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Betsy Beinecke Shirley collection of American children's literature

Call Number: GEN MSS 764
Scope and Contents

The collection holds the non-print component of the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature, and contains original illustrations and manuscript material acquired by Betsy Shirley to complement and enhance her extensive collection of printed books and serials. It consists of drawings, paintings, literary manuscripts, printing blocks, correspondence, and documents related to children's literature, and the education and amusement of children. In accordance with her views as a collector, the material was divided between that created for literary purposes by both professionals and amateurs (in Series I) and that of a more historical nature and related to education (in Series II). Series III holds three small collections of papers that were acquired as discrete archival groups: the papers of J. Austin Sperry, Leon M. Tyrrell, and Edward Stratemeyer.

In this finding aid, the term "drawing" indicates an original work of illustration art, and does not distinguish the stages between a preliminary sketch and a finished drawing; for some artists, such as F. O. C. Darley, there are both present. Every attempt was made to assign a specific title, project, or publication to the illustrations in the collection. Original works of art are filed under the artist’s name, regardless if the resulting publication is more prominently associated with the author of the text; for example, drawings by Frederick Richardson for Andrew Lang’s popular fairy book volumes appear here under Richardson’s name.

The Collector’s Files series consist mostly of the files that Shirley kept as she collected American children’s literature. This includes her research, bibliographic information on books, authors, and publishers, and exhibition files. Shirley’s collections were used in exhibitions at museums and libraries including the Brandywine River Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Language of Materials

In English, French, German, Assiniboine, Clallam, and Columbia-Wenatchi.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Boxes 49-50: Restricted fragile material. Reference surrogates have been substituted in the main files. For further information consult the appropriate curator.

Box 94 (videocassettes): Use of originals are restricted. Reference copies may be requested. Consult Access Services for further information.

Conditions Governing Use

The Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children's Literature is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gifts and bequest of Betsy Beinecke Shirley, 1989-2005.

Gift of Katie Michel, 2018 (Box 9, folder 199a).


Organized into four series: I. Authors and Illustrators for Children (1719-2001); II. American History and Educational Materials (1640-1966); III. Other Papers (1836-1968); and IV. Collector's Files (1829-2011).

Associated Materials

Betsy Beinecke Shirley's collections of children's books and serials, published prints, printed ephemera, and commercially produced objects (including toys, games, and printed kerchiefs) were cataloged separately. They can be accessed through the library's online catalog, Orbis, using the term "Shirley" in the "Call Number (Local)" search field.

55 Linear Feet ((93 boxes) + 3 broadside folders + 7 art objects)
Related Names
Shirley, Betsy Beinecke
Alcott, Louisa May, 1832-1888
Anderson, Alexander, 1775-1870
André, R. (Richard), 1834-1907
Angelo, Valenti, 1897-1982
Anglund, Joan Walsh, 1926-
Bemelmans, Ludwig, 1898-1962
Billings, Hammatt, 1818-1874
Boutet de Monvel, Louis Maurice, 1850-1913
Boutet de Monvel, Roger, 1879-1951
Bowles, Carington, 1724-1793
Bransom, Paul, 1885-1979
Bruton, W. (William), 1854 or 1855-1885
Burgess, Gelett, 1866-1951
Cady, Harrison, 1877-1970
Capote, Truman, 1924-1984
Church, Frederick S. (Frederick Stuart), 1842-1924
Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910
Cogger, Edward P.
Cox, Palmer, 1840-1924
Cruikshank, George, 1792-1878
Darley, Felix Octavius Carr, 1822-1888
Denslow, W. W. (William Wallace), 1856-1915
Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge, 1832-1898
Drayton, Grace G. (Grace Gebbie), 1877-1936
Falls, C. B. (Charles Buckles), 1874-1960
Field, Eugene, 1850-1895
Francis, J. G. (Joseph Greene), 1849-1930
Franklin, Benjamin, 1706-1790
Frost, A. B. (Arthur Burdett), 1851-1928
Furness, William Henry, 1802-1896
Grimaldi, Stacey, 1790-1863 ($t: Toilet)
Goodwin, Polly, 1908-2007
Gruelle, Johnny, 1880-1938
Hale, Sarah Josepha Buell, 1788-1879
Hancock, Ebenezer, 1741-1819
Hancock, John, 1737-1793
Hopkins, Livingston, 1846-1927
Ives, Sarah Noble, 1864-1944
Keller, Helen, 1880-1968
Kemble, E. W. (Edward Windsor), 1861-1933
Lathrop, Dorothy Pulis, 1891-1980
McVickar, H. W. (Harry Whitney), 1860-1905
Melvill, Allan, 1782-1832
Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863
Mora, Jo, 1876-1947
Newell, Peter, 1862-1924
Petersham, Maud, 1890-1971
Pogány, Willy, 1882-1955
Reynolds, Cuyler, 1866-1934
Rogers, W. A. (William Allen), 1854-1931
Sands, Benjamin
Shimin, Symeon, 1902-1984
Shinn, Everett, 1876-1953
Smith, Jessie Willcox, 1863-1935
Sperry, J. Austin (Jacob Austin), 1823-1896
Stephens, H. L. (Henry Louis), 1824-1882
Stratemeyer, Edward, 1862-1930
Twain, Mark, 1835-1910
Tyler, Mary Elizabeth Sawyer, 1806-1889
Tyrrell, Leon M., b. 1875
Van Loon, Hendrik Willem, 1882-1944
Washington, George, 1732-1799
Webster, Noah, 1758-1843
Whiting, Mary Elizabeth Flint, 1823-1891
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 1807-1892
Wiese, Kurt, 1887-1974
Johnson & Warner
McLoughlin Bros
Nazareth Hall
Peekskill Military Academy (Peekskill, N.Y.)
Language of Materials
Language of Materials
Language of Materials
Language of Materials