Lee Walp Family Juvenile Book Collection in Mirlyn

original drawing and inscription by Dr. Seuss:
Lee Walp's copy of If I Ran the Zoo features an original drawing and inscription by Dr. Seuss on the flyleaf.

Yes, that’s an original drawing by Dr. Seuss—and you can view it in the Special Collections Library, where it is held in the Lee Walp Family Juvenile Book Collection!

The Walp Juvenile Book Collection is a trove of children’s literature, representing authors and illustrators throughout the 20th century both through published works and through correspondence, clippings, and original artwork. Lee Walp, a University of Michigan alumnus and a professor of botany at Marietta College, OH, began collecting children’s books in the 1940s and continued to expand his collection until the early 21st century. Walp sought out signatures and artwork from the authors and illustrators he especially admired and maintained correspondence with notables including Ed Emberley, Robert Andrew Parker, and Robert Lawson.

The Special Collections Library acquired the collection in 2002, and the archival material was processed and described in 2004. As of 2014, we are excited to announce that the extensive book collection is now also processed and can be searched and requested in Mirlyn. The bulk of this cataloging project was accomplished from 2010-2012, while the material requiring original cataloging and more detailed description was completed in 2013 and early 2014, resulting in more than 6,000 records. To identify these records in Mirlyn Advanced Search, limit Location to Special Collections and Collection to Walp Juvenile Book Collection.

Original drawing and inscription by Edward Gorey: "For Lee Walp"
Original drawing and inscription by Edward Gorey:
"For Lee Walp" 


The Walp Collection is of particular value to researchers and enthusiasts interested in illustration. While the archive is a rich source of original sketches and paintings, many charming drawings and inscriptions can be found in the books as well. It is thrilling to crack open a book and find not only the printed illustrations, but a manuscript sketch, such as the creatures pictured here drawn by Dr. Seuss in If I Ran the Zoo and by Edward Gorey in The Lavender Leotard. All drawings and inscriptions are described in the Mirlyn records in the Copy-Specific Note under the Description tab; this note can be searched using the All Fields selection in Mirlyn.

Written by Rosa Moore.