Named Collections with Children's Literature Holdings
The collection traces its roots to a family collection begun in the 1940s — Lee Walp, and his wife Esther, did not want their two daughters reading comic books, and therefore began a conscious effort to acquire beautiful and engaging illustrated works. When the collection was donated to the library in 2001, it had grown to include more than 6,000 volumes and 1,000 pieces of original artwork that Walp collected by contacting authors and illustrators. Walp frequently approached authors and illustrators with requests for small, original works — the offer of a homemade chicken dinner helped him to secure a nearly complete set of signed works by Edward Gorey and some original drawings.
Donated by former University Librarian William A. Gosling, who also served as curator of the Children’s Literature Collection after stepping down in 2005, this collection includes movable books dating back to 1859, but is especially strong in late 20th Century works. A particular strength is the output of Michigan "paper engineer” Robert Sabuda — a native of Pinckney, Michigan and luminary among pop-up book artists. Although the scope of the collection is broader, the majority of holdings are in the area of Chidlren's Literature.
The original collection was donated in 1924 by Lucius Lee Hubbard, a former U-M Regent, along with an endowment to support ongoing acquisitions. Today, it is one of the world’s best collections of three classic stories: Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver’s Travels, and Swiss Family Robinson. It also includes many other examples of the imaginary voyage genre, robinsonades, and proto-robinsonades. In the case of the Hubbard collection, children's literature is not the primary focus, but because Robinson Crusoe began to be adapted for educational purposes within decades of its publication, and because both Robinson Crusoe and Gulliver's Travels came to be increasingly adapted for young readers in the 20th century, the collection offers valuable insight into the shifting borders between adult and children's literature.
The collection began as a family collection of works by English illustrator Arthur Rackham. Ned Chalat bought editions for his wife Joann on special occasions, in the process assembling well over 250 volumes. When presented to the library, the collection included limited, translated, and finely bound editions, most being of children’s titles, including Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Rackham's own proof copy of Peter Pan in Kensington Garden, and a copy of Cinderella with an original sketch signed by Rackham on the title page.
Acquired from Janice Dohm of Olympia, WA in the early 2000s, the collection is comprised of a variety of books from the later 19th and 20th centuries. It includes a sampling of works by 19th century major illustrators, international fairy tales, English chapter books, and a large grouping of Beatrix Potter’s works. Of special note are extensive holdings of fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen, and chapter books by William Mayne and Charles Keeping.