Children's Literature Collection
The Children’s Literature Collection supplements the holdings of the Library’s Instructional Materials Center (IMC) and supports the mission of the University to provide superior training to students preparing for careers in education and school librarianship. The collection also supports research in related areas such as the history of childhood, and children’s and adolescent literature. The collection contains about 1400 volumes and over 400 original illustrations. All books are represented in the University Library’s online catalog. The collection is particularly strong in early 20th century titles, illustrated books, and periodicals. Among the latter are a complete run of Parley’s Magazine (1833-44) and an important collection of St. Nicholas Magazine, published by Scribner’s in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Included also under this collection umbrella is the Beulah C. Campbell Collection of Original Illustrations for Children's Books.
Elaine J. O'Quinn Girls' Studies Collection
The O'Quinn Collection primarily consists of popular literature intended for early to mid-twentieth century adolescent girl readers. Series represented are Ruth Fielding, Cherry Ames, Vicki Barr, Beverly Gray, Dana Girls, Connie Blair, and Judy Bolton. Other titles include Campfire Girls, Bobbsey Twins, Honey Bunch, and Donna Parker. There are numerous miscellaneous, but related, titles as well. When complete, the collection will include the first 56 books in the Nancy Drew series. The collection contains many first editions and examples of book jacket and cover art.
The books were collected by Appalachian State University Professor of English Dr. Elaine J. O'Quinn, who researches and teaches about the literature and literacy of girls. The collection forms a significant theme within the Children's Literature Collection and complements similar books already part of the collection. Currently over 400 titles. An annotated bibliography for the collection is available.
Children's Literature Collection Background
The origins of this collection are intertwined with the goal of the founders of the university to train teachers to serve the region’s schools. Consequently, librarians began to buy children’s textbooks and story books to support teacher instruction. In 1934 a young librarian, Allie Austin (Hodgin) was named head of the Children’s Literature Department. After the completion of the Dougherty Memorial Library a year later, the Department was located on the lower level of the new building. A further impetus for growth was the establishment in 1937 of a training program for school librarians in the Education Department (now the Reich College of Education). The program was an immediate success thanks in part to the efforts of Mary Peacock Douglas, North Carolina Department of Education’s Supervisor of School Libraries. Mrs. Douglas regularly taught school librarianship at ASU during summer sessions in the 1950s and 60s. Following her death in 1987, ASU received her personal collection of children’s Christmas books.
The books given by Mary Peacock Douglas formed the core for the Children’s Literature Collection. They were maintained by the director of the IMC, Pat Farthing, in her office until the completion of the new library. Mrs. Farthing supplemented the collection with books withdrawn from the IMC collection because of their age and value, and through gifts. Her selection efforts were aided by Susan Golden (now retired), a Collections Development librarian with considerable expertise in children’s literature. In 2005 the collection was transferred to Special Collections where it forms an important part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts unit.