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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Eleanor Pownall Simmons Manuscripts

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1960-1970
Creator: Simmons, Eleanor Pownall (1925-1999)
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0698
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Printmaker and artist, Simmons wrote and illustrated a number of books for children.

Alternate Extent Statement: Photographs in Box 2.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.


Preferred Citation: Eleanor Pownall Simmons Manuscripts, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

Eleanor (Ellie) Simmons was born April 1, 1925, in Des Moines, to Frederick and Dorothy (Ashby) Pownall. She moved with her family to Iowa City, where she was raised and educated, graduating from University High School in 1943. She was awarded a bachelor's of arts degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa in 1947. She married John E. Simmons the same year.

They moved to Philadelphia in the late 1940s, where she did editorial work for the Ladies Home Joumal. They later moved to Ithaca, N.Y in 1954, where she began her career as a writer and illustrator of children's books. In 1960, they moved to Chicago for a year before returning to Iowa City in 1961, where her husband was Director of Publications for the University. She continued to write and paint for over 30 years.

Mrs. Simmons died on October 22, 1999, at the age of 74. She was survived by two children, Fred Simmons and his wife, Donna, of Iowa City, Mary Simmons of Boston, Mass.; and her sister, Dorothy Pownall of Iowa City.

The papers of artist and printmaker Eleanor Pownall Simmons date from 1960-1970 and measure 0.5 linear feet. Simmons wrote and illustrated a number of books for children. This collection includes her artwork and typescript drafts from Mary, The Mouse Champion (1963), Dog (1967), Cat (1968), Wheels (1968), and Family (1970). Also included is a selection of greeting cards, note cards, brochures, etc. designed by Simmons. In 2007, Marianne Stein, a long time friend of Mrs. Simmons, donated to the collection letters she received from Eleanor between 1969 and 1991. Since their circle of friends included the Boyds, the Engles, the Gerbers, the Van Allens, the Merkers, the Bourjailys, the Achepols, Laurence Lafore, and while he was here, Nicholas Meyer, these people are sometimes mentioned in these letters. A donation from Dale Bentz in 2008 widens the scope of the collection, consisting of several Valentine's Day greeting cards designed by Simmons.
Bostwick, Fran. "Ellie Simmons: Her Children's Books Delight Young Readers." SUI Staff Magazine, Summer 1963, pp. 12-14

Browse by Series:
Series 1: GENERAL

  • Series 1: GENERAL
  • Box 1:
  • Cat  - 1968
  • Final drawings on boards and overlays for printer. 37 pieces. 14 cm.
  • Printer's dummy.
  • Dog  - 1967
  • Final drawings on boards. 1 piece, 16 cm.; 37 pieces, 14 cm.; 1 piece., 11 cm.
  • Printer's dummy.
  • Family  - 1970
  • Preliminary sketches, 2 pieces, 28 cm. (incomplete?).
  • Rough drawings on paper, 28 pieces, various sizes.
  • Final drawings on boards, 5 pieces, 16 cm.; 26 pieces, 14 cm.
  • Mary, the Mouse Champion  - 1963
  • Typescript draft (printer's copy) 25 p. 28 cm.
  • Proofs, 2 p. (incomplete) 38 boards with final drawings and printed text., 28 cm.
  • Wheels  - 1969
  • Artist's sketches. 27 pieces, various sizes.
  • Final drawings on boards. 2 pieces, 17.7 cm.; 25 pieces, 14 cm.
  • Publisher's dummy.
  • Greeting cards, programs, brochures, tags, and note cards designed by Eleanor Simmons. 51 items. [Gift of Louane Newsome]
  • Box 2:
  • Copies of CatDogFamily, and Wheels, inscribed to the Stein children [Gift of Marianne Stein] - 2007
  • Greeting cards, clipping, photograph. [Gift of Marianne Stein] - 2007
  • Letters. [Gift of Marianne Stein]   - 2007
  • Greeting cards. [Gift of Dale Bentz]