Eye Candyđź‘€for Picture Book Lovers, Part 2

Dr. Irvin Kerlan (1912-1963 (Killed at only age 51 in a traffic accident)) was the chief of medical research for the US Food and Drug Administration and an alumni of the University of Minnesota. An avid collector of rare books, he began focussing his collection toward children’s books.

Dr. Kerlan had an appreciation for Newbery winners and began to write to author’s and illustrators that he believed represented the best of Children’s Literature for that year. Soon, he found himself the recipient of items that went into ‘making the books’ and became the owner of original manuscripts and artwork that went into creating some of the most beloved children’s books of all time.

Dr. Kerlan donated his vast and valuable collection to The University of Minnesota. His collection was, and certainly still is, shipped all over the world for research, galleries, and exhibits. It is housed permanently at the University of Minnesota at the Elmer L. Anderson Library. Check out my previous post to catch a glimpse of the scope of the archives. Last month I took a visit to the collection and am sharing some visual inspiration with you during my next several posts. Here’s a link to learn more about the collection and the library… https://www.lib.umn.edu/collections/special/kerlan

I enjoy pretty much all things Victorian. Especially the decorative swirls, borders, and patterns of their furnishings and decor. Kate Greenaway (March 17, 1846-November 6, 1901) was a very interesting woman and illustrator. One of the rare few to achieve success during her lifetime— back in the day. Her love to draw kept her from excelling at traditional learning and she fought through the discriminatory education system to be able to have the same studio and art education rights as men did. Her work is instantly recognizable and appeared on greeting cards, in magazines, and notable children’s books. If you would like to read about her life and career this is a very informative article https://www.illustrationhistory.org/artists/kate-greenaway.

The Kerlan Collection houses a great deal of her work. I was inspired by her watercolor technique and her glorious borders. Kate Greenaway’s placement of elements and design of the page echoes her education and skills as a designer and pattern maker.

I tried to photograph my un-manicured fingers into the photos to show you Kate’s often very diminutive scale~ Enjoy!

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. Wow, some of those are tiny! I love looking at them.

  2. What an informative and wonderful article. thank you, Terri

  3. My, gosh, how small and full of life these figures are. I love the boy with the dog and fishing pole and his companion in the background with a hoop. These are just great to see. Thanks so much for sharing, Jennifer!

  4. Thank you for sharing some more treasures from your visit to the Elmer L. Anderson Library. Kate Greenaway’s illustrations are exquisite. I loved hearing a little bit about her career as an illustrator.

  5. I love this post so much and those miniatures! Artists do amazing things with just a pencil. Really enjoyed reading KG’s biography. It was a lesson too in not taking advice from all–one really must know to trust our own instincts. Thank you so much for taking us along on this tour, Jen. I treasure some of the older books I’ve discovered at thriftstores–such gems!

  6. Lovely!

  7. Art so lovely and classic!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *