" If you should point a finger at us and mention the first thing that comes into your mind, elephants or sailboats or Ethiopians, and say 'Maud and Miska Petersham make a picture book of this.' I am sure we would be keen to start - for there is a picture story in everything . I think we would have been good Indians drawing stories on the sides of tepees or Egyptians painting everything they saw or did on the walls of their buildings.

With each new book of our Story Book series, we begin by collecting as huge pile of books. Stocked up in front of us in the science and technical rooms of a Library where every one appreas so serious and solemn, we are always a little afraid we may be put out if it is discovered we are really loking only for pictures. But that is what we do, for in order to tell our picture stories we must hunt for contemporary pictures to help us. Often these pictures are very amusing and crude. Sometimes they are very beautiful - like the ancient Assyrian carvings. We may use queer pictures from old histories, old engravings, pictures woven in tapestries or carved in stone.

We make a dummy of the book, putting in it rough sketches. It is great fun bvecause we don't have to care how many wheels there are on an engine or just where the tusks come out of an elephant.

So far I am sure you could make a story book too. But now comes the long pull, making and finishing up the pictures. We must be careful to have them correct to the smallest detail as well as to tell the story. By the time the book is finished our patience and enthusiasm are almost gone. But just give us a few days and then mention a new subject and we are ready to plunge in again." (from the jacket of Iron and Steel.)

The Petersham papers at the University of Southern Mississippi (de Grummond Collection)