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Skin white as snow, hair black as ebony

The evil queen, disguised as an old woman, offers Snow white an apple in Walter Crane's illustration from Household stories from the collection of the brothers Grimm (New York, 1896).Snow White's been busy lately. This year alone she’s starring in two movies while also appearing in a television series.

First published by Jacob and Wilhem Grimm as part of their Children’s and Household Tales (Kinder-und Hausmӓrchen), the brief story introduces all the familiar faces: Snow White, her evil stepmother, the huntsman, and the dwarves.  The elements and characters have been adapted in many ways over the years, from films and books to ballets and opera.  Many of the narratives stick close toSnow White- deputy mayor that original tale, while others take a bit of creative license.

In Special Collections we see Snow White in very recognizable tales.  A copy of Grimm’s Household Stories from 1896 and Grimm’s Fairy Tales from 1962 both contain the story as recorded by the Grimm brothers. The illustrations present a young girl with dark hair.

The comic series Fables catches up with Snow White in the present. The action takes place well after the adventures found in the Grimm's tale, with Snow White serving as deputy mayor for a community of relocated fairy tale characters.  She is joined by other familiar faces, including Cinderella and the wolf who appears in many tales.


Click on any of the images below to see a few illustrations from some of the many works featuring these characters in our collection. You'll find both the well known versions of their stories and some with creative twists.

Lucille Corcos, illustrator of Grimm's Fairy Tales (New York, 1962) captures the moment when the dwarves find Snow White in their house.

The Big Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood from Arthur Rackham's illustration in Hansel and Grethel (London, 1920).

The wolf appears in the comic The Gingerbread Man, originally drawn in 1943 by Walt Kelley and republished in Little Lit (New York, 2000).

Now known as Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf is the sheriff in Bill Willingham's Fables (New York, 2002).

Snow White marries Bigby Wolf in Bill Willingham's Fables (New York, 2006).

Cinderella learns the batik method of dying fabric from her fairy godmother to make her own ballgown. Illustrator Jessie M. King had just learned the process herself, and wrote How Cinderella was able to go to the ball (London, 1924) to introduce others to “the wonderland of batik.”

Cinderella owns a show store but also works undercover as a spy in Bill Willingham's Fables (New York, 2002).