Katherine Evans

 I recently found a 1961 printing of The True Book of Time, written by Feenie Ziner and Elizabeth Thompson, illustrated by Katherine Evans. I’ve been unable to find out anything online about Katherine other than a brief bio at the Washington Island Art and Nature Center:

Katherine Floyd Evans, born in Sedalia, MO in 1899, was multi-talented, fearless yet ladylike, whimsical, and a keenly intelligent artist who came to the Island with her family for the summers in the early 1900s.

She studied in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in the Art Colony in Provincetown, and at the Chicago Art Institute.

She was always an artist . . . drawing, painting, sculpting . . . but when her husband died she made a living for herself and her two children as a children’s book writer and illustrator. Traveling the world for up close and personal views of Mexicans, Ethiopians, Parisians, West Africans, and others, she illustrated more than 75 books for children and used many of those experiences to inspire her paintings and her life.

Katherine Evans is probably best known for her illustrations for The Littlest Angel, a book I had as a small child. I remember not liking the story but loving the pictures. Here are a few from The True Book of Time:

The True Book of Time, illustrated by Katherine Evans

The True Book of Time, illustrated by Katherine Evans

"How do you know what time it is?"

noonLibraryThing.com seems to have a complete list of books illustrated by Katherine Evans, most of which are out of print.

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2 comments
  1. They are delightful. It’s sad that her work is out of print. The publishing industry is caught up in fads. I suspect children would rather like these older style drawings because they are different. I get so tired of seeing the same kind of stuff over and over.

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  2. Helen Evans Lecker said:

    I truly appreciate your comments on my Grandmother, Katherine Floyd Evans, She was a phenomenal lady; the things she did, the places she went and the things she experienced on her travels. She was a slight woman, about 5’5″ and 110 lbs soaking wet; she traveled the world for extensive periods of time – she stayed as a guest in someones home in the small villages of Mexico, Ethiopia, West Africa and many other countries. What makes her travels even more remarkable – she did it all alone, with everything she would need (including art supplies) packed into one steamer trunk…it weighed more than she did! She was wonderfully eccentric in that artsy sort of way, she had a quick wit and a dry sense of humor. She told us so many stories and tall tails that the line between reality and fiction became blurred.One of my most vivid memories of Granny was when she was sitting of the cement stoop, at the back of the cottage in the shade, while my brother and I would dart after butterflies, dragonflies and basically anything else that flies, in the 95 degree sun & humidity (Washington Island, WI, is nothing if it is not humid). Then we would bring our beautiful prizes back to her so we could mount them on artboard with dried grasses and put them in a frame under glass for an incredible picture! The most memorable part of all this…was the way she told us to euthanize the little creatures; all you had to do was “squish their tiny heads a little bit” – too much and you would damage them. I have many of her books, including the “Littlest Angel”, paintings, sketchings she did while she traveled, and her shadow boxes. I also have in my possession an original, but never published, mother goose type rhymes book that Granny wrote and illustrated while she was pregnant with my Aunt Rosemary in 1926. I have been giving some serious consideration to trying to get this book published, my father, David F. Evans thinks it would be a wonderful idea. He will not live long enough to ever see it happen; he’s in hospice now and it’s just a matter of time until he joins the rest of his family and leaves me to carry on Granny’s legacy and hopefully my two boys will be able to continue after I’m gone as they are her only great-grandchildren. Any idea how you might go about getting her book published?

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