Dorothy Kunhardt (1901–1979) was one of the most dynamic forces in American children's literature, publishing more than forty books in three decades, best-known among them the bestselling book Pat the Bunny, published in 1940. Kunhardt dictated her first story to her father at the age of three, and went on to become an inventive author, illustrator, and creator of children’s books. She took her first stab at writing and illustrating with an outlandish devil-may-care picture book titled Junket Is Nice, which featured a little boy who imagined he had more sense than all the other people in the world combined. Published in 1933, Junket received rave reviews, gave Depression-era families the perfect excuse to share a good laugh, and was an immediate bestseller. Dozens more books followed that were notable for their originality in concept, format, and design, among them Pat the Bunny, The Telephone Book (1942), and Tiny Animal Stories (1948). All bore the mark of their author’s unfettered imagination and seemingly boundless zest for living. Today, Pat the Bunny is still in print and has sold nearly ten million copies.

Housed as part of the Kunhardt family collection, the Dorothy Kunhardt archive includes manuscripts, book mock-ups, photographs, correspondence, drawings, and first edition books. Also included is a selection of research materials and papers pertaining to Kunhardt’s second consequential career, as an Abraham Lincoln scholar and steward of the Meserve Collection of Lincoln photographs and artifacts begun by her father.

Researchers are welcome to visit the Dorothy Kunhardt archive by appointment. Please email info@mkfound.org for more information.

Children's books by Dorothy Kunhardt:

Junket Is Nice
Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933

Now Open the Box
Harcourt Brace, and Company, 1934

Lucky Mrs. Ticklefeather
Harcourt and Brace, 1935

Brave Mr. Buckingham
Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1935

Little Ones
The Viking Press, 1935

Wise Old Aard-vark
Viking Press, 1936

David’s Birthday Party
Rand McNally & Company, 1940

Pat the Bunny
Simon and Schuster, 1940

The Telephone Book
Simon and Schuster, 1942

More Please
Simon and Schuster, 1946

Once There Was a Little Boy
The Viking Press, 1946

Tiny Animal Stories
Simon & Schuster, 1948

Tiny Nonsense Stories
Simon & Schuster, 1949

Billy the Barber
Harper & Brothers, 1961

Gas Station Gus
Harper & Brothers, 1962

Dr. Dick
Harper & Row, 1962

Tickle the Pig
Golden Press, 1965