The University of Southern Mississippi’s prominent reputation in the field of children’s literature has earned it the right to house the archive of an international organization dedicated to the genre.
After reviewing multiple applications from across the country, the Children’s Literature Association announced last month at its 2009 International Conference in Charlotte, N.C. that Southern Miss’ de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection was chosen as the repository for the archive.
The ChLA is considered the major association of children’s literature scholars in North America. The organization was responsible for founding the first peer-reviewed journal and the first scholarly conference devoted to the literary study of children’s literature. Today it produces two peer-reviewed academic journals in addition to co-publishing scholarly monographs.
In need of a home for its archives, the ChLA invited bids from several universities that hold significant children’s literature collections.
“We won this prestigious archive due to the prominence of the de Grummond Collection and the excellent proposal presented by its curator, Ellen Ruffin,” said Dean of Libraries Dr. Carole Kiehl. “This award further confirms and strengthens the international importance of Collection and its significance for researchers in children’s literature.”
Founded in 1966 by Dr. Lena Y. de Grummond, the Collection holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,200 authors and illustrators, and has more than 100,000 published books dating from 1530 to the present. Part of Special Collections, it is located in the university’s McCain Library and Archives.
Its primary focus is on American and British children's literature, historical and contemporary. Adding to its popularity is a collection of original material given by Margret and H.A. Rey, creators of the popular Curious George character.
“We’re thrilled with the decision of the Children’s Literature Association’s board to place their archive with us,” Ruffin said. “The ChLA is the pre-imminent organization in encouraging serious scholarship and research in children’s literature. We look forward to working with them for many years.”
Southern Miss assistant professor of English Dr. Eric Tribunella, who also attended the conference, said having the CLA archives on campus opens up exciting research possibilities for him and his students, and further enhances the university’s reputation in the children’s literature community.
“Southern Miss is already recognized internationally as one of the major research centers for the scholarly study of children’s literature, so the decision to house the organization’s archives at de Grummond reinforces the international prominence of both the collection and the university,” he said.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.