Tagged: children’s literature

NHPRC Grant | Kurt Werth papers

This is the second of a series of blog posts highlighting our NHPRC-sponsored project: Twentieth Century Children’s Literature: Exploring the Past, Understanding the Present. Previous posts can be found here.

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce the publication of a newly revised finding aid for the Kurt Werth papers (Coll 100). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

A boy in a tiger costume walks down a suburban street at night.
Sketch for A Tiger Called Thomas, circa 1963, Box 13, Kurt Werth papers, Coll 100, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

The Kurt Werth papers represent a major portion of Werth’s body of work produced as an illustrator and author of American children’s literature. The collection is comprised of original children’s book illustrations and manuscripts, other artwork and manuscripts, personal papers, artifacts, personal and professional correspondence, and papers of his wife, Margaret Werth.

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New Exhibit | Tomorrow’s Scientists: Children’s Literature of the Cold War Era

University of Oregon Libraries and Eugene Public Library are pleased to announce a joint exhibition titled Tomorrow’s Scientists: Children’s Literature of the Cold War Era, now on display.

As we reflect on the 50th anniversary of the manned moon landing, this exhibition presents original manuscripts, artifacts, illustrations, and rare books which explore the intersection of politics, space, and technology in children’s literature published during the height of the Cold War.

The joint exhibits are on display at two locations:

Special Collections and University Archives
Knight Library, Paulson Reading Reading Room, Second Floor North
On display through March 2020 | check open hours here

Drawing upon Special Collections and University Archives’ extensive Children’s Literature Collections, this display presents original materials from twentieth century children’s book illustrators, authors, and publishers that highlight the complex intersections between American politics and children’s literature during the Cold War era.

This exhibit documents a range of political issues represented in juvenile popular culture during this period including: science education initiatives in America, responses to the launch of Sputnik I, developments in nuclear energy, the history of the US space program, and Communism ideologies and reactions.

Eugene Public Library
Downtown Library, Children’s Center, First Floor
On display through January 2020 | check open hours here

Little Golden Books, science texts for children, facsimile illustrations, and vintage toys on display at Eugene Public Library illustrate the impact of the space race on popular culture and boom of science publishing in the mid-twentieth century. In many of these works, authors and illustrators presented children of the 1950s–1960s with utopian visions of a future filled with space suits and flying cars on the eve of space exploration.

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NHPRC Grant | Twentieth Century Children’s Literature

In September 2019, SCUA began working on a new project: Twentieth Century Children’s Literature: Exploring the Past, Understanding the Present. This project is generously supported by a two-year grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a division of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Detail of dust jacket illustration for The Newcomers.
Detail of dust jacket illustration for The Newcomers, circa 1974. Left: Ink on acetate overlays, Right: Color proof. Kurt Werth papers, Coll 100, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

This project will greatly improve access to the collections of three prominent children’s literature authors: Kurt Wiese, Edwin Tunis, and Kurt Werth. The goals of this project are to:

  • rehouse manuscript material and original illustrations
  • update associated finding aids to current standards
  • mount online and local exhibitions promoting the historical significance of the material

The collections identified for this grant represent a core strength in the University of Oregon’s holdings, with broad appeal that reflects upon the American experience during and after the two World Wars. Children’s literature, which often flies under the cultural radar, is a fascinating rubric through which one can understand the ideological tenor of a society. Our collective values, for better or worse, are mirrored back to us in the stories and lessons of our children. Twentieth century children’s literature echoes the radical changes that occurred in American society: at times celebratory, optimistic, and inclusive; and alternately vexing and racist, presenting a white-washed and Eurocentric account of American history.

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New Finding Aids | Children’s Literature

New finding aids are now available on Archives West for the following children’s literature collections:

Bettina Ehrlich papers, circa 1959 (A 230)

Bettina Ehrlich (1903-1985) was an Austrian artist and author of children’s books. The collection includes Ehrlich’s manuscripts, sketches, and illustrated dummy for For the Leg of a Chicken.

Joseph Edward Van Wormer papers, 1961-1974 (Ax 770)

Joseph Edward Van Wormer (1913-1998) was an Oregonian wildlife photographer and author. The collection includes Van Wormer’s literary manuscripts for eight books about animals of the Northwest, mostly for children, and related correspondence.

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Book Talk | HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth

Join us for a presentation by Elizabeth A. Wheeler (Associate Professor, Department of English and Director, Disability Studies Minor) for her newest book, HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth. Disability in Young Adult and Children’s Books (University of Michigan Press, 2019).

Book Talk: HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth
by Associate Professor Elizabeth A. Wheeler, Department of English

Monday, October 28th, 2019
3:30-5:30 p.m.
Special Collections Paulson Reading Room, Knight Library

Event is free and open to the public
To be followed by a Q&A and refreshments

Sponsored by Special Collections and University Archives

HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth is the first disability studies book on contemporary children’s and young adult literature. HandiLand claims that literature for young readers is the ideal viewing stand for a parade of political changes as youth with disabilities have infiltrated public space. This viewing stand allows us to see how far we’ve come toward defeating ableism and how far we still need to go. HandiLand examines the new prominence of youth with disabilities in contemporary English-language books from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ghana. Many of these books are bestsellers with a passionate fan base, including The Fault in Our StarsHarry Potter, and Wonder. Elizabeth A. Wheeler argues that these new portrayals result from the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and other worldwide rights laws, which enabled the movement of disabled youth into public space.

This event is free and open to the public. Accommodations for people with disabilities will be provided if requested in advance by contacting the UO Accessible Education Center. See: https://aec.uoregon.edu/content/support-and-services