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The Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children's Materials

Location: Library 460


Research in children's literature and the history of childhood is emerging as a new and fascinating field of study, and the Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children's Literature contains samplings of materials rich in variety covering the important trends in children's literature from 1776 to the present day.

Collection Provenance

In 1982, Mrs. Marguerite Archer, an educator, innovator, and collector, gave to the J. Paul Leonard Library, San Francisco State University a collection of approximately 3,500 historical children's books, textbooks, and periodicals, as well as ephemera and realia, including puzzles, toys and educational games. The collection, originally based upon the Peter Parley to Penrod Bibliography, is considered to be a major scholarly resource showing the progressive development and growth of children's literature from the early nineteenth century to the present day. It includes many original editions of literary classics, as well as early textbooks and related teaching aids.

In 1990, the collection was moved to the Archives and Special Collections Department of the library, due to library restructuring that took place after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. In Spring 1991 and in Fall 1993, the Library received grants funded under the Library Services and Construction Act, to create effective and thorough access for the Archer Collection via the University's on-line catalog (InvestiGator). As a result of these grants over 7,000 of the books are now accessible to students and researchers for the study of childhood and research in the area of children's literature.

Articles about the collection

Meredith Eliassen has written a number of articles about the Archer Collection that include:

"A is for Archer: Treasures from the Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children's Books at San Francisco State University." California State Library Foundation Bulletin. No. 50 (January 1995).

"From Dime Novels to Disney: San Francisco's Archer Collection Houses it All." School Library Journal. 41:6 (July 1995).

"Postcards from the Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children's Books: a Treasure-Trove for the Study of Childhood." Popular Culture in Libraries. New York: Haworth Press, 1995

"In the Hands of Children." The Scrapbook in American Life, edited by Susan Tucker, Katherine Ott, and Patricia P. Buckler, (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2006), 193-206.

Selected Internet sites

Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books

The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

The Kerlan Collection

Center for the study of Books in Spanish for Children and Adolescents

National Institute for Literacy

The Library of Congress American Memory (go to the Learning Page)

Disability History Museum

  • The Boy's Scrap Book
  • Cobb's Juvenile Reader
  • Faith Douglas
  • Little Girls Own Book
  • Mary Hewitt's Story Book

and others are from Archer

Cotsen Children's Library at Princeton University

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