Scope and Contents
The collection includes material created by Mo Willems throughout his career as an animator, illustrator, and author. Materials include writings, artwork, photographs, audiovisual material, electronic media, a drawing table, character merchandise, correspondence and fan mail, including a crocheted pigeon gifted to Willems, personal papers, and other papers by or relating to Willems. Writings contain drafts, notes, notebooks, proofs, scripts, and related printed material, including foreign language editions of Willems' children's books and single issues of comic books and magazines. Artwork includes original watercolors, acrylic paintings, sketchbooks, pencil drawings, animation cels, inks, and sketches.
Children's books in the collection include the Elephant and Piggie series, Edwina: The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct, the Knuffle Bunny series, Leonardo the Terrible, and the Pigeon series. Animated works by Willems include Codename: Kids Next Door, The Man Who Yelled, The Off-Beats, various Sesame Street shorts, and Sheep in the Big City.
- circa 1962-2013
- Majority of material found within 1981 - 2011
- Willems, Mo, 1968- (Author)
In Chinese, Dutch, Flemish, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Persian.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Box 10 (digital media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Boxes 133-148 (audiovisual media): Restricted fragile material. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Box 149 (computer media): Restricted fragile material. Access copies of digital files may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Purchased from Cumberland Rare Books on the Jockey Hollow Fund, 2013, 2017.
Organized into two groupings: July 2013 Acquisition and February 2017 Acquisition.
173.12 Linear Feet ((136 boxes) + 11 broadside, 1 art)
The collection includes writings, artwork, photographs, audiovisual material, electronic media, a drawing table, correspondence, personal papers, and other papers by or relating to Mo Willems.
Mo Willems (1968- )
Mo Willems is an American author, illustrator, and animator. After graduating from New York University in 1990, he began a job with Children's Television Workshop. This position led to Willems writing for Sesame Street, resulting in six Emmy Awards. In the early 2000s, he began working for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, developing shows such as Codename: Kids Next Door, The Off-Beats, and Sheep in the Big City. In addition to children's television, he has written and illustrated comic books for DC Comics and more than 50 children's books. Willems is the creator of popular books such as Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and the Elephant and Piggie series.
Willems' books have been translated into several languages and developed into theatrical musical productions. In addition to three Caldecott Honor awards for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Willems has been awarded the Carnegie Medal for animated shorts based on Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
In 1997, Willems married Cheryl Camp, a production manager for children's commercials, in Brooklyn, New York. The couple had one child, Trix Willems. In 2019, Willems was named the Kennedy Center's first education artist-in-residence.
Previously on deposit at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut.
Collections are processed to a variety of levels, depending on the work necessary to make them usable, their perceived research value, the availability of staff, competing priorities, and whether or not further accruals are expected. The library attempts to provide a basic level of preservation and access for all collections, and does more extensive processing of higher priority collections as time and resources permit.
Information included in the Description of Papers note and Collection Contents section is drawn from information supplied with the collection and from an initial survey of the contents. Folder titles appearing in the contents list below are often based on those provided by the creator or previous custodian. Otherwise, folder titles are supplied by staff during initial processing.
This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.
Box 38 is not in use.
- Animation (Cinematography)
- Animation cels
- Artists, American -- 20th century -- Archives
- Artists, American -- 21st century -- Archives
- Audiovisual materials
- Authors -- United States -- 20th century
- Authors -- United States -- 21st century
- Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives
- Authors, American -- 21st century -- Archives
- Born digital
- Character merchandising
- Character toys
- Children -- Books and reading
- Children's literature -- Illustrations
- Children's literature, American -- 20th century
- Children's literature, American -- 21st century
- Children's television programs
- Comic books
- Comic books, strips, etc.
- Drawing tables (artists' tables)
- Drawings (visual works)
- Illustration of books -- United States
- Illustrators -- United States -- 20th Century
- Illustrators -- United States -- 21st century
- Pen and ink drawings
- Pen and wash drawings
- Pencil drawings
- Picture books for children -- United States
- Sesame Street (Television program)
- Watercolors (paintings)
- Willems, Mo, 1968-
- Guide to the Mo Willems Papers
- by Beinecke staff, Annalise Hennessey
- December 2018. Revised: May 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository
P. O. Box 208330
New Haven CT 06520-8330 US
121 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
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