jane Conten-Morgan)

Rabbits on Roller Skates! (David Allender)
The Toy Circus (Tim Bowers)

Humphrey's Bear (William Joyce)

Timothy Tiger's Terrible Toothache (Lisa McCue)
Little Dragon's Gradmother (Lucinda McQueen)
Tim Kitten and the Red Cupboard (Bruce Degen)
The Golden Christmas Tree (Leonard Weisgard)
Tales of Fuzzy Mouse (Lillian Hoban)

The Wizard of Oz Movie Storybook
The Adventures of Underwater Dog (Tim Bowers)

Doctor Rabbit's Foundling (paperback)
Doctor Rabbit's Lost Scout (paperback)
A Gift for Miss Milo (Jeff Grove)
The Rabbit Club (Tim Bowers)
Dracula's Cat/Frankenstein's Dog (flip book)

Mrs. Owl and Mr. Pig (Eileen Christelow)
Tailypo! (Wil Clay)

The Sleepytime Book (Arden Johnson)
Little Eight John (Wil Clay)
Pleasant Fieldmouse (paperback)
My Cat Ginger (Naava)
Suzy and the Mouse King (Katie Macaro)

Little Gray One (Frane Lessac)
How the Children Stopped the Wars (Maureen O'Keefe)
Will Santa Come? (Katie Macaro)

The Furious Flycycle (Ted Enik) (paperback)
The Six Voyages of Pleasant Fieldmouse (Tim Bowers) (paperback)
S.O.s Bobomobile! (Ted Enik) (paperback)
I Remember! Cried Grandma Pinky! (Arden Johnson)

Cats and Robbers (Dolores Avedano)
Emily and the Snowflake (Carolyn Ewing)

Once When the World Was Green (Fabricio Vandenbroeck)
Jack Rabbit and the Giant (Katie Macaro)

I Met a Dinosaur (Chris Sheban)

The Singing Geese (Sterling Brown)

Christmas Present (Michael McCurdy) Christmas in the Magic Forest; 24 mini-board books and advent calendar (Marnie Webster)
Little Johnny Buttermilk (Jennifer Maccuzzo)

The Fieldmouse and the Dinosaur Named Sue (Bob Doucet)
Mabel Ran Away with the Toys (Liza Woodruff)
Three Pandas (Naava)

Magic Heart (Trina Schart)

Elf Night (Peter Weevers)

Rabbits on Mars (Kimberly Schamber)