Scope and arrangement
The bulk of the John Lewis Steptoe Papers date from 1964-1991. A file on the genealogy of the Steptoe family contains copies of documents dating from the 1930s and 40s, with one document dated 1877. The papers consist of Steptoe's personal papers, personal and professional correspondence, examples of his writings and illustrations, reviews of his work, clippings and programs regarding his seminars and lectures, and material from various organizations to which he belonged.
The John Steptoe Papers are arranged in four series:
The PERSONAL PAPERSseries (.5 lin. ft.) contains four folders of personal correspondence, and a folder entitled “Family” which includes correspondence among immediate family members, and letters and brochures concerning Steptoe's children's education. There are journal/diary entries, book reports done by Steptoe when he was in grade school, and notes and correspondence written and received while Steptoe was at the MacDowell Colony in 1973. This series also contains Steptoe's résumé and biographical essays about him, and a folder of genealogical research comprised of photocopies of documents tracing the Steptoe family in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Lastly, there are obituaries and appreciations.
The PROFESSIONAL PAPERSseries (1.2 lin. ft.) contains professional correspondence which is arranged alphabetically. There are separate folders of correspondence for Ann Armistead White, a long-time friend and Richard Gaugert. Gaugert was the Events Coordinator for the Saint Louis Art Museum, and an independent promoter of films and picture books for children, who was a friend, fan, and promoter of Steptoe's work. Fanmail is divided between adults and children, and is arranged chronologically. The series also contains requests from Steptoe's fans, and inquiries from artists seeking advice or asking him to illustrate their books. Press releases, nominations, honors and awards, speech and presentation notes, and material from courses Steptoe taught, are also part of this series, as well as a folder of writings by other authors which Steptoe saved.
WRITINGS AND ILLUSTRATIONScollection (1.4 lin. ft.) is the largest series, and contains manuscripts, rough drafts, outlines, galleys and editors' proofs of several of Steptoe's books. Oversize items from this series are housed in box #7. There are galleys and/or illustrations from Marcia, Inside Outside Poems, Train Ride, Daddy Is A Monster... Sometimes, Uptown, My Special Best Words,and Baby Says.Published reviews of Steptoe's books and illustrations are part of this series, and in box #9, there is a book of reviews and drawings entitled “IMPRESSIONS OF STEVIE,” which were created by children from District 16 (located in Brooklyn, New York), in 1970. Also included are poems, published artwork (non-book illustrations), and miscellaneous and unpublished writings, and an undated, reflective piece of writing entitled “Literary Retrospect of John Steptoe.”
Steptoe belonged to several ORGANIZATIONS(.1 lin. ft.); the collection includes pamphlets, brochures and newsletters from a variety of them. Many of the folders contain letters inviting him to join their group and it is unclear whether or not he did.