ESU Special Collections and Archives houses several Children’s Literature Collections that represent the history of children’s book publishing and complement the May Massee Collection.
Historic Children’s Literature – Originally the core of the circulating children’s book collection from the Mary White Room, a laboratory children’s library housed in the basement of the William Allen White Library from 1958-2007, the 590 books in this collection have become rare or hard to find.
The Ruth Garver Gagliardo Collection – This collection of nearly 2000 items consists of the personal library of Ruth Gagliardo, a prominent Kansas librarian and founder of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award. In addition to children’s books and books about children’s literature, many of which are autographed, Gagliardo donated personal correspondence with authors and illustrators; original art work; and original manuscripts.
The Lois Lenski Collection – This collection honors Lois Lenski, a distinguished author and illustrator of children’s books. Materials in the collection include books, original art work, manuscripts, music, correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks of background material and letters related to Lois Lenski’s regional books, especially those regional stories set in Detroit, Michigan, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. The collection contains materials from 1927-1974.
The Elizabeth Yates Collection – This collection includes books, manuscripts, original art work, photographs, and a sound recording of Elizabeth Yates, the recipient of the first William Allen White Children’s Book Award. The materials are related to her books Amos Fortune, Free Man , and Prudence Crandall, Woman of Courage .
The William Allen White Children’s Book Award Collection – This collection consists of the archives of the William Allen White Children’s Book Award program since its inception in 1952, copies of books that were placed on the Master List each year, and autographed photographs and books from award recipients.
The Gary and Barbara Bleeker Children’s Book Author Collection – This collection consists of letters written by 117 children’s book authors to Gary and Barbara Bleeker. The letters are in response to requests by the Bleekers for information to be used in annual workshops they presented during the William Allen White Children’s Book Award ceremonies from 1989-2004. The purpose of the workshops was to provide teachers and librarians with ideas for using that year’s nominated books in their schools and libraries. The authors were generally asked one question, such as to identify their favorite book or how they came to write the nominated book.
The Mrs. Aleene Klink Koehler International Children’s Books Collection – This collection reflects the lifelong interest of Mrs. Koehler in children’s literature. It includes books in a variety of languages collected from Asia, Africa, South America, Europe, and the Soviet Union by Koehler’s niece, Helen Templeton, a travel agent, from the 1940s-1990s.
The Beatrix Potter Beswick Figurines, 1955-1968 – The collection consists of 28 china character figurines from Beatrix Potter’s children’s books. They were purchased under the direction of librarian Ruth Hanson for William Allen White Library’s Mary White Room. The figurines were manufactured by Beswick Pottery between 1955 and 1968; each figurine features a Beswick Pottery backstamp and the copyright stamp of Frederick Warne & Co.