Wanda Hazel Gág (March 11, 1893–June 27, 1946) was an American author and illustrator. She was born on March 11, 1893, in New Ulm, Minnesota. Her mother (Elisabeth Biebl) and father (Anton) were of Bohemian descent. Both parents were artists who had met in Germany. They had seven children, who all acquired some level of artistic talent. Wanda grew up the eldest of these, and despite their economic hardships the family was surrounded by music, art, light, and love, making it for the most part a joyous existence.
When Gág was fifteen her father died of tuberculosis. She did not fall to depression, but became more determined than ever to make a good living from being an artist. Surely this is at least partially due to her father's final words to her: "Was der Papa nicht thun kont, muss die Wanda halt fertig machen," meaning, "What papa has left undone, Wanda must complete." Following her father's death, the Gág family was on welfare, and many people suggested that Wanda get a steady job. However, she remained in school and practiced her artistry while caring for her six younger siblings. She remained in the house until age twenty, wanting to be certain that the family could carry on on its own.
In 1917 she illustrated A Child’s Book of Folk-Lore, following which she worked on many different projects, and became a well-known artist/author. Her art exhibition in the New York Public Library in 1923 was the true beginning of her fame. She gained a reputation as an illustrator for socialist publications such as The New Masses, and she considered hersef a feminist and advocate of free love in the 1920s; she did not marry her lover until later in life, for instance, although she lived with him before they were wed. She was especially esteemed for her lithographs, though today if her name is known at all it is usually from her children's books, specifically the classic Millions of Cats, which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958. Gág also received the Newbery Honor Award for this book, and the combined effects of it and her exhibition had given her the funds she needed to carry on her work without stress.
She died in New York City on June 27, 1946.