The Ward M. Canaday Center

for Special Collections

The University of Toledo

Finding Aid

Steven Pecsenye Collection, 1942-1983



Size: 2.2 Linear Feet

Provenance: Hungarian sketches received from Steven Pecsenye in January and February, 1992.  World War II sketches and correspondence received from LaDonna Pecsenye November 1998.


Access: Open


Related Collections:  MSS-086 Joseph Bistayi Hungarian Sound Recordings

                                    MSS-111 Hungarian Sound Recordings

Copyright: The literary rights to this collection are assumed to rest with the person(s) responsible for the production of the particular items within the collection, or with their heirs or assigns.  Researchers bear full legal responsibility for the acquisition to publish from any part of said collection per Title 17, United States Code.  The Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections may reserve the right to intervene as intermediary at its own discretion.


Completed by: Kerri Hagan and Judith M. Friebert, February, 1996.  Addition completed by Benjamin Grillot, November 1998.



Biographical Sketch


Steven Pecsenye (d. 1995) was a second-generation Hungarian who was born and lived in Toledo, Ohio. He attended Macomber High School, studied at the Toledo Museum of Art and also in Salzburg, Austria.


Upon his graduation from High School, he entered the Army and served from 1945 to 1947 as a scout in the 7th Infantry.  This allowed him to travel extensively throughout Italy, France and Germany.  During this time he wrote his parents, niece, and girlfriend (future wife) almost every day, often including descriptive drawings of local sights and people. 


He worked at Jeep briefly but spent much of his career assembling anesthetic equipment for McKesson Appliances.  After the McKesson family left Toledo, he worked in the shipyards until the early 1970's when he was diagnosed with cancer.


Through the influence of his mother and father, Pescenye became interested in his Hungarian ancestry and the town of his parents’ birth, Fels? Méra, Abaúj Megye (county). For over sixty years, he pictured Hungarian folk life as related to him by his family as well as through extensive research. He also found interesting the comparison between life in

Toledo with the life in Hungary and drew scenes of his native city as well.


 He created the Hungarian Coloring Book in order to preserve Hungarian traditions for future generations. His work has been exhibited extensively in Ohio and in Europe.


Pecsenye is survived by his wife, LeDonna Pecsenye, his sons, Steven and Timothy, and his grandchildren, Magda and Steven.


Scope and Content Note

The Steven Pecsenye Collection is divided into four series.  The first series, Sketches, consists of several hundred drawings dating from 1943-1983, the majority of which depict the people, customs, wildlife, and sights of Hungary but also include several sketches made by Pecsenye during World War II. 

The second series, Scrapbooks, is made up of four Scrapbooks dated 1942-1945 compiled by Pecsenye and his relatives during his period of service in the Second World War.   These scrapbooks contain photographs, sketches, V-Mail, photostats of V-mail, postcards and memorabilia.

The third series, Correspondence, is comprised of various pieces of correspondence dating primarily from 1943-1944 but also includes a letter from 1974.

 Wartime Publications, the title of the fourth series, is made up of various published items dated 1944-1945, collected by Steven while in Europe during World War II.  These items include newsclippings, books, and books of cartoons by Bill Maudlin.

Series List




1943-1983, .7 linear feet


Arranged according to subject matter


Consists of over 300 original drawings, the majority of which depict the people, customs, wildlife, and sights of Hungary. Additional works represent other European countries, particularly France and Germany. There are also a few scenes of the city of Toledo ca. early 1900s. A number of the drawings are preparations for his Hungarian Coloring Book that was published. (Two copies of this publication are included.) Also included are numerous images of Hungarian scenes that the artist created to be made into postcards. Some samples of the postcards and other photographic reproductions of the scenes are contained in the collection as well as designs for a “Churchmouse Cookbook.”


Also included in this first series are sketches Steven Pecsenye did of the members of his unit as well as sketches of people and places that he encountered in Europe during World War II.  Most of the works are in pen and ink and marker; some are pencil drawings; and a few were created in other media such as pastel and chalk.






1942-1945, .6 linear feet


Contains four scrapbooks completed while Pecsenye was in the Army.  The first scrapbook (1943-1944) contains postcards, photos and newsclippings from this period, sent by Pecsenye to his family in Toledo.  The second scrapbook, (1943-1945) consists of Photostats of V-Mail sent by Steve to his family.  The third scrapbook (1942-1944) mostly consists of postcards collected by Steven on the front depicting natural rural scenes of the mountains.  The fourth scrapbook (1943-1944), consists of V-Mail, Photostats of V-Mail, Sketches, newsclippings, photos, and postcards sent by Steven to his family.






1944-1944, n.d., and 1974, .1 linear feet


Arranged Chronologically


Consists of V-Mail, Photostats of V-Mail, letters and a telegram dating primarily from his period of service in World War II, with the sole exception of a letter dating from 1974.




Wartime Publications


1944-1945, .1 linear feet


Arranged Chronologically


Is made up of various newspapers and books put out by the U.S. Government during the war.  These include such publications as "The Front Line" and "Road to Rome" as well as two books of cartoons by Bill Mauldin.




(Note: Boxes 1 and 2, as well as Portfolios 1 and 2 are located in the Oversize area.)




Folder Title






S1. Sketches



  Hungarian Sketches



       Miscellaneous sketches/writing (31)



       Photocopies and reproductions of marker/pen and ink drawings



       Exhibition Labels



       Hungarian Coloring Book (2 Copies)



       Hungarian Coloring Book sketches (30; missing #11, 13, 23)



       Churchmouse Cookbook sketches (22)



       Postcard sketches and Postcards(33)


[8] [9]

        Slides of art work (2 boxes, 66 slides)






       Sketches: people (86)









       Sketches:  Hungarian birds (20),  Hungarian fish (19),



                      Hungarian flowers (11), places (48).



       Sketches:  People (17), Place (1), Fish (2), Birds (2), Flowers (1),



                      Hungarian Coloring Book (1; oversize).



       Shield Design (1; oversize)









 Wartime Sketches



       Wartime sketches, 1943-1944






S2. Scrapbooks



      First Scrapbook, 1943-1944



       Second Scrapbook, 1943-1945



       Third Scrapbook, 1942-1944



       Fourth Scrapbook, 1943-1944






S3. Correspondence



       Various Correspondence, 1943-1944, n.d., and 1974






S4. Wartime Publications



       Various Publications, 1944-1945





Last Updated: 6/27/22