Virginia Lee Burton

Virginia Lee Burton (1909-1968), known as “Jinnee” to her family and friends is one of the most significant illustrators of the 20th century. Her classic book, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel was ranked as one of the Teachers’ top 100 Books for Children by the National Education Association and has been a perennial favorite since its publication in 1938. She won the 1943 Caldecott Medal for The Little House and a 1948 Caldecott Honor for The Song of Robin Hood. Born in 1909 in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, she spent much of her life in Folly Cove, an artist’s community in Gloucester Massachusetts with her husband George Demetrios, an accomplished sculptor. Her passion and talent for brilliant design led to the creation of the Folly Cove Designers, a group of local folk that garnered international attention for their designs and have been the subject of numerous museum exhibits.



R. Michelson Galleries is proud to present the first major offering of Ms. Burton’s work since her death over 50 years ago.  Nearly all of her book illustrations were donated to public collections in her lifetime.  These works come directly from the Estate of Virginia Lee Burton.


Virginia Lee Burton’s art can be found in numerous public collections across the country.  The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA has an extensive collection including works by the Folly Cove Designers

A Sense of Place

DVD 56 minutes


by Christine Lundberg, Published by Red Dory Productions © 2007

This award winning PBS film explores children’s book author and illustrator Virginia Lee Burton’s life and art through a treasure-trove of archival materials, never-before seen photographs, personal documents, sketchbooks, original manuscripts and interviews with family and friends.