Geographic Connection to Pennsylvania: Philadelphia, Philadelphia County
Children's book writer and Caldecott award winner, Lathrop attended the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts.
Awards: Caldecott Medal
Children’s author and illustrator Dorothy P. Lathrop was born in 1891 in Albany, New York. She received professional artistic training at Philadelphia’s Academy of Fine Arts and went on to win the Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible (1937). She died in 1980.
Dorothy P. Lathrop was born in Albany, New York, on April 16, 1891. Her father, Cyrus Lathrop, was a businessman who thought that a career as an artist and writer was precarious and insisted that Lathrop learn to teach art. Lathrop’s mother, I. Pulis Lathrop, was a professional painter and encouraged Lathrop and her sister Gertrude to draw the natural beauty they saw. Lathrop enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia University, where she studied Arthur W. Dow for three years. She then spent a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and a short period of time at the Art Students League. After getting her own education, she taught at Albany High School for two years. She decided to quit teaching and began illustrating books. Her first illustration venture was not financially profitable because the publisher went bankrupt before he paid her. Later, she began illustrating for Walter de la Mare and illustrated for him for a decade. After this, she began to write books as well as illustrate them.
The Fairy Circus (1931) was Lathrop’s first attempt at her own written and illustrated book. After this book, her fairy drawings diminished, and she began to focus on what she drew best: animals. The animal books she wrote were focused on animals she brought into her home. The first of these animals appeared in The Little White Goat (1933). Not only did Lathrop focus on live animals, but she also focused on inanimate animals as well. Her book The Lost Merry-Go-Round (1934) was dedicated to her father and revolved around a merry-go-round. Lathrop illustrated Animals of the Bible (1937) and was able to choose what animals were drawn. The book was favored by adults, and Lathrop named the book her own personal favorite. It is her illustrations for Hide and Go Seek (1938), however, that are deemed the best she ever drew. She also illustrated The Little Mermaid (1939), by Hans Christian Andersen. Although Lathrop was not successful as a writer, she proved to be very influential as an illustrator.
Lathrop was the first recipient of the Caldecott Medal for her drawing in Animals of the Bible. She illustrated over thirty books throughout the course of her lifetime. She wrote and self-illustrated thirteen books, as well.
Lathrop died December 30, 1980, in Falls Village, Connecticut.
The Fairy Circus. New York: Macmillan, 1931.
The Little White Goat. New York: Macmillan, 1933.
The Lost Merry-Go-Round. New York: Macmillan, 1934.
The Snail Who Ran. F.A. Stokes, 1934.
Who Goes There? New York: Macmillan, 1935.
Bouncing Betsy. New York: Macmillan, 1936.
Animals of the Bible. New York: HarperCollins, 1937.
Hide and Go Seek. New York: Macmillan, 1938.
Presents for Lupe. New York: Macmillan, 1940.
The Colt from Moon Mountain. New York: Macmillan, 1941.
Puppies for Keeps. New York: Macmillan, 1943.
The Skittle-Skattle Monkey. New York: Macmillan, 1945.
Let Them Live. New York: Macmillan, 1951.
Puffy and the Seven-Leaf Clover. New York: Macmillan, 1954.
The Littlest Mouse. New York: Macmillan, 1955.
Follow the Brook. New York: Macmillan, 1960.
The Dog in the Tapestry Garden. New York: Macmillan, 1962.
“Dorothy P. Lathrop.” The Gale Literary Database: Contemporary Authors Online. 6 Dec. 2000. 29 Mar. 2001. <http://www.galenet.com>.