Fund-Raising To Begin For
Christopher Robin would be right at home here. So would the Cat in the Hat, and Max, the boy in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.
These and other children's favorites abound among the books, manuscripts, and illustrations in the Northeast Children's Literature Collection at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.
A Growing Collection
It now comprises 30,000 volumes and more than 50 collections from individual authors and illustrators of children's books.
Recently, the Dodd Center launched a campaign to raise $500,000 to enable the collection to grow beyond its present size and scope.
"As the only major collection of children's literature in the region and one of the most important of its kind in the country, the collection preserves the original output of some of the most creative minds of our time," says Terri Goldich, curator of the collection. "The collection demonstrates all aspects of book creation leading up to the finished work, so researchers and others can witness the process by which successful authors and illustrators bring their work to fruition."
The committee has made fund raising for the children's literature collection its first priority. To date, the campaign has raised $100,000 in major leadership and in-kind gifts.
Proceeds of the endowment will fund exhibits, conferences, publications, and public programs that promote the collection; preserve items requiring conservation; acquire additional volumes to fill gaps in some collections; make the collection widely available through the Internet; and support professional activities and training for staff.
Since it was established, the collection has received gifts from many donors, including Levy. An avid collector, Levy convinced author and illustrator James Marshall, among others, to leave his materials to UConn for research purposes.
Other significant holdings in the collection include the Phyllis Hirsch Boyson Collection of Children's Literature, the Black Beauty Collection, and the art and personal papers of many leading lights among children's book authors and illustrators. Among these are Natalie Babbitt, Barbara Cooney, Tomie de Paola, Leonard Everett Fisher, Anita Riggio, Richard Scarry, and Cindy Szekeres.
One result of the campaign has been the creation of the Billie M. Levy Travel Grant to provide travel assistance grants for scholars conducting research on the collection. Efforts are also underway to establish a fellowship honoring James Marshall, a former resident of Mansfield and frequent visitor to Butler's classes in the 1960's and 1970's. The fellowship, funded through a related campaign, will support promising new children's authors and illustrators in the development and creation of new works.