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A de Grummond Primer - Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection

A de Grummond Primer

Highlights of the Children's Literature Collection

Edited by Carolyn J. Brown, Ellen Hunter Ruffin, and Eric L. Tribunella
Hardcover : 9781496833396, 176 pages, 94 color illustrations, March 2021

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


Contributions by Ann Mulloy Ashmore, Rudine Sims Bishop, Ruth B. Bottigheimer, Jennifer Brannock, Carolyn J. Brown, Ramona Caponegro, Lorinda Cohoon, Carol Edmonston, Paige Gray, Laura Hakala, Andrew Haley, Wm John Hare, Dee Jones, Allison G. Kaplan, Megan Norcia, Nathalie op de Beeck, Amy Pattee, Deborah Pope, Ellen Hunter Ruffin, Anita Silvey, Danielle Bishop Stoulig, Roger Sutton, Deborah D. Taylor, Eric L. Tribunella, Alexandra Valint, and Laura E. Wasowicz

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.


"A handsome introduction to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi"

- Roger Sutton, Horn Book Magazine

"The next best thing to an extended visit to the de Grummond Collection, this handsomely illustrated volume introduces readers to a generous cross-section of the Collection's major holdings, with concise, authoritative category-by-category commentaries sure to pique the interest of researchers, nostalgia buffs, and everyone in between. "

- Leonard S. Marcus, children's book historian, critic, and editor

"This book reveals the significance of the de Grummond Collection and, as such, yet undiscovered and untapped historical insights. I’ve studied children’s literature nearly twenty years and knew the collection was extensive, but until I read this, I had no idea how extensive. "

- Susan Stewart, Texas A&M University–Commerce

"A de Grummond Primer is itself a mix, a beautifully-illustrated coffee-table book, a useful introduction for students, and an invitation to scholars."

- Maude Hines, The Lion and The Unicorn

"Fans of children's literature will cheer to find their favorites (Yes! The Color Kittens are here!) and to discover new visual treats they have never seen. . . . A de Grummond Primer is a resource, an entertainment, and a treasure."

- Angelica Shirley Carpenter, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection was started in 1966 by Lena Young de Grummond, a librairan and professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. She taught graduate courses in library sceince, including a children's literature class. To get additional materials for her students, she contacted children's literature authors and illustrators asking for materials to enrich the collection. Those enrichment materials became a library, an archive, and a researcher's treasure, and the collection is now one of the foremost centers for children's literature in North America. The primer is an introduction to the de Grummond collection with contributions by scholars of children's literature. The essays tell the hiustory of children's literature and how it contributed to, supported, or answered questions about contemporaneous social issues. Among the fruits of the collection are the Fay B. Keigler Children's Book Festival (begun in 1968) and the University of Southern Mississippi Medallion award, honoring the year's outstanding contribution to children's literature."

- L. Hickey, CHOICE