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Archives and Special Collections: American Juvenile Collection

Archives and Special Collections is a repository for materials contained in a variety of formats: books, manuscripts, correspondence, journals, photographs, posters, maps, original drawings, theatre programs, archival documents, and other materials.

About the Collection

American Juvenile Collection

The American Juvenile Collection (AJC) is a nationally renowned collection of juvenile literature. It is housed in LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections and currently holds over 10,000 first editions in fiction, folklore, fairytale and poetry as well as an associated archival collection of pre-publication materials. This collection is expanding, and libraries and private patrons throughout our locale take delight in donating their juvenile books to this collection for research purposes and posterity. The collecting time period is 1910-1999, with an emphasis on the 1910-1960.

In addition to the research opportunities that are offered by housing this wonderful collection in an academic institution, we also present and teach with this collection's materials. We often exhibit items from the American Juvenile Collection where visitors come from the local as well as academic community to view the treasures from this collection. One of our more recent exhibitions, "A Visual Feast", focused on the beautiful artistry of juvenile book illustrators and was displayed in the Hutchins Gallery, B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library.

The American Juvenile Collection was originally built, over the last thirty-five years, through the vision of Dr. Diana Spirt, Professor Emerita of the Palmer School of Library and Information Science, to provide a research collection of children's fiction, folklore, and fairy tales printed in North America, covering the years 1910-1960. There is an extensive Reference Collection, as well as some children's books in foreign languages. The AJC welcomes you and is open to all!

Jarron Jewell,
Curator, American Juvenile Collection
Contact: (516) 299-3407

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The AJC Archival Collections

The archival collections below contain research materials of authors' and illustrators' correspondence, illustrations, photographs, children's book editors' correspondences, galley proofs, dummy copies, and miscellaneous ephemera. These archival collections demonstrate the importance of donating. The materials are now assured to help increase the body of knowledge in the field by adding a permanent record that is available electronically to the student, researcher and interested person.

We encourage anyone to donate a single, multiple, or estate collection of books and materials, such as manuscripts, letters, illustrations, photos of authors or illustrators covering the AJC's time period of 1910-1960 that deserve a permanent home. We hope you contact us in the American Juvenile Collection and look forward to hearing from you.

Please enjoy researching our finding aids. For questions, please contact or call (516) 299-2880.

Diana Spirt Archival Vertical File

Diana L. Spirt, Ph.D. taught in LIU Post's Palmer School of Library and Information Science for almost three decades. It took a while, but the American Juvenile Collection now contains more than 12,000 wonderful first editions. The American Juvenile Collection vertical file is arranged in A-Z folders and contains many papers reflecting Dr. Spirt's personal research interests, collected as she was building the collection.

Ellen Conford Personal Archives and Juvenile Book Collection

The Ellen Conford Personal Archive and Juvenile Book Collection was generously donated to LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections in May, 2016 by David Conford, husband of award-winning juvenile author Ellen Conford. The collection contains more than 140 books (hardcover and paperback), leather bound presentation copies to Ellen from her publisher, periodicals, mixed media and selected personal archives. These personal and selected unique items, coming directly from the author's family, make this a priceless contribution. The collection is housed separately, within the American Juvenile Collection.

The Joan Hoerger Fern Place Elementary School Library "Letters to Authors Project"

An AJC archival letter collection was donated by Mrs. Joan Hoerger, the librarian at the Fern Place Elementary School, Plainview, New York. It represents a library class project designed to encourage reading. Each student wrote a letter to her/his favorite author. 35 authors/illustrators from Joy Adamson to Carol Beach York responded warmly to the pupils. These letters are illustrated in many instances and include brochures and photos from authors/illustrators who were popular with elementary school age children.

Each of the archival letters is described briefly and listed under the authors/illustrators name. We suggest that you also browse the AJC Collection's database.

Mother Goose Collection

The Mother Goose Collection currently contains more than 60 beautifully illustrated Mother Goose first edition books. This is a Twentieth Century collection which includes a few Nineteenth Century titles. These gloriously illustrated books spark the imagination of readers young and old and stimulate the reader's visual learning experience. Through oral tradition, Mother Goose rhymes were sung over and over throughout the ages by mothers, nurses, and children. The rhymes have been dated back to Shakespeare's time as well as Charlemagne's. France is known to still hold a Festival for "Queen Goosefoot" on January 2nd. In 1679, Charles Perrault published Contes de Ma Mere L'Oye or Tales of My Mother Goose. Traditionally, Perrault's book is considered the first gathering of Mother Goose tales to appear in print. Later in 1760, borrowing from Charles Perrault, Englishman John Newberry published Mother Goose's Melody. In 1833, Mother Goose verse in Mother Goose's Melodies was published by Munroe and Francis in Boston and C. S. Francis in New York. This book went through many editions and helped establish Mother Goose as a permanent part of the American fabric. This Mother Goose Collection is a sub-collection of LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections famous American Juvenile Collection. The Mother Goose books were primarily donated by individual donors and local public libraries. We continue to encourage and much appreciate like donations.

The RoseMarie Salerno Dollhouses and Miniatures Literature Collection

The RoseMarie Salerno Dollhouses and Miniatures Literature Collection was graciously donated by RoseMarie Salerno in September, 2014. This charming collection houses well over 220 books, periodicals and pamphlets and is housed, separately, in its entirety within the American Juvenile Collection. While teaching in Suffolk County, New York, RoseMarie Salerno became fascinated with the world of miniature artifacts - especially those of 1" to 12" dollhouse scale. Through her research, she became expert in the history of this art form and the role these miniature artifacts played in the lives of children as well as adults. Magnificent dollhouse masterpieces were created for celebrities such as Colleen Moore to Queen Mary of England. For more than thirty years, Ms. Salerno built her impressive collection for reference and personal pleasure. The collection reflects every aspect of dollhouse miniatures including histories, how to make your own miniatures, and juvenile fiction with dollhouse plots.

The Saidie Scudder Archival and Book Collection

The Saidie Scudder Archival and Book Collection was donated in 1988 by Saidie E. Scudder, (1907-2001) and her older sister Hazel L., who died in 1990. Their parents, P. Halstead and Sarah Townsend Scudder, were descendants of an historical Quaker family line on Long Island, New York. The sisters were also active Quakers who in their later years were responsible for providing funding for the restoration of the old Quaker meeting house in Matinecock that had been destroyed by fire. They lived in Glen Cove, New York and were active gardeners, sharing classes in their greenhouse, as well as engaging in community projects. In their final years, they lived in Mill Neck, New York.

The collection is from their inheritance in 1984 from the estate of a long-time friend Dorothy Marie Bryan, who was the children's book editor at Dodd, Mead & Company. The collection contains pre-publication illustrations and a variety of materials created by well known children's author-illustrators in the American Juvenile Collection's time period.

The Youth Literature Collection: 1961-1999

In Spring 2013, former Long Island librarians and rare book curators, Marjorie Rosenthal and Mary Lois Nichols, generously donated a collection of 1,500 first edition juvenile books called The Youth Literature Collection. 1961-1999 to the American Juvenile Collection (AJC). Over the years, Mrs. Rosenthal and Ms. Nichols painstakingly built their special collection of fiction, folklore, fairy tale and poetry in a space loaned to them by the South Huntington Public Library and in cooperation with the Suffolk County (New York) Cooperative Library System.

With the addition of The Youth Literature Collection. 1961-1999, the originator of the AJC and the current Curator decided to extend the time period for American Juvenile Collection's collecting mission from 1910-1960 to 1910-1999. The AJC staff remains focused on collecting the hardest to obtain first editions published between 1910-1960, though The Youth Literature Collection serves a critical role in turning the American Juvenile Collection into a Twentieth-Century Collection available for access to the academic community and general public. The comprehensive collecting mission to gather all North American first edition imprints in the twentieth Century has resulted in the offering of a deep research collection of juvenile literature.

The AJC is not only accessible to the research scholar but also has a vision to reach parents and grandparents who want to share selections from the collection's treasure chest of memories. These memories help us to understand where we have been and how we came to be who we are. Donations are most appreciated! Visitors and local school classes are encouraged. Please contact Jarron Jewell, AJC Curator, for assistance or for help in making an appointment to visit the collection. 516/299-3407.

A Visual Feast: Illustrated works from the American Juvenile Collection

Text to accompany an exhibit in the Hutchins Gallery, August 7-31, 2012

A picture book evolves through the orchestrated effort of the author, illustrator, publisher and printer. The production of a great children's picture book relies on unity, on the many different production elements between author and illustrator coming together, culminating in illustrations that are true to the spirit of the entire book and accepted by the child. When the author also acts as illustrator, the chance for unity between text and illustration is sometimes great, as seen in Antonio Frasconi's The House that Jack Built..., Paul Brown's Your Pony's Trek Around the World or John Steptoe's Stevie.

There are many different elements for the illustrator to consider. How much space is needed, what height and dimension will be used for the streets, the houses and trees and animals - or the expanse of the ocean? What colors are most suitable for the particular story? How much money does the publisher have to spend on color? What are the best colors to suggest the feelings in the story and provide contrast for what size text? What artistic medium should the illustrator use: pen and ink; water color; wash and line; crayon; splatter; woodcuts/linoleum cut; pastel; line drawing; oil or acrylic paint; photographs; special paper - the ideas are endless. Will the final art work complement the storyline? Many illustrators amend their work repeatedly throughout production, until the book comes together as a completed unit.

Illustrative condescension for a young child is a mistake. Children embrace art freely. Their own drawings reflect the abstract, realistic or conceptual. A young child will comprehend a message if it is clear, whether simple or complex.

Children are delighted by bright, bold color as much as they equally enjoy the delightful qualities in Wanda Gag's black-and-white drawings seen, for example in Millions of Cats, or the two-colors used in James Daugherty's Andy and the Lion or the Claire Huchet Bishop's The Five Chinese Brothers. Roger Duvoisin (Three Sneezes and Other Swiss Tales) and Dorothy Lathrop's Dog in the Tapestry Garden are illustrators who are well-known for the striking illustrations they produce using only two or three colors. Drawings and text are re-configured multiple times during the book production process.

Do the illustrations blend with the text so that the story unfolds dramatically and with interest? Has the illustrator brought the characters to life and is the humor genuine or careless?

It's not simple to determine what makes the perfect picture book, because each person brings his own experience to what he sees. Some illustrations leave a lasting impact on us, others we forget right away because they offer a narrower experience. It requires the genius of the illustrator and author working together to spark the reader's imagination.

There is an marked rhythm offered in the children's book that often culminates in balancing all the ingredients that go into the making of the book. The American Juvenile Collection staff are delighted to offer you this moment to delight and enrich yourself as a child, to enter into the world of these 67 award winning illustrators and authors on exhibit in "A Visual Feast". Enjoy!

Jarron L. Jewell, Curator

Contact Information

Archives and Special Collections

B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
LIU Post Campus
Long Island University
Brookville, NY 11548

Telephone: (516) 299-2880


Hours: 9:00-5:00, Monday-Friday

Currently on Display

Special Selections from the Reference Collection
Hallway, Upper Level

The American Juvenile Collection : A research collection in Fiction & Folklore in Children's Books, 1910 - 1960 (May 1991) by Diana L. Spirt, Ph.D. ; assisted by Beatrice Heney, Anne Messina, Phyllis Murray, Barbara Parsons, Christine Weil, Joan Zeleski. Published by American Publishers. Limited Edition. Computer Program, Interactive Bibliographic Information Data IBID created by Myron Sywak, Ph.D. -- Retired Professors Spirt and Sywak were early members of LIU Post's Palmer School Faculty. Dr. Spirt was the Originator/Curator of the American Juvenile Collection. Both Professors Spirt and Sywak are in their nineties and going strong.

The Black Experience in Children's Literature (1989 - New Edition ; 1979 - Original Publication) selected by The New York Public Library, Black Experience in Children's Books Committee. [New York]: The New York Public Library. "The cover of this new edition is by Marc Brown from Joan Chase Bowden's Why the Tides Ebb and Flow, a title which is an accurate reflection of the period covered by this year's list." -- "...The decline of the ethnic presence in books published for children seems at this point to have been stemmed: while there is no flood, the ebb, at least has ceased...."

Children's Books on China : Reading for Fun : With a List for Adults (1935) selected by Mabel C. Mead. New York: The New York Children's Bookshop, First Edition.

Children's Books on the Orient : Reading for Fun : With Brief Lists for Adults (1937) selected by Mabel C. Mead. New York: The New York Children's Bookshop, First Edition.

Contemporary Illustrators of Children's Books (1930) compiled by Bertha E. Mahoney and Elinor Whitney. Boston: The Bookshop for Boys and Girls. Women's Educational and Industrial Union, First Edition.

A Little History of The Horn-book (1965, 1942) by Beulah Folmsbee. Boston: The Horn Book, Inc. First Edition. Third Printing. "The horn-book was the earliest lesson-book made for children to use themselves."

Tales for Little Rebels : A Collection of Radical Children's Literature (2008) by Julila Mickenberg and Philip Nel, editors ; foreword by Jack Zipes. New York/London: New York University Press. First Edition. "Rather than teaching children to obey authority, to conform, or to seek redemption through prayer, twentieth-century leftists encouraged children to question the authority of those in power. This book collects forty-three stories, poems, comic strips, primers, and other texts for children that embody this radical tradition...."

What shall I Read? : A Book List For Boys and Girls Emphasizing the Progressive Social Spirit (1929) by Grace Poole and Solon De Leon, compilers. New York: Issued by the Educational Department. Workmen's Circle. First Edition. Poole and De Leon, Research Department, Rand School of Social Science.

The Book Doctors Visit!

On November 12, 2015, the Book Doctors from Norwood Avenue Elementary School in Northport, NY, visited the American Juvenile Collection housed in LIU Post's Archives and Special Collections. Under the tutelage of noted rare book artisan Paul Belard, these enthusiastic young students are learning the art of book repair. Over the past year, Paul has been working with these students on a weekly basis in the Norwood Elementary School Library. They had the opportunity to tour our Special Collections and to discuss the preservation and handling of rare materials in this special environment.