Tom Pohrt Archive (1980-2004, bulk 1990-2004)
Summary Information
Title: Tom Pohrt Archive
Creator: Pohrt, Tom
Inclusive dates: 1980-2004
Bulk dates: 1990-2004
Extent: 11 boxes ( 1 record center and 10 oversize flat boxes)
Abstract:
Tom Pohrt is a self-taught artist who works out of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is best known as a children’s book illustrator and author. The collection documents Pohrt’s work as a children’s book illustrator and author through published works, correspondence with authors and publishers, manuscripts, and artwork.
Call number: Pohrt
Language: The material is in English
Repository: University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.

Copyright:

Copyright has not been transferred to the Regents of the University of Michigan. Permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s).

Preferred Citation:

Tom Pohrt Archive, University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Research Center)

Collection History
Acquisition Information:

Purchased in 2003

Processing Information:

Collection processed and finding aid created by Laura Haxer, Kathleen Dow.


Biography

Tom Pohrt was born in Flint, Michigan in 1953. He graduated from Flint Northern High School and attended courses at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Without any formal training or education in art, Pohrt developed his creative skills in line drawing and watercolors.

During and after college, he worked in automobile factories. At this time he also began a small publishing venture, Bear Claw Press, with his brother, Karl Pohrt, and a friend. The first author they published was Howard Norman in 1978. The press was eventually awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1977.

His first illustration endeavors took place in 1978 when he illustrated Who Met the Ice Lynx by Howard Norman and The Man Who Kept Cigars in His Cap by Jim Henen. The first was published by Bear Claw press and the second by Grey Wolf Press. At this point in his life, these projects were just for fun and Pohrt was not even considering being an illustrator full time.

In the early eighties, Pohrt and Barry Lopez, an author known for his books on natural history and the environment intended for adult audiences, teamed up on a project that would put Pohrt on the map as an illustrator and allowed him to consider being a full-time illustrator. After 10 years of planning, Crow and Weasel was published by North Point Press in 1990. It received much critical recognition and was turned into a play for the 1994-1995 season of the Sundance festival in Utah.

Following the success of Crow and Weasel , Pohrt has worked steadily on several projects throughout the years including venturing out to author and illustrate his own children’s book. In the following decade he illustrated Miko, Little Hunter Of The North by Bruce Donehower (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1990), A Child's Anthology of Poetry by Elizabeth Hauge Sword and Victoria McCarthy (Ecco Press, 1995), Lessons from the wolverine by Barry Hostun Lopez (Key Porter Books, 1997), An Old Shell :Poems of the Galápagos by Tony Johnston (Farrar, Straus & Giroux , 1999), and Trickster and the Fainting Birds by Howard Norman (Harcourt Brace, 1999). He illustrated and wrote Coyote Goes Walking (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1995) and Having a Wonderful Time (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999).

In recent years he illustrated The Tomb of the Boy King by John Frank (Francis Foster Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux , 2001), The Boy Who Ran to the Woods by Jim Harrison (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2001), 2003 -- illustrated The Wishing Bone and Other Poems by Stephen Mitchell (Candlewick Press, 2003), and The Little Gentleman by Philippa Pearce (Greenwillow Books, 2004)

Over the years he has worked with various publishers such as North Point Press (eventually absorbed into Farrar, Straus & Giroux); Farrar, Straus & Giroux; Ecco Press; Harcourt Brace; Atlantic Monthly Press; Candlewick Press; and Greenwillow Books. Some of the authors and poets he has worked with are Barry Lopez, Howard Norman, Jim Henen, Tony Johnston, Jim Harrison, John Frank, Stephen Mitchell, and Philippa Pearce.

Tom Pohrt and his family make their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection spans the years 1980-2004, and is comprised of published books, correspondence between Pohrt and authors and publishers, manuscripts, and artwork. The published books have been removed from the collection and catalogued separately. It is divided into 4 main series; Correspondence , Manuscripts , Ephemera and Artwork . The collection was divided into these four series to facilitate the addition of materials to the collection. The repository also holds a box of facsimiles of items in the collection used in an exhibit at the Ann Arbor District Library Exhibit in Fall, 2003.

The Correspondence series is arranged into subseries according to the correspondent or organization (usually publishing houses) in alphabetical order. Under each correspondent the materials are further divided into folders by date span and arranged chronologically. Under the publishing houses, materials are divided under subheadings according to project (book title) and arranged chronologically.

The Manuscript series contains manuscript material by Jim Harrison, Barry Lopez, and Tom Pohrt, and is arranged alphabetically by creator and book title.

The Ephemera series consists of calendars with illustrations by Pohrt, exhibit catalogs, flyers and brochures announcing events and public appearances, and other printed ephemera.

The Artwork series contains unbound preliminary drawings, paintings and sketches created by Pohrt to illustrate some of his most well-known books. The pieces of art are of various sizes and in a variety of media (e.g., pencil, watercolor, pen and ink). Many are stored in linen-covered cardboard portfolios, while others are tipped into handmade booklets and scrapbooks.

Subject Terms
    Subjects:
    • Tutankhamen, King of Egypt -- Tomb -- Juvenile fiction.
    • Artists -- United States -- Michigan
    • Authors and publishers -- United States
    • Illustration of books -- United States
    • Illustrators -- United States
    • Illustrated books -- United States
    • Nature -- Juvenile fiction
    • Indians of North America -- Folklore
    • Folk poetry -- Translations into English
    • Lapland -- Juvenile fiction
    • Winter -- Juvenile fiction
    • Children’s poetry, American
    • Nebraska -- Blizzard, 1888 -- Poetry
    • Animals -- Juvenile fiction
    • Wolverines -- Juvenile fiction
    • Travel -- Juvenile fiction
    • Self-acceptance -- Juvenile fiction
    Contributors:
    • Harrison, Jim, 1937-
    • Lopez, Barry Holstun, 1945-
    Genre Terms:
    • Correspondence
    • Illustrations
    • Manuscripts
    • Preliminary sketches (sketches)
    • Detail studies
    • Watercolors (paintings)
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
     
    Correspondence [series]:

    The Correspondence series is arranged into subseries according to the correspondent or organization (usually publishing houses) in alphabetical order. Under each correspondent the materials are further divided into folders by date span and arranged chronologically. Under the publishing houses, materials are divided under subheadings according to project (book title) and arranged chronologically.

     
    Edwards, Barbara
    Box   1  
    Nov  1974
     
    Freddi, Cris
    Box   1  
    Oct -- Dec  1981
     
    Lopez, Barry
    Box   1  
    Jan  1980 --  July 1981
    Box   1  
    Sep  1981 --  May 1983
    Box   1  
    Jul  1983 -- Nov1983
    Box   1  
    Jan  1984 -- Oct  1988
    Box   1  
    Jan  1989 --  May 1990
    Box   1  
    Sep  1990 --  May 1991
    Box   1  
    Jul  1991 -- Dec  1991
    Box   1  
    Jan  1992 -- Dec  1992
    Box   1  
    Apr  1993 -- Nov  1994
    Box   1  
    Feb  1995 -- Feb  1999
     
    Small, David
    Box   1  
    Mar 22,  1999
     
    Snyder, Gary
    Box   1  
    Nov  1975 -- Jun  1978 and  undated
     
    Aesop Prize Committee
    Box   1  
    Nov 15,  1999
     
    Atlantic Monthly Press
     
    The Boy Who Ran to the Woods
    Box   1  
    Mar  1994 -- Apr  2001 and  undated
     
    Candlewick Press
     
    The Wishing Bone and Other Poems
    Box   1  
     May 2001 -- Jan  2004
     
    Children’s Theatre Company
    Box   1  
    Nov  1993 -- Dec  1993
     
    ECCO Press
     
    A Child’s Anthology of Poetry
    Box   1  
    Feb 4,  1994
     
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux
     
    Miko
    Box   1  
    Feb  1989 -- Dec  1989
     
    Coyote Goes Walking
    Box   1  
    Aug 6,  1990 --  May 1995
    Box   1  
    Jul  1995 -- Nov  1996
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Jan 10,  1992
     
    Having a Wonderful Time
    Box   1  
    Feb  1995 -- Dec  1998
    Box   1  
    Jan  1999 -- Sep  2000
     
    Caesar’s Antlers
    Box   1  
    Oct 18,  1996
     
    Lessons from the Wolverine
    Box   1  
    Jan 16,  1997
     
    An Old Shell
    Box   1  
    Feb  1998 -- Mar  2000
     
    The Tomb of the Boy King
    Box   1  
    Jul  1998 -- Apr  2001
     
    My Brother Bert
    Box   1  
    Mar  2002 -- Mar  2004 and  undated
     
    Grand Valley State University
    Box   1  
     August 31, 1999
     
    Greenwillow Books
     
    The Little Gentleman
    Box   1  
    Dec  2003 -- Nov  2004
     
    Harcourt Brace
     
    Trickster and the Fainting Birds
    Box   1  
     May 1996 -- Jan  2000
     
    HarperCollins
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Feb  1991 -- Apr  1993
     
    The Little Gentleman
    Box   1  
    Jan 21,  2004
     
    North Point Press
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Oct  1988 -- Feb  1990
    Box   1  
     May 1990 -- Oct  1992
     
    Random Century
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Sept 4,  1991
     
    Sierra Club
     
    Lessons from the Wolverine
    Box   1  
    Apr 2,  1996
     
    Simon and Schuster
     
    1001 Nights
    Box   1  
    Oct 22,  2001 (unpublished)
     
    Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
    Box   1  
    Nov  2002 -- Feb  2003
     
    Society of Illustrators Exhibition,  1998
    Box   1  
    Jan  1998
     
    Sterling Lord Literistic
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
     July 10, 1991 -- Oct 31,  1994
     
    Sundance Children’s Theatre
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Mar  1991 -- Nov  1991
     
    University of Georgia Press
     
    Lessons from the Wolverine
    Box   1  
    Dec  1996 -- Feb  1997
     
    Manuscripts [series]:

    The Manuscript series contains manuscript material by Jim Harrison, Barry Lopez, and Tom Pohrt, and is arranged alphabetically by creator and book title.

     
    Harrison, Jim
     
    The Boy Who Ran to the Woods
    Box   1  
    Typescript, incomplete
     
    A Conversation with Jim Harrison
    Box   1  
    Typescript transcription of interview, conducted by Marc J. Sheehan
     
    In Vera Cruz in 1941
    Box   1  
    Typescript, photocopied
     
    The Old Days
    Box   1  
    Typescript, photocopied
     
    Versions of Childhood
    Box   1  
    Typescript
     
    Lopez, Barry
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   1  
    Notes About
    Box   1  
    Photographs
     
    Pohrt, Tom
     
    Having a Wonderful Time
    Box   1  
    Typescripts, annotated
     
    Soft Boiled Egg With Short Story
    Box   1  
    Typescripts, annotated and illustrated
     
    Awards [series]:

    This series contains a small selection of the awards won by Pohrt.

    Box   1  
    Aesop Prize, for Trickster and the Fainting Birds,  1999
    Box   1  
    Parents’ Choice Award for Illustrations, for Crow and Weasel,  1990
    Box   1  
    Parents’ Choice Silver Honor for Picture Book, for Having a Wonderful Time,  1999
     
    Ephemera [series]:

    This series consists of calendars with illustrations by Pohrt, exhibit catalogs, flyers and brochures announcing events and public appearances, and other printed ephemera.

     
    Calendars
    Box   1  
    Bear: Circumpolar Traditions Among Northern Peoples, Bear Claw Press,  1977 (see Box 8)
    Box   1  
    Totem Animal Calendar, Bear Claw Press,  1976 (2 copies)
     
    Exhibit catalogs
    Box   1  
    Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, Michigan, Dec 3,  1995 -- Feb 25,  1996 (2 copies)
    Box   1  
    Georgia Museum of Art, Sept 1-30,  2002
    Box   1  
    Readings, receptions, and other events (flyers and pamphlets)
     
    Artwork [series]:

    The Artwork series contains unbound preliminary drawings, paintings and sketches created by Pohrt to illustrate some of his most well-known books. The pieces of art are of various sizes and in a variety of media (e.g., pencil, watercolor, pen and ink). Many are stored in linen-covered cardboard portfolios, while others are tipped into handmade booklets and scrapbooks.

     
    The Boy Who Ran to the Woods
    Box   2  
    33 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor and pencil
     
    The Blizzard Voices
    Box   2  
    12 pen and ink illustrations
     
    The Little Gentleman
    Box   3  
    29 drawings and sketches, in pen and ink and pencil, tipped into handmade booklet
    Box   3  
    31 sketches and finished artwork on 19 sheets of paper
     
    My Brother Bert
    Box   4  
    87 drawings and sketches, in pen and ink and pencil, tipped into handmade booklet
    Box   4  
    21 drawings and sketches in pen and ink and pencil
     
    Soft Boiled Egg with Short Story, Having a Wonderful Time, and illustrations for the Wall Street Journal
    Box   4  
    37 drawings and sketches in 2 booklets, in pen and ink and pencil, tipped into handmade booklet
     
    Who Met the Ice Lynx
    Box   4  
    1 drawing in pen and ink
     
    Trickster and the Fainting Birds
    Box   5  
    74 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor, pencil, and colored pencil
     
    The Wishing Bone and Other Poems
    Box   6  
    57 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor, and pencil
    Box   6  
    43 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor and pencil
    Box   6  
    Printed first page proofs
     
    Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
    Box   7  
    74 drawings and sketches in 2 paperbound volumes; pen and ink and pencil
    Box   7  
    40 drawings and sketches; pen and ink
     
    Tomb of the Boy King
    Box   7  
    43 final versions of illustrations and cover art, including small unused designs, on 28 sheets, in pen, ink, and watercolor
    Box   7  
    62 drawings and sketches in pen and ink, watercolor, pencil, and colored pencil, tipped into handmade book
     
    The Boy Who Ran to the Woods
    Box   8  
    11 final versions of illustrations; pen and ink, water color and tempera
     
    A Child’s Anthology of Poetry
    Box   8  
    12 sketches; pen and ink
     
    An Old Shell
    Box   8  
    33 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, and a few final versions
     
    Soft Boiled Egg With Short Story
    Box   8  
    23 drawings and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor
     
    Trickster and the Fainting Birds
    Box   8  
    12 final versions of illustrations; pen and ink, watercolor and tempera
     
    The Wishing Bone and Other Poems
    Box   8  
    58 sketches and drawings; pen and ink, water color
    Box   8  
    28 final versions of illustrations; pen and ink, water color, tempera (in 2 enclosures)
     
    Coyote Goes Walking
    Box   9  
    85 sketches; pen and ink, watercolor, and pencil
    Box   9  
    2 final versions; pen and ink, watercolor and tempera?
    Box   9  
    Final version of title page illustration in pencil and watercolor
     
    Lessons from the Wolverine
    Box   9  
    9 sketches; pen and ink, watercolor and pencil
    Box   9  
    2 final versions; pen and ink, watercolor and tempera
     
    Miko
    Box   9  
    1 final version, pen and ink
     
    Caesar’s Antlers
    Box   9  
    1 final version of cover art; pen and ink; watercolor
     
    Red Heels (unpublished)
    Box   9  
    31 drawings; pen and ink, watercolor and tempera, pencil?
     
    Crow and Weasel
    Box   10  
    92 drawings, studies, and sketches; pen and ink, watercolor, and pencil
    Box   10  
    2 final versions of illustrations; pen and ink and watercolor
     
    Having a Wonderful Time
    Box   11  
    72 drawings and sketches, in pen and ink, watercolor, pencil, and colored pencil, tipped into handmade book
    Box   11  
    56 drawings and sketches in pen and ink and watercolor
    Box   11  
    Printed first page proofs
    Box   11  
    Printed and trimmed final page proofs