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Su Zan Noguchi Swain papers

Identifier: MSS 6852

Scope and Contents

Contains original illustrations by Su Zan Noguchi Swain for eight different publications, as well as copies of five of those publications: "The Story of Spiders," "The Story of Ants," "Natural Partnerships: The Story of Symbiosis," "Plants of Woodland and Wayside," and "All Kinds of Bees." These illustrations are from 1958 to 1969 and are made using a variety of methods, such as pen drawing, charcoal drawing, and watercolor and gouache painting. This collection also includes a typed autobiography of Su Zan from 1978.


  • 1958-1978


Conditions Governing Access

Open for public research.

Conditions Governing Use

It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to use material from this collection must be obtained from Reference Services at

Biographical History

Su Zan Noguchi Swain Firmage was born March 8, 1916, Iliff, Colorado to Minosuke and Tomi Noguchi. Her parents were immigrants to the United States from Japan. Su Zan received her B.S. in fine arts with a minor in biology from the University of Colorado in 1938. She married Ralph Brownlee Swain, an entomologist, and illustrated several books and guides they worked on together. They had two sons together. Ralph was an entomologist who worked in Nicaragua. SuZan and her children were present when Mr. Swain was murdered by bandits on the Pan American Highway in Mexico in 1953. Subsequently, Su Zan supported herself by writing and illustrating books on the natural world, illustrating more that twenty and designing charts and models for classrooms. She married William K. Firmage in 1968, and joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in 1974. Su Zan died in 2010 in Hillsborough, Florida.


1 box (0.5 linear ft.)

1 oversize item (4.25 linear ft.)

3 oversize folders (0.8 linear ft.)

5 oversize boxes (4 linear ft.)

Language of Materials



Arranged in eight series by chronologically by title of publication: 1. Plants of woodland and wayside, 1958. 2. Living insects of the world, 1959. 3. The story of spiders, 1959. 4. The story of ants, 1964. 5. The new field book of freshwater life, 1966. 6. Story of rocks, 1966. 7. All kinds of bees, 1967. 8. Natural partnerships : the story of symbiosis, 1969.

One additional item is included at the end of the series listing.

Custodial History

Donated by Suzan N.S. Firmage from 1980 to 1994.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated; Suzan N.S. Firmage; 1980, 1982, 1986, 1989, 1994.


LDS, Utah, and Western American women (20th century Western & Mormon Manuscripts collection development policy, 5.V, 2007).

Related Materials

See also The New Field Book of Freshwater Life (QH 96.K56).

See also the Su Zan Noguchi Swain papers (DG0960; McCain Libraries and Archives; University of Southern Mississippi).

Processing Information

Processed; Elizabeth Ballif; 2009.

Processing Information

Processed; Geoff McLaughlin; July 2010.

Processing Information

Processed; Ivy Griffiths; 2022 August. Rehoused and older accessions integrated.

  • Publisher's galley proofs of artwork
Register of Su Zan Noguchi Swain papers
Elizabeth Ballif, student processor, and John Murphy, curator
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English in Latin script.

Repository Details

Part of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Repository

1130 HBLL
Brigham Young University
Provo Utah 84602 United States