Guide to the Clare Leighton Papers, 1940-1968


Clare Ellaline Hope Leighton was an English printmaker who immigrated to the United States in 1939. The Clare Leighton Papers date from the mid-twentieth century and include woodblocks, preparatory prints and drawings, engravings, and correspondence related to Leighton's artistic practice.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Clare Leighton papers
Leighton, Clare, 1898-1989
5.8 Linear Feet, 594 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

The Clare Leighton Papers document Leighton's artistic production, and particularly her illustrations for the book Southern Harvest, published by the Macmillan Company in 1942, and The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, a seven-volume series published by Duke University Press from 1952-1964.

Materials in the collection include printer's proofs, preparatory sketches and prints, sketches, engravings, and a limited amount of correspondence related to the publication of Southern Harvest and to the acquisition of the Clare Leighton Papers.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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How to Cite

[Identification of item], Clare Leighton Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Woodblocks, 1940-1968

1 box

The Woodblocks series contains a number of Leighton's blocks used for her wood engravings.

Wood Engraving Blocks

Corn Husking, Baptizing, Fishing in Creek, Tobacco Barons, Sorghum, Coon Hunt, All Day Singing, Quilting Party, Herb Gatherers, Washing Clothes, Cockfight, Weeding Tobacco Bed, Dante Bookplate, Still, Wreck (block broken), Village Lovers, Windblown Tree, Cotton Picking, Centenarian, Chopping Cotton, Cotton Pickers, Spring House, Catfish, Cypress Swamp, and Mountain Girl

Box 1

2. Preparatory Materials, 1940-1968

2 boxes

This series contains preparatory sketches and various sizes of prints. Some of these materials were used in the preparation of Leighton's book, Summer Harvest, and for her illustrations in the volumes of The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore and Henry David Thoreau.

Bird Designs, Mural Polaroids (2), Assorted Small Prints, Bookplate Exhibition Materials (1967)
Box 2
Preparatory Prints and Drawings for North Carolina Folklore
Box 2
Preparatory Prints and Drawings for Southern Harvest
Box 2
Printer's Proofs for Southern Harvest
Box 2
Untitled Field Scene (Slide, Photo, and Negative) and Studies for Corn Shucking and Southern Harvest (1942)
Box 3
A House Near Durham (Print and Accompanying Text)
Box 3
Preparatory Prints, Drawing, and Proofs for illustrations of editions of Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Cape Cod, and The Maine Woods
Box 3
In the Time of Man engravings
Box 5
North Carolina Folklore by Frank C. Brown engravings
Box 5
New England Industries engravings
Box 5
Southern Harvest engravings
Box 6

4. Correspondence, 1940-1968

1 folder

The Correspondence series includes limited documentation of Leighton's publication of Summer Harvest, as well as some materials related to the acquisition of the Clare Leighton Papers and art objects by the Rubenstein Library.

Leighton Correspondence and Acquisition Documentation
Box 2

5. Other Works

1 box

This series contains materials relating to Clare Leighton's other artistic works.

Photographs of East Duke Building mural
Box 4

Historical Note

Clare Leighton was born in England in 1898. She studied at Brighton College of Art and the Central and Slade Schools in London. Leighton is best known for her books of stories and illustrations of agrarian subjects and the American South. The artist was a member of Duke University's Department of Art, Aesthetics, and Music from 1943 to 1945 and was awarded several prizes for her artistic achievements.

For more information, see Hickman, Caroline. "Clare Leighton and the American South." Duke Library Magazine Vol. 17, No. 3 (Spring/Summer 2004).

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Clare Leighton Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift.

Processing Information

Processed by Elisabeth Narkin, February 2013

Encoded by Elisabeth Narkin, Meghan Lyon, February 2013

Updated to include unnumbered accession, Alice Poffinberger, January 2016

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: UA 1993-0116, 2013-0008

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.