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History of the Collection

The Reality of One Woman's Dream

by Dee Jones

When Lena de Grummond came to the University of Southern Mississippi to teach children's literature in the School of Library Science in 1966, she envisioned resources that went beyond the classroom textbook. If students could study the creative processes of authors and illustrators by examining the manuscripts and illustrations first hand, she knew they would better appreciate the literature. To accomplish this goal, de Grummond wrote to her favorite creators of children's books and solicited contributions of original manuscripts and typescripts, illustrations, sketchbooks, galleys, dummies, publisher correspondence, and fan mail--any materials related to the publication of a children's book.

Her first response came from the Haders, Bertha and Elmer Hader, the husband and wife author-illustrator team, who sent manuscript materials, dummies and illustrations for Ding, Dong, Bell (1957). These contributions from the Haders were soon followed by others from Lois Lenski, Elizabeth Coatsworth, Roger Duvoisin. Today the Collection houses works by more than 1200 authors and illustrators. These original materials are supplemented by a book collection of more than 100,000 volumes of historical and contemporary children's literature dating from 1530. These include fables,fairy tales, folklore, alphabet books, nursery rhymes, textbooks, religious books, moral tales, fantasy, fiction, primers, and children's magazines. Complementing these holdings are scholarly studies, biographies, bibliographies, and critical works.

For more information see "The Reality of One Woman's Dream: The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection" by Dee Jones in Dictionary of Literary Biography Yearbook 1999, pp. 301-305.