Clare Turlay Newberry (1903-1970) was born in Enterprise, Oregon and became a prolific author and illustrator of children’s books focused primarily on cats. She began drawing at the age two, and even though she did not complete any formal studies in art, Clare Turlay Newberry rose to be a very successful author and illustrator. Her first book, Herbert the Lion was reviewed by the New York Times as “refreshingly imaginative” and “full of high spirited nonsense.” Her next book, Mittens, became a bestseller. Throughout her career she published a total of 18 books, most of which, were about cats. Perhaps she can be termed the first published cat lady.
Her drawings are done in watercolor and or pastel and ink and
capture the true nature of cats and kittens in a playful manner. The New Yorker wrote, “Mrs. Newberry is the paragon of cat portraitists.” In 1970, she died in San Diego, California. Her daughter, Felicia Trujillo has continued to publish her books and has even written a biography which includes a compilation of stories and anecdotes about her mother’s life in The Cat Artist: The Story of Clare Turlay Newberry. In addition, she has a website www.newberrycats.com which features her mother’s books and illustrations.
Look below the photos for a list of her cat related publications:
List of Clare Turlay Newberry’s Cat Books:
HERBERT THE LION, (1931) – “Must not be overlooked by any collector of children’s books, old or young.” New York Herald Tribune
MITTENS, (1936) – “The very best cat pictures that have ever been made.” New York Times
BABETTE, (1937) – About a Siamese kitten. “The appealing qualities of her breed have been portrayed with the best possible results in this lovely picture book.” New York Times
APRIL’S KITTENS, (1940) – “Even better than Mittens, this picture-book is a prize.” New York Herald Tribune
DRAWING A CAT, (1940) – Ms. Newberry explains her methods and illustrates her sketches in infinite variety which discloses to the reader the secret of her success in capturing the very spirit and nature of her subject, and the variety of its poses.
MARSHMALLOW, (1942) “A delightful combination of beauty, understanding of children and animals, and droll humor…No one with a love for animals or an eye for drawings will be able to resist Mrs. Newberry’s fascinating pictures…All her books are delightful, but the drawings in Marshmallow are the finest and strongest she has done.” New York Times
CATS, A PORTFOLIO, (1943) – 16 drawings of cats suitable for framing.
PANDORA, (1944) – Pandora is the special feline companion of a little yellow-haired boy named Peter, who fears the worst one morning when Pandora cannot be found. Pandora is a Persian cat, the first in Mrs. Newberry’s long and deservedly popular succession of cats. She is the subject of the artist’s twelve beautiful pastel drawings and many pen and ink sketches
THE KITTENS’ ABC, (1946 and 1965) – An alphabet book celebrating the special appeal of kittens and cats.
SMUDGE, (1948) – Mama and Papa cats, Muff and Buster, have just added three new kittens to their family–a red one, a multicolored one, and a brave black one named Smudge.
T-BONE, THE BABY-SITTER, (1950) – All’s well with the cat as a babysitter until one morning the cat wakes up feeling wild, pouncy and full of mischief.
PERCY, POLLY AND PETE, (1952) – “Good for reading aloud and showing to the youngest and for their elders of all ages.” Library Journal (Note, Ms. Newberry dedicated this book to her daughter, Felicia Noelle Trujillo, who calls herself “Sasha”)
ICE CREAM FOR TWO, (1953) – A story of a young boy (based on Ms. Newberry’s son, Stephen) who really wants a pet. He eventually does get a Siamese kitten named Pounce!
WIDGET, (1958) – a small kitten and what happens when she gets out of her box.