Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children’s Materials

In response to the COVID-19 closure of the J. Paul Leonard Library, and corresponding social distancing recommendations, Special Collections and Archives will be providing virtual assistance only from March 17th onward. Please contact the email listed below for assistance.

In 1982, Mrs. Marguerite P. Archer donated to the J. Paul Leonard Library of San Francisco State University a collection of approximately 3,500 historical children's books, textbooks, and periodicals, 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 American children's literature from the 1820s to the 1920s, and includes many original editions of literary classics, as well as early textbooks and related teaching aids.

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Monday – Friday, 1pm – 5pm

or by appointment


University Archivist: Meredith Eliassen
(415) 405-4073


University Archives & Historic Collections
J. Paul Leonard Library
San Francisco State University
1630 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94132

About this Collection

Marguerite Archer wanted her collection to reside in a public institution where they would be used. As an educator, librarian, and innovator, she taught reading and convinced the editor of School Library Journal to devote an issue to "individualized reading.” She explored ways to meet children's differing styles of learning and developed an early elementary media center in Westchester County, New York. Later she was a Professor of English and Library Science at Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania. Archer founded the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the first National Council of Teachers of English.