What I found at the Kerlan

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Sara is a student at the University of Minnesota (Ph. D. candidate) and through her studies she is familiar with the Children’s Literature Research Collection, which includes the Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature.  Knowing how much I love stuff like this, she arranged for items from the archives to be pulled so I could muck about in them.  This  was incredibly awesome.

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On our way to the reading room we were distracted by these great dioramas. I’m a sucker for a good diorama and these are excellent. Look at how the information plate folds out from being a side!

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And look!  The cases double as the stands.  Amazing!

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Because I’d been doing a lot of reading of Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series, Sara requested boxes of hers for me to look at.  Settle in, this is going to be a long post, full of pictures of paper.

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A draft of Betsy and Joe, with edits. (A DRAFT OF BETSY AND JOE WITH EDITS!)

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An astute reviewer on Goodreads compared Lovelace to Tolkien, in that she so immerses her stories in details of her world that you don’t mind reading endless details about Merry Widow hats and pompadours or puffs, even if you don’t care about fashion or hair styles in real life.  Here is a page of research about such details.

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The Betsy-Tacy books that take place during the high school years open with Betsy’s family moving from their tiny house to a bigger one, just as Maud Hart Lovelace’s family did.  Here is a clipping about the house being torn down to make way for new college buildings.

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A page from Betsy and the Great World.

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After Lovelace wrote the Betsy-Tacy books she wrote an additional three books which are referred to as the Deep Valley Novels.  Though I happen to think that one should just read all of the books in chronological order. Here are notes Lovelace made before writing Winona’s Pony Cart.

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Random notes and remembrances.

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Notes for Emily of Deep Valley, another of the Deep Valley novels.

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Maud (who is Betsy in the novels) remained friends with Bick (Tacy) her entire life.  Here are notes from a letter from Bick.  The Decoration Day details appear in Emily of Deep Valley.

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More notes for Emily.

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I adore this personalized postcard.

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Here’s a note from Maud to a group of what can only be described as “fan girls.”  They had visited Mankato and tried to find all the Betsy Tacy sites.  This is her letter back to them.

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More notes.

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Though I did not love this book, it was fun to see a proof of it.

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There were a few boxes of Lois Lowery items. I requested the one with Anastasia At Your Service.  Which was apparently once titled Anastasia Atcher Service.  I read the Anastasia books throughout my childhood.  If you would like to get started with the first of the nine-book series. Anastasia Krupnik is where to begin.

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It was interesting to see the computer printout–I remember that font.

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Also the way her editor typed notes in yellow and taped them to the pages.  Sara also looked at this box and we guessed this might have been a new editorial relationship because the editor was very deferential.  And Lowery rejected a goodly number of suggested changes, which were then not made.

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Our time at the Kerlan was very well spent.

Now we are jetting out of town.

5 thoughts on “What I found at the Kerlan”

  1. Its fun to see the Lovelace items, since I only looked at the Lowry papers. Such treasures. Yay, archival libraries.

    PS-Not a candidate yet. You only get that designation after you finish course work and are starting your prelims/dissertation. I’m just a doctoral student at this moment…

  2. It’s so cool that Sara was able to do this for you, and very nice of her to follow through. It must have been such a kick! That one page that appears to have been completely yanked from the book (has a line drawn through it) really hit me right where it hurts. I know how that goes, but it’s kind of nice to see I’m not the only writer who has to scrap whole pages.

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