This study seeks to name Don Freeman an important American artist whose decades of artwork can function as a lens into the social, political, and cultural climates in which he worked. It also seeks to develop scholarship on Don Freeman’s life and work. Despite the worldwide popularity of his children’s book Corduroy, little scholarship exists on Don Freeman himself. This study explores five decades of Freeman’s art and places it in historical context. It follows his transition from a Great Depression-era artist to a postwar children’s book author and illustrator. Central to this study are Don Freeman’s Depression-era sketches, including his self-published semi-annual magazine, his World War II illustrated book, and his 1950s and 1960s children’s books. With close analysis and historical context, all of Freeman’s work reveals a social conscience and a celebration of common folk. Freeman’s upbeat, lighthearted artistic vision is important in context of the trying times in which he created art.


Roche, Jeff




Cultural History | United States History

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2018 Ellie R. DePastino