Bonnie Erickson papers Edit


Finding Aid Author
Julia Novakovic
Finding Aid Date
24 January 2018
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


  • 1971 – 2017 (Creation)
  • 1978 – 1999 (Creation)


  • 10.15 Linear Feet (Whole)
  • 27 Megabytes (Whole)

Agent Links



  • Abstract

    The Bonnie Erickson papers are a compilation of design concepts, illustrations, style guides, product tear sheets, catalog pages, notes, publicity, and other information relating to licensed products and original concepts created by Erickson. The bulk of the materials are dated between 1978 and 1999.

  • Language

    The majority of materials in this collection are in English, with some examples of Spanish and French.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    This collection is open for research use by staff of The Strong and by users of its library and archives. Though the donor has not transferred intellectual property rights (including, but not limited to any copyright, trademark, and associated rights therein) to The Strong, she has given permission for The Strong to make copies in all media for museum, educational, and research purposes.

  • Custodial History

    The Bonnie Erickson papers were donated to The Strong in 2016-2017 as a gift from Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, in memory of Christopher. The papers were received by The Strong in six accession lots, including Object IDs 116.3344 (June 2016), 116.6525 (November 2016), 117.3038 (April 2017), 117.5333 (July 2017), 117.9495 (October 2017), and 117.10918 (December 2017). These materials were received from Bonnie Erickson, along with trade catalogs for the library and prototypes and production versions of toys for museum collections.

  • Preferred citation for publication

    Bonnie Erickson papers, Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at The Strong

  • Processed by

    Julia Novakovic in November 2016; revised January 2018

  • Revision Note

    This finding aid has been updated from its original iteration to reflect additional accessions received from Erickson in 2016 and 2017.

  • Biographical Note

    Bonnie Erickson is an American artist, inventor, and designer. She is best known for creating the iconic Muppet characters Miss Piggy, Statler, and Waldorf, as well as professional sports league mascots Phillie Phanatic (MLB’s Philadelphia Phillies) and Youppi! (currently with the NHL’s Montréal Canadiens), among others.

    In 1970, Erickson joined Jim Henson’s Muppet workshop as a costume designer. Within a few years, she had already designed and built several new Muppet characters, including Miss Piggy. Erickson and her husband Wayde Harrison established their own production, design, and marketing company in 1977 called Harrison/Erickson, Inc. Together, Harrison and Erickson created characters for commercials, theater, and sports mascots. Erickson continued to consult on projects for the Jim Henson Company and Children’s Television Workshop (later, Sesame Workshop). She also developed toy and other product design concepts for licensed brands, such as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

    Two years after the passing of Jim Henson, his widow Jane and several of Jim’s colleagues (Arthur Novell, Albert Gottesman, and Richard Wedemeyer) formed The Jim Henson Legacy. This organization dedicated itself to preserving and perpetuating Henson’s contributions to the worlds of puppetry, television, motion pictures, special effects, and media technology. Erickson joined the foundation as a trustee, and later, president; she also served as the executive director of the organization from 2010-2014.

  • Collection Scope and Content Note

    The Bonnie Erickson papers contain materials from 1971 through 2017, with the bulk of the papers dated between 1978 and 1999. This collection holds design concepts and illustrations for licensed products (including goods featuring Sesame Street, Jim Henson’s Muppets, and Disney characters), prototype sketches, style guides, product tear sheets, catalog pages, publicity, notes, and other materials.

    The Bonnie Erickson papers have been arranged into six series, one of which has been further divided into subseries. The physical materials are housed in 14 archival document boxes. Digital-only files can be accessed via the internal network of The Strong.

  • Related Materials

    The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play houses more than a dozen trade catalogs from Erickson relating to the products depicted in her archival collection. The Strong also received fabric, plaster, and resin prototypes for both Erickson-designed and licensed products, including plush toys, toy figurines, and housewares.

  • System of Arrangement

    Series I: Design concepts and illustrations, 1976-2017

    Subseries A: Sesame Street
    Subseries B: The Muppet Show
    Subseries C: Disney
    Subseries D:Where the Wild Things Are
    Subseries E: Mascots
    Subseries F: Other product lines

    Series II: Style guides, 1971-2000

    Series III: Product tear sheets and catalog pages, 1985-2000

    Series IV: Publicity, 1992-2005

    Series V: Jim Henson-related, 1993-1998

    Harrison/Erickson historical information, 1978-c. 1990s

External Documents


  • Type
    Container 1 Type
    Container 1 Indicator
    Container 1 Barcode
    _Bonnie Erickson papers_