Monday, April 26, 2010


IN 1955, THE SAME YEAR SHE PUBLISHED THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, Patricia Highsmith began a nearly four year affair with Doris Sanders, an advertising copywriter at the McCann-Erickson Agency in New York City. The most tangible remainder of that relationship is Highsmith's only children's book, Miranda the Panda is on the Veranda (1958).

Sanders had been living with another of Highsmith's love interests when they met. Once their affair took off, they moved into a converted barn in Sneden's Landing (now Palisades), New York, where they composed Miranda.

The book consists of simple nonsense rhymes with crude literal line drawings. "Golf sox on a musk ox." "A habit on a rabbit (A funny on a bunny)." "A chandelier on a little deer."

The rhymes were written by Sanders, the illustrations drawn by Highsmith.

"An adder on a ladder." "An armadillo on a pillow." "A monk and a skunk and some junk on an elephant's trunk."

Highsmith was a womanizer, and domestic stability only made her feel stifled and smothered. In the end, she cheated on Sanders, which ended their relationship. The two went on an extended European tour as friends the next year, but were never lovers again.

I have tried, without success, to track down a copy of Miranda with a dust jacket, less for the cover image, which is the same as the first page of the book seen above, but for the flap copy. If you have access to a copy and would be willing to scan it for me, I would be happy to attach it to this post as an amendment.

For a limited time, I have posted a complete scan of Miranda the Panda is on the Veranda as a Flickr set here.

Background on Highsmith and Sanders's relationship came from the much lauded recent biography by Joan Schenkar, The Talented Miss Highsmith.


  1. Thank you so much for posting this! By the way, a Highsmith collectible that can be found on the cheap, sometimes, is Women's World, from July 1935; a letter from camp that Highsmith sent her mother ended up as her first published piece of work, entitled "Girl Campers." It's not getting a lot of recognition as a Highsmith collectible, or wasn't when I got my copy, for about $10. Cover here:

  2. Greetings,
    I have a copy of Miranda with the dust cover. the book is in very good condition, cover is a little tattered but pretty good with some tape here and there. If you are interested, I am going to be selling it and I would be glad to give you first option to purchase it. I can send you photos if you would like. My email is My name is Joy Ortiz, I live in Kalispell, Montana.
    I hope you have a wonderful day and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you also for all the information you have written about Sanders and Highsmith...very interesting!

  3. What a little treasure! Her rhyming verses and drawings are delightful!