Happy 60th Birthday, Kerlan Collection!

By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press

This weekend, I attended a celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Kerlan Collection at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Irvin Kerlan, a University of Minnesota graduate, worked as chief of medical research for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in Washington, D.C. He began collecting children’s books after his doctor suggested that he needed a quiet hobby.Kerlan cake In 1949, Dr. Kerlan donated his collection to the University of Minnesota. It has continued to grow, and it currently contains more than 100,000 children’s books as well as original manuscripts, artwork, and color proofs for more than 12,000 children’s books.Leonard MarcusLeonard S. Marcus is considerably less blurry in person than he is in this photo.

As part of the festivities, Leonard S. Marcus spoke about the research he has done for some of his books—research that has most definitely included visits to the Kerlan Collection.

As you would expect, the celebration also included a tasty cake and a chance for guests to tour an exhibit of items from the collection. These included a manuscript page from Dragons in the Waters by Madeline L’Engle:Dragons in the WatersA piece of art from Love and Roast Chicken by Minnesotan Barbara Knutson:Love and Roast Chicken A pastel illustration study from Corduroy by Don Freeman:Corduroy

The Kerlan Collection is a fascinating resource for anyone who loves children’s literature. If you live nearby or have an upcoming trip to the Twin Cities, it’s definitely worth a visit!