Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Pyle, W. mss. 1925–2016, consist of letters, original animation drawings, and works of art relating to Willis Pyle's career as an animator and artist. Willis Pyle (b. September 4, 1914–d. June 2, 2016) made his first contact with the Walt Disney Studios while still a student at the University of Colorado. He soon moved to Hollywood, trained in animation, and worked on such classic Disney features as Fantasia, Bambi, and Pinocchio. During World War II, Pyle worked on animated films for the armed services. After joining the newly–formed production company UPA, he played an important role in the development of popular cartoon characters of the early fifties, such as Mr. Magoo and was a principal animator in the Academy Award winning Gerald McBoing–Boing. He has been for many years an honored member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City. He continued to paint and exhibit in Manhattan up to his death at the age of 101.

The collection includes correspondence, photographs, artwork, personal items, scrapbook materials, and miscellaneous materials. Correspondents include: Ruth and Ray Boggs; Howard Brokaw; Maude Campbell; Wilmer B. Eames; Oliver Johnston; Lew Kettler; Virgil, Helen, and Paula Partch; Ben Pyle; Denver Pyle; Lorraine Pyle; Willis Pyle; Society of Illustrators; Frank Thomas. Some of the animation drawings were done for a particular project while others were done post–production. The collection also contains printed items illustrated by Pyle, as well as materials related to his time at the Disney Studios.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2004-2005, 2008; 2012-2016.

Collection size: 1,000 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.