Garth Williams

2017 The Original Art Lifetime Achievement Award: Garth Williams

Garth Williams (1912–1998) was the creator of signature art for iconic children’s books. The evidence of his talent was apparent in the very first title he illustrated: Stuart Little by E. B. White (HarperCollins). As the New Yorker reported, “Stuart was both mouselike and dapper, anthropomorphized in a way that expressed the dignity and absurdity of the human condition and the animal condition alike.” The book was so successful that Garth Williams and E. B. White collaborated on a second title, Charlotte’s Web (also HarperCollins). Both books remain beloved classics, read and reread by generations of children.

In the course of his career, Garth Williams created pictures for nearly one hundred titles and worked with many world-renowned authors. Beginning in 1947, he illustrated Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie and its sequels (HarperCollins), and in the 1960s, he illustrated George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square and its sequels (Farrar Straus Giroux). He created the character and pictures for the first book in the Frances series by Russell Hoban (HarperCollins) and the first books in the Miss Bianca series by Margery Sharp (Little, Brown). He collaborated with Margaret Wise Brown on her Little Golden Books titles Home for a Bunny and The Sailor Dog among others and with Jack Prelutsky on two poetry collections published by Greenwillow: Ride a Purple Pelican and Beneath a Blue Umbrella. He also wrote and illustrated seven books on his own, including Baby Farm Animals (Little Golden Books) and The Rabbits’ Wedding (HarperCollins).