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Helen Borten A Creative and Illustrative Genius.

July 5, 2012

Helen Borten was born in Philadephia, PA in 1930. She produced the main body of her well loved Children’s picture book illustrations in the 1960’s, working alongside writers like Franklyn M Branley and Augusta Goldin to create scientifically interesting books for children. These concentrated on themes such as Nature, the Weather and tried to answer the questions that children often ask.

She attended the Philadephia Museum College of Art for four years.

There’s a beautiful collaboration between woodcut, collage, paint, printing techniques and wonderful colour, that for me makes her work so rich and visually desirable.

She has worked as  free lance artist and illustrator of books, record album covers, and greeting cards. Her books have won several awards.

In 1988 Helen changed careers and worked in the field of Radio where she wrote and produced 44 national radio documentaries.

The New York Times devoted a major article to Borten and her work when the premiere season, distributed by NPR, made its debut (First Arts Page, August 18, 1997). “If ‘think radio’ has a future on a dial clogged with music and conventional news-talk programs,” the Times says, “it is because of innovators like Ms. Borten. She has a keen ear…is gifted with a mellifluous voice…and an ability to ask a seemingly simple question that draws memorable responses from her subjects.” Station Manager Ruth Seymour says, “We love Helen Borten’s work. She brings passion, imagination, and emotional resonance to a vivid portrait of American life.”  (Taken from an article on

Helen has also worked as a Lecturer/ Instructor at Philadelphia College of Arts. It appears her creative talents are endless.

With thanks to Stickers And Stuff, Black Eiffel, Fineza and Studiosmith for helping out with the visuals on this post. More about vintage books in the weeks to come.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2012 1:39 am

    What a great talent & interesting person, love Helen’s work! I also love your blog! I came across it looking at Olle Eksell images (can’t even recall why exactly) and there’s so much to catch up on here. You’ve posted about so many wonderful artists, and many I know little to nothing about. Look forward to more. Thanks 🙂

    • July 6, 2012 7:58 am

      Hey there Allyn. Looks like you’re quite a busy and talented girl yourself ! Great to hear from you and so pleased that you’re enjoying the artists and blog too. Please tell your friends and have a happy day in sunny Brooklyn.

  2. September 25, 2013 2:11 pm

    You’ve got me hooked on Helen Borten!! What a visual feast. Are her books hard to find?? I will start by looking at the library…I can’t wait!

    • September 25, 2013 3:21 pm

      Hi there, she’s great isn’t she. You won’t find her books in the library sadly as most were published in the USA in the sixties and seventies and didn’t appear to get reprinted with the same illustrations. You can often find them on amazon, etsy, ebay etc. Happy hunting. Thanks for letting me know you found this inspiring. if you put her name into the search window on my site you’ll find more images and posts I’ve written. More about Helen to come…watch this space lol

      • September 25, 2013 7:58 pm

        I’m so glad you are doing this, as she deserves to be remembered, revered and honoured!! I wonder if she realizes how beloved she is? I hope so! I look forward to more Borten on your blog.

  3. May 17, 2022 9:07 pm

    I was in Riverside park painting and my grandson was with me writing in a journal. Helen stopped by and spent some time talking to him about writing, encouraging him to keep it up. Just wanted to let her know that it meant the world to him. It was a big boost.


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