Children’s book illustrator Margaret Bloy Graham, widely known for her depictions of Harry the Dirty Dog in a series of books by her former husband Gene Zion, died January 22 in Cambridge, Mass. She was 94.
Graham was born in 1920 in Toronto, and grew up there pursuing her interest in art from an early age. She started her first training at Toronto’s Art Gallery at age 10. Upon receiving her B.A. in art history from the University of Toronto in 1942, Graham moved to New York City to start her career. In her early working days she was employed by Conde Nast and also did freelance projects as a designer and illustrator. In 1948, she married fellow Conde Nast designer Harry Zion. Not long after they began collaborating on children’s book projects and saw their first title, All Falling Down (Harper), published in 1951. They produced 13 books as a team, including the Harry the Dirty Dog adventures and their title All Falling Down (Harper), which won a Caldecott Honor in 1952. The following year, Graham’s illustrations for Charlotte Zolotow’s text in The Storm Book (Harper) received a Caldecott Honor.
Graham and Zion’s marriage ended in 1966 and Graham relocated to Cambridge, where she continued her illustration works. creating solo projects that included 1968’s Be Nice to Spiders (Harper) and a trio of titles in the early 1970s starring Benjy the dog, as well as pairing with author and friend Else Holmelund Minarik for two books in the late 1980s, What If? and It’s Spring (both Greenwillow).
A memorial service is being planned for the spring.