The Prints and Drawings collection in the Local History Center Archives and Special Collections includes various works on paper such as drawings, sketches and maps from various sub collections in the Archives such as the Peter Spier Illustrations Collection and the Archives permanent art collection. The quality and breadth of the collection were established by gifts and bequests from local artists and community members.
Among the strengths of the LHC collection are original drawings, reproductions, sketches and maquettes by renowned illustrator Peter Spier which focus on his earlier works, as well as large holdings of etchings by the late Aida Whedon, local artist and printmaker and co-founder of the Graphic Eye Gallery in Port Washington. Because works on paper are sensitive to light, selections from the collection are displayed in the galleries on a rotating basis. Prints, drawings, and manuscripts not on view are available by appointment in the department’s research room.
Highlights from the Collection
Aida studied at the Art Students League, New School for Social Research, and with several private teachers, including world renowned American regionalist painter Thomas Hart Benton. Her works are in the collection of IBM, RCA, the New York Port Authority, the University of Maine, Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts, as well as many banks and churches. She has had one-woman shows in many East Coast cities and all around Long Island.
Born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1927, Spier studied art at the prestigious Rijksakademie. In 1950, he immigrated with his family to the United States, working as a commercial artist for advertising agencies, but later shifted his focus on writing and illustrating children’s books. Spier’s medium and artistic style employed the use of pen, ink and watercolor on paper. An early technique popular throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and characteristic of other children’s illustrators such as Beatrix Potter and Arthur Rackman. Spier has illustrated almost 100 children’s and has been honored with numerous awards in the field including the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1977 for Noah’s Ark and was added to the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award list in 1978. Spier was also awarded a National Book Award, the Christopher Award in 1980 for People and was a finalist for the 1981 National Book Award for children’s nonfiction.
For more information you can access the following collection guides:
Guide to the Peter Spier Illustrations Collection