A De Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection
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A De Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection

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A lush introduction to the most extraordinary children’s literature archive in the world

During the 1960s, a dedicated library science professor named Lena de Grummond initiated a letter-writing campaign to children’s authors and illustrators requesting original manuscripts and artwork to share with her students. Now named after de Grummond, this archive at the University of Southern Mississippi has grown into one of the largest collections of historical and contemporary youth literature in North America with original contributions from more than 1,400 authors and illustrators, as well as over 185,000 volumes.

The first book-length project on the collection, A de Grummond Primer: Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection provides a history of de Grummond’s work and an introduction to major topics in the field of children’s literature. With more than ninety full-color images, it highlights particular strengths of the archive, including extensive holdings of fairy tales, series books, nineteenth-century periodicals, Golden Age illustrated books, Mississippi and southern children’s literature, nonfiction, African American children’s literature, contemporary children’s and young adult authors and illustrators, and more. The book includes contributions from literature and information science scholars, historians, librarians, and archivists—all noted experts on children’s literature—and points to the exciting research possibilities of the archive.

De Grummond could not have realized when she wrote to luminaries like H. A. and Margret Rey, Berta and Elmer Hader, Madeleine L’Engle, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lois Lenski, Garth Williams, and others that their correspondence and contributions would form the foundation for this extraordinary trove now visited by scholars from around the world. Such major authors and illustrators as Ezra Jack Keats, Richard Peck, Rosemary Wells, Angela Johnson, and John Green continued to donate content. In addition, curators, past and present, have acquired both historical and contemporary volumes of literature and criticism.