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Elizabeth Cleaver fonds. - 1968-1985. - 20 m of graphic material and other material.

Biographical Sketch


Collage titled Tyra Slept for Many Hours from The Enchanted Cariboo, 1985.

Artist, illustrator, storyteller, Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1939. She studied at Concordia University, the College of Sarospatak, Hungary, and L'École des Beaux-arts, Montreal. Her M.A. thesis, written in 1980 for Concordia University, explores the literary, symbolic and visual content in the illustration of a text. She worked for a Toronto advertising firm before turning to picture-book illustration in 1966-1967 at the suggestion of the renowned graphic artist, Allan Fleming. Shortly after, William Toye invited her to illustrate a book of Canadian poetry for children. The ensuing publication of The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada (1968), launched Elizabeth Cleaver into the world of book illustration. Her illustrated tales, retold by William Toye and others, include: How Summer Came to Canada, The Mountain Goats of Temlahem, Canadian Wonder Tales, The Witch of the North, The Loon's Necklace, The Fire Stealer, Petrouchka, The New Wind Has Wings and The Enchanted Cariboo. Cleaver introduced the use of collage technique to create backgrounds and forms using coloured textures, and sometimes included natural materials such as grass, birchbark, evergreen branches and fur.

Elizabeth Cleaver's many awards include the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians' (CACL) Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal for outstanding illustration for The Wind has Wings: Poems from Canada and honour book citations for How Summer Came to Canada and The Mountain Goats of Temlaham, all in 1971; Best Book of the Year for Children Medal from the Canadian Association of Children's Librarians in 1974 for The Miraculous Hind: A Hungarian Legend; and the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Medal for The Loon's Necklace in 1978 and the Canada Council Children's Literature Prize for illustration in English for Petrouchka in 1980. In 1986, the Canadian Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) established the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Picture-Book Award.

Scope and Content

The Elizabeth Cleaver fonds includes original illustrations for 11 published books, from The Wind Has Wings: Poems from Canada (1968), to her posthumously published, The Enchanted Caribou (1985). The fonds includes the preliminary materials such as scribbles, sketches, drawings, research materials, readings and thoughts. The colour proofs, additional collage materials and lino-cuts are often included.

Immediate Source of Acquisition: acquired from the estate of Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver in 1985. [1985-12]

Language: material in the fonds is in English.

Restrictions: none.

Finding Aid: finding aid available.

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