Leonard P. Kessler papers


Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection
Call Number
Kessler, Leonard P., 1920-
Leonard P. Kessler papers
2.34 Linear feet
This collection consists of production materials for the book How to Play Better Football (1972) by children's author C. Paul Jackson, illustrated by Leonard P. Kessler. The collection includes a dummy and a complete set of final art, in addition to small amounts of correspondence, preliminary art, and partial proofs.
Cite as
[Description and date of item], [Box and folder number], Leonard P. Kessler papers, 1972, Free Library of Philadelphia, Children’s Literature Research Collection.

Leonard P. Kessler was born on October 28, 1921 in Ohio. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star. He received his B.F.A. from Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949. He began writing and illustrating books for children with What’s In a Line? (1951) and Farther and Faster (1953). Many of his books were co-written with his wife, Ethel, including Plink, Plink! Goes the Water in My Sink (1954) and Art is Everywhere (1958). Most of the illustrations in Kessler’s work were simple and childlike, and the text showed a good understanding of children’s vocabulary. He was awarded the New York Times best illustrated children's books award three times: in 1954 for Fast Is Not a Ladybug and in 1955 for Heavy Is a Hippopotamus, both by Miriam Schlein; and in 1957 for Big Red Bus, which was co-written by his wife, Ethel. Throughout his prolific career, Kessler has created illustrations for over 200 books.


Something About the Author, vol. 14.

This collection consists of a dummy, preliminary art, a partial galley proof, and final artwork for the book How to Play Better Football (1972) by children's author C. Paul Jackson, illustrated by Leonard P. Kessler. There is also a small amount of correspondence.

This collection is arranged in probable order of creation.

Publication Information:

Free Library of Philadelphia: Children's Literature Research Collection

Finding Aid Author:

Finding aid prepared by Garrett Boos


The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources’ “Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives” Project.

Access Restrictions:

This collection is open to researchers by appointment. Please contact the Curator for information on access. Final art is too fragile for researchers to handle without the supervision of the Curator.

Use Restrictions:

The right of access to material does not imply the right of publication. Permission for reprinting, reproduction, or extensive quotation from the rare books, manuscripts, prints, or drawings must be obtained through written application, stating the use to be made of the material. The reader bears the responsibility for any possible infringement of copyright laws in the publication of such material. A reproduction fee will be charged if the material is to be reproduced in a commercial publication. Some of the materials in this collection may be too fragile for use without the Curator’s supervision.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

Gift of Leonard P. Kessler, 1973.

  • Drawings (visual works)
  • Dummies (printed matter)
  • Illustrations
Personal Name(s)
  • Jackson, C. Paul (Caary Paul), 1902-
  • Kessler, Leonard P., 1920-
  • Children's authors--20th century
  • Children's literature--20th century
  • Illustrated children's books--20th century
  • Illustration of books--20th century
  Date Box Folder Object
How to Play Better Football 1972
Dummy, graphite, pen and ink, and grey wash on paper and tracing paper with text pasted in, 120 pages 2
Preliminary art for page 99, pen and ink on tracing paper 1
"About the Illustrator," corrected typescript 1
Complete set of final art, pen and ink and grey wash on tracing paper mounted to layout board with text pasted in, 121 sheets
Pages 208-212 are housed with Children's Literature Research Collection original framed artwork.
Partial galley proof, 3 sheets 1
Memorandum from Thomas Y. Crowell Company to Leonard Kessler regarding completed art 1972 October 6 1

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