Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection

Rhoda Kellogg

Digital Reedition: Dieter Maurer, Claudia Riboni, Birute Gujer
Technique and Design: Christian d'Heureuse, Jürgen Ragaller
Image Editing: Karin Wälchli


In 1967, Rhoda Kellogg published an archive of c. 8000 drawings of children ages 24-40 months. (See Kellogg, R.: Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection. Washington, DC., Microcard Editions, Inc., 1967; now available at LexisNexis, Reed Elsevier, Inc..) Up to now, as far as we know, no other archive of early graphic expressions was ever published, including a large sample of pictures and presented according to a classification system. Thus, the archive has a historical status.

Rhoda Kellogg was a psychologist and a nursery school educator. Here investigations focused on the art of young children, that is, on early graphic expressions. From 1948 to 1966, she collected approximately one million drawings of young children of ages two to eight. More than half a million of these drawings are filed in the «Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection of the Golden Gate Kindergarten Association» in San Francisco, U.S.A.. Of these half-million and more drawings, some 8000 are available, in microfiche form (see above). Some 250 paintings and drawings, selected as outstanding examples of children’s work, are reproduced in full color. (See Kellogg, R. and O’Dell, S.: The Psychology of Children’s Art. Del Mar, California, 1967.)

Kellogg describes the very first development of children’s drawings as a sequence of basic shapes or forms and their configurations: starting from twenty «basic scribbles», which can be observed at the age of two, children develop placement patterns, emergent diagram shapes, diagrams, combines, aggregates, mandalas, suns, radials, before humans and early pictorialism appear. Kellogg understands this sequence as a manifestation of «Gestalts», according to the Gestalt theory.

Kellogg is one of the rare authors who emphasizes the role of formal design, which emerges before pictorialism and then plays a role in relation to pictorialism or is developed as a distinct type of pictures.

Kellogg is also one of the rare authors who presents an extensive classification system related to early graphic expressions, combined with an attempt to give empirical evidence for the picture attributes of the system and their role in the development of drawing and painting.

For more details, please look at "Introduction to the Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection" (PDF, 52KB).

For a digital reproduction of the handbook, download "Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection - Handbook" (PDF, 42MB).

Please Note

This reedition is a part of our research on early graphic expressions (often assigned as "scribblings"). For our homepage, please look at For our publication of early pictures of European children, see (electronic book and picture archive, in German). For an overview, see the two articles "Early Pictures in Ontogeny" and "Picture Genesis and Picture Concept".

Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection – The Archive – The Reproduction

As mentioned above, the archive includes some 8000 drawings and paintings of children ages 24-40 months. (Indication according to Kellogg, R.: Analyzing Childrens Art. Mountain View, California, 1969, p. 294.) The main purpose of the archive is to illustrate the classification system Kellogg has developed. Thus, in the archive, most of the cards address a single picture attribute, a single category and illustrate it by a selection of drawings and paintings. In addition, some cards explain and illustrate specific topics of early graphic expressions not covered by the categories of the classification system.

Several reasons have led us to digitally reproduce the archive and to make it accessible over the Internet: today, only very few libraries possess the archive; the use of the microfiches is very laborious, and a digital version is more appropriate to search and view pictures and picture series according to their classification; because of the historical status of the archive, it should be reedited to guarantee its future access. But most importantly, early graphic expression as a subject matter must be revisited. Existing theories as well as existing empirical evidences are far from being satisfying and robust, and the early development of pictures should be given strong attention within recent attempts at a picture theory.

In general, each of the 255 microfiche cards includes 29 drawings plus an identifying label (1 pages). When reproducing the archive, first, the entire card was digitized, and second, all 30 single pages the card contains were extracted (with the exception of a few cases). Thus, the digital archive consists of 7900 reproductions.

All cards and single pictures were classified according to the identifying label. In addition, written indications on the pictures were edited, if they could be identified. Thus, for each of the pictures, the microfiche card it belongs to, its position on the card, the category (picture attribute) according to the classification system and the information written on the paper are given.

For details of the archive structure as well as for the first steps to use the archive, please refer to the Assistant in the Help menu. For search specific indications, please refer to How to Search in the Help menu.


The Golden Gate Kindergarten Association (San Francisco U.S.A.) kindly permitted this digital version of the Rhoda Kellogg Child Art Collection and its free access over the Internet.

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1967 The Golden Gate Kindergarten Association, San Francisco U.S.A