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The Kerlan Collection
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The Kerlan Collection

The University of Minnesota Libraries' Children's Research Collections is the generic term for several special collections, namely Kerlan, Hess, Wanda Gag, Series Books, Periodicals, Paul Bunyan, and Beulah Counts Rudolph. These collections provide the research base for theses, articles, and papers by faculty and students as well as visiting scholars.

Eighty-one faculty at the University were identified in a survey conducted in 1975 as being presently involved or interested in the future in teaching or research related to children's literature. They represented traditional fields of English, Education and Library Science, but also such disciplines as American Studies, Design, Scandanavian, and Sociology.

The collections vary in history of founding and scope. The Kerlan Collection was founded at the University in 1949 by Dr. Irvin Kerlan, a graduate of the medical school. At present, there are 31,000 books, manuscripts for 1,600 titles, and illustrations for another 2,400 titles. Depth in illustrated books from the nineteenth and twentieth century, Newbery and Caldecott award books, Mildred L. Batchelder Award nominees in original and translations, and Dakota and Ojibwaj Indian Tribes makes this the most popular collection for researchers. Some 3,900 titles in 46 languages other than English are cataloged, primarily Danish, German, Icelandic, Russian, and Swedish. Correspondence from authors, illustrators, and editors with Dr. Kerlan and the staff can be used with special permission. Kerlan Friends receive the occasional newsletter and invitations to local events, such as the visit in January of the Swedish author, Maria Gripe, and the Kerlan Award reception. The Kerlan Award has been given annually since 1975 "in recognition of singular attainments in the creation of children's literature, and in appreciation for generous donations of unique resources to the Kerlan Collection for the study of children's literature." Recipients are Elizabeth Coatsworth, Roger Duvoisin, Marie Hall Ets, Wanda Gag (posthumously), and Marguerite Henry.

In 1954 the University of Minnesota received, at the bequest of George Hess, his collection of dime novels, story papers, and pulps. The dime novel collection is reputed to be the largest in the world, with some 30,000 American and 17,000 British issues, as well as 25,000 Story papers and pulps. A Big Little Book and Comic Book Collection has been added, with special emphasis on "Classics Illustrated."

The Wanda Gag Collection consists of manuscripts and illustrations for seven of her books, as well as first printings and translations, reviews, articles, and family memorabilia.

Ten thousand volumes in the Series Book Collection have been cataloged, and A Bibliography of American Girl Series Books, 1900-1975 is in progress, with a projected publication date of 1978. Later editions with textual changes are added in addition to the first editions in such series as The Bobbsey Twins.

A Periodical Collection is being developed from the rich holdings of the general collection and gifts presented recently. Some 150 titles are represented covering dates from 1820 to the present. A near complete set of American Boy is among the recent acquisitions.

Four major donors have contributed to the Paul Bunyan Collections. In addition to 150 hardbacks are five linear feet of non-print materials such as correspondence, maps, and illustrations.

The Beulah Counts Rudolph Collection of some four hundred figurines, book marks and wall hangings are used primarily for display purposes, but have been cataloged.

The collection is open Monday through Friday from 8 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. with the exception of seven holidays each year. No materials circulate except when on exhibit, and limited photocopying can be requested through the Interlibrary Loan Department at the researcher's home base. An exhibit of seven panels of reproductions from the Kerlan Collection has been traveling since the fall of 1975. Inquiries about the exhibit can be made to Continuing Education in the Arts, 320 Wesbrook Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455. A videotape is available from Audio Visual Library Service, 3300 University Avenue South East, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55414. Articles have appeared in American Book Collector, Dime Novel Round-Up, Elementary English, Top of the News, and Bookbird describing aspects of the Collection. Requests for a list of the bibliography, pamphlets available, or specific holdings...