Historical Children’s Collection

Explore more than 3,000 volumes of children’s books including fairy tales, pop-up books, picture books, fables from around the world and educational books (primers, readers and geography books).

Materials in this collection can be located through Library Search.

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Children's pop-up book.J. Whirler Pop-up and Children's Literature Archive

Acquired from J. Whirler Books of Portland, Oregon, which specialized in children’s and pop-up books, this collection focuses on moveable and miniature books. It also includes articles, newsletters, book fair programs, publisher advertisement bookmarks, catalogs, directories, postcard advertisement, assorted issues of children’s literature serials and miscellaneous correspondence to bookseller Trevor Blake.

Illustration from the Princess and The Peackocks book. Princess and the Peacocks Archive (1992-93)

"The Princess and the Peacocks Or, the Story of the Room" by Linda Merrill and Sarah Ridley was published in 1993. Tennesee Dixon, the illustrator, compiled this collection of photographs, drawings, paintings, proofs and reference materials used by the artist.

Collection history

This collection began with donations from local librarians, Louise Singley and Eunice LeFevre. Both were active members of The Friends of the Libraries at Western Michigan University. Miss Singley was a children's librarian at the Kalamazoo Public Library for 28 years. During her time there, she became known as "The Story Book Lady." Eunice LeFevre also enjoyed books for children. She donated many historical educational books for children because of the insight they can bring to the development of young minds and the changing perception of childhood.

Later significant donations to this collection include Peter Rabbit books and other children's books donated by M.A. Haynes-Johnson, WMU Professor Emerita of English, and the J. Whirler and the Jean "Sam" Tyler pop-up and movable books collections. More recently, a number of important textbooks used in instruction at the Western State Normal School have been added to the collection.