not just for kids: the art of fern bisel peat

The zoo has long since lost its childhood magic for me. The work of Fern Bisel Peat, however, continues to captivate. She lived from 1893 to 1971 and while her illustrations appeared in books, magazines and paper doll collections and on tin toys and puzzles throughout the ’30s and ’40s, I can find little of her work after that. My favorite is still the first one I saw, “Cinderella,” published in 1943, which was my Mom’s growing up. The stepsisters look rotten enough to make your molars ache and Cinderella has lost none of her charm. You can find Cinderella, and other great examples of her work, at One I’ve just discovered is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Tanglewood Tales, a retelling of the Greek myths for children, which show a different side of Peat’s work. Thankfully, it seems I’m not alone in thinking her work has lost nothing over time. Single-page folios from books, original watercolors, and this new puzzle can also be found on Esty and eBay. — Sarah L.

From our partners
M.C. Waldrep

Can you tell me where you found biographical information on Fern Bisel Peat? I have included some of her artwork in a book we are publishing on women illustrator’s but cannot find much info on her.

Thank you!
M.C. Waldrep


M.C., that is one book I would buy! Most of her work that I’ve seen was printed in Ohio. She also did illustrations for Ohio Art toy company. There is a book on Amazon (Ohio Art: The World of Toys) that her daughter posted a comment on. You might try her. Fern Bisel Peat is also referenced on the Smithsonian’s site ( Maybe try the historical society or library in the county in which Ohio Art is locate4d? I wish I could be of more help! For as prolific as she was, I can’t find much of her — beyond the art — and what I did find was just the result of stumbling around the web.


Hello all,

I stumbled across this blog while seplaceing for more info on Fern Bisel Peat. I can’t seam to find much on her aside from some tid bits here and there on the net. Here is my dilemma, I came across two plates that appear to be printing plates for early childs books and her name is etched into the metal plates. I am reseplaceing these and have found out that the writer, (I think) was Eugene Field and that she must have created the illustrations. But I don’t know how rare they are, their value, if they are collectible, etc. Can anyone help me to find more information on these items? I think they are printing plates or etching plates. (Not sure of the correct terminology.)

Any help would me greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Best Regards,


Sarah L.


What a find! There is an online listing for a collector’s club
Postal: Peggy Welch Mershon
20 S. Linden Road, Apt 112
Mansfield, OH 44906
E-Mail: [email protected]

but have no idea if it is active or not.

There were several original watercolors by FBP on ebay a few months ago that went for quite a bit. Not sure what the value of the plates would be. Maybe there is an antique mall near you that you can take them to? They might know of appraisers or be able to point you in the right direction.

I know the nursery rhymes book that Field and Peat are listed for goes for quite a bit.

Sorry I’m not much help but glad her work is appreciated by others.


Peggy Mershon

I heard my name mentioned ;>! I reseplaceed, wrote, edited and published the Fern Bisel Peat Newsletter from 1999 to 2005. All 27 issues in PDF format are available on CD. I will be happy to send you details if you email me at [email protected].

Vicky Brinkley

I have a FBP watercolor of a bird. IT is in a frame. Does anyone know how much it might be worth?

Richard Tuten

I have been trying to find out info on some books my grandmother left me, I have cinderella, Hansal and Gretel, and The Picture and Ryhme book. My problem is the Cinderella book has all the same art as the ones ive found online, exept my covor is totally different; have not found a matching book yet. The covor i keep finding has cinderella and her godmother, mine comes with just cinderella holding a pumpkin. Is there anyone who has more knowledge on this that could help me please.


Vickey Brinkley
I also have watercolors of birds by this painter…did you find out any information on yours?
thank you