George Him, illustrator, graphic and exhibition designer : papers

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 73 AAD/1997/19
  • Dates of Creation
      1919 - 1986
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
      English German Russian
  • Physical Description
      ca. 1000 files

Scope and Content

Journal written in Russian (1919); artwork (ca. 1930s - ca. 1982); posters (ca. 1930s - ca. 1982); personal papers including correspondence, notes and press cuttings (1935 - 1982); papers relating to illustrations for children's books including artwork, dummy books, negatives, rough sketches and tracings for publications including Don Quixote (complete set), Giant Alexander, King Wilbur and Zuleika Dobson (ca. 1937 - ca. 1980); publications containing George Him's illustrations (ca. 1937 - ca. 1982); artwork, prints and proofs for advertisements including Formica, Osram, Schweppes, Technicolour (ca. 1940s - ca. 1970s); personal negatives, photographs and slides (ca. 1950 - ca. 1981); papers relating to El Al Isreal Airlines including plans and photographs for El Al offices (ca. 1952 - 1978); publications containing articles relating to George Him (1952 - 1986); accounts (1956 - 1971); artwork and tracings for television illustrations (ca. 1960s - 1970s); diaries (1968 - 1982); papers relating to Jerusalem (1973); material relating to exhibitions of George Him's work (1976 - 1986); designs for posters and stickers for Children's Book Week (1977); administrative files (ca. 1974 - 1981); typography designs (ca. 1980); letters of condolence to Shirley Him and George Him obituaries (1982); designs for puzzles and toys (undated); packaging (undated); sketchbook (undated).

Administrative / Biographical History

George Him (1900 - 1982) was born in Lodz, Poland on 4 August 1900. From 1918 to 1924 he studied religious history at the universities of Lodz, Warsaw, Berlin and Bonn, receiving a PhD from the University of Bonn for his thesis on the comparative history of religions. He then went on to study graphic design at the Akademie für Graphische Kunst und Buchgewerbe in Leipzig from 1924 until 1928. From 1928 to 1933 he worked as a freelance designer in Germany. In 1933 he went into partnership with Jan LeWitt, establishing the design practice LeWitt-Him. In 1936 the Victoria and Albert Museum wrote to the LeWitt-Him partnership requesting samples of their work and suggesting that there would be a market for their work in London. On the Museum's suggestion and supported by the Museum, which completed government immigration forms, Him and LeWitt moved their partnership to London in 1937. In 1954 the partnership was disbanded and Him set up in practice as a freelance designer working from his home in Greville Road, London. He was married to Shirley Elizabeth Rhodes (d.1997).

George Him's graphic design commissions included work for the Ministry of Information, the Post Office and Schweppes. He also diversified from graphic design, becoming a very successful children's book illustrator, exhibition, packaging and typography designer. From 1952 to 1972 he was a design consultant for El Al Israel Airlines where he worked closely with many artists, designers and architects on various design projects including designing the interiors of their offices as well as of marketing material. Exhibition work included: chief designer, the Israel Pavilion at Expo '67, Montreal; the Masada Exhibition in London, 1966; and the Festival Clock for the Festival of Britain, 1951. His illustrations for children's books included the series of Giant Alexander and King Wilbur books. From 1969 to 1976 he was a senior lecturer in graphic design at Leicester Polytechnic. Him also designed many posters for advertisements promoting companies such as Schweppes. He became a Fellow of the Society of Industrial Artists, the Society of Typographical Designers, the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce. He was also a member of the Graphique Internationale, Paris. He died in London on 4 April 1982.

Access Information

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Access to some of the material may be restricted. These restrictions are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by the estate of George Him, 1997.

Cataloguing supported by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of The David Berg Foundation, New York.

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