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A Guide to the Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel

Finding aid prepared by Carla Summers

University of Florida Smathers Libraries - Special and Area Studies Collections
August 2004


Descriptive Summary

Creator: Bechtel, Louise Seaman, 1894-1985
Title: Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel
Dates: 1917-1986
Abstract: The Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel document the publishing of children's literature in the United States at mid-century and the rise of women as editors and publishers in the United States. The collection contains correspondence with several famous children's books authors and illustrators.
Extent: 6 Linear feet. 10 Boxes; 1 scrapbook.
Identification: MS Group 136
Language(s): English

Biographical/Historical Note

Editor, author, lecturer on children's literature. Louise Seaman Bechtel, 1894-1985, served as Editor and Head of the Juvenile Book Department of Macmillan Publishing Company in New York City. A 1915 graduate of Vassar College, Bechtel began work for Macmillan in 1919. After leaving Macmillan in 1934, Bechtel worked as a freelance writer and lecturer. She was the editor of the children's section of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review from 1948 to 1956 and was associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, a journal on literature for children, from 1939 to 1957. She married Edwin DeTurch Bechtel in 1929. In 1980, Ms. Bechtel donated portions of her papers, an extensive book collection, correspondence and memorabilia to Vassar College.


Scope and Content

Autobiography, correspondence, notes, travel information, itineraries, receipts, speeches, writings, diaries, photographs and miscellaneous papers. The collection is arranged by into groups. The first group contains Bechtel's correspondence and writings arranged alphabetically by title, the second group contains the manuscript and notes for her autobiography, the third group contains her diaries and the final group contains scrapbooks, slides and miscellaneous materials. This collection contains extensive documentation of Ms. Bechtel's writing including her speeches and articles. Of special note in this collection is the correspondence with Berta and Elmer Hader, children's book authors. This correspondence contains extensive marginalia of delightful pen, ink and watercolor illustrations by the Haders. Box 9 contains 43 Christmas greetings illustrated by the Haders. Also included are diaries from world travels and information on a remedial reading project.


Access or Use Restrictions

Access

The collection is open for research.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.

Acquisition Information

The collection was received from the Cerimon Foundation after Ms. Bechtel's death. This Foundation was created by Ms. Bechtel to endow the George A Smathers Libraries Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature.


Contents List

Group 1: Correspondence and Writing


Box Folder
1 1 Biographical Information including:
1 1 Books Children Like and Why... The Parents Magazine, November, 1930
1 1 Books for Young People: Introducing Louise Seaman Bechtel, May Lamberton Becker, n.d.
1 1 Mr. Winkle Moves to Vassar, Nancy Willard Lindbloom and Joyce Bickerstaff Riley, Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College, Alumnae House, Poughkeepsie, NY.; Vol. LXXVII, No. 3, Spring/Summer 1981, p. 18. About Ms. Bechtel's gift to Vassar, 1981
1 2 Biographical Information on Edwin DeT. Bechtel
1 3 Booklists and Reviews
1 4 Clippings
1 5 Correspondence, 1931-1971
1 6 Correspondence, Berta and Elmer Hader (Letters from the Haders are color-illustrated), 1944-1966
1 7 Correspondence, n.d.
1 8 Genealogies, Seaman, Van Pelt and Van Brunt
1 9 Notes, Travel Notes, Poems, etc.
1 10 Other Authors
1 11-13 Other Authors, Margaret Pinckney Allen King ("Seen by Lightning," "Comics and Conduct," correspondence and poems)
1A 1 A Book List for Boys and Girls. New York: Macmillan. "First catalog made by LHS for her department at Macmillans, 1920." With notes by Bechtel on the number of titles already published and the number published under her tenure. 1920
1A 2 Macmillan Books for Boys and Girls. New York: Macmillan. With some manuscript notations by Bechtel. 1921-1927
1A 3 Macmillan Books for Boys and Girls (1928), Reading List: Catalog of Macmillan Books for Boys and Girls (1929), and The Horn Book, v.4:3 (August, 1928). Manuscript notations by Bechtel. The Horn Book includes "The First Children's Department in Book Publishing," p. 3-6, referring to Macmillan's and to Bechtel's editorship. 1928-1929
1A 4 Macmillan Books for Boys and Girls, 1920, 1926, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1962-1963, 1969 (seven catalogs) 1920-1969
2 1 Photographs - Bechtel
2 2 Photographs - Family and miscellaneous
2 3 Remedial Reading Project (includes "Betsey's New Hat"), 1937
2 4 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, A (7 items)
2 4 About Helen Sewell, The Horn Book, July 1934
2 4 About the Biancos, The Horn Book, March 1926
2 4 Adventures in a Library, 2 talks for Katonah Library, October 16, 1944 and December 1946
2 4 Adventures in Bookmaking, Vassar Quarterly, ca. 1920
2 4 The A.I.G.A. Children's Book Show, 1958
2 4 The Art of Illustrating Books for the Younger Readers, NYT Book Review, November 10, 1940
2 4 Artzybasheff, Boris (1899-1965).
2 5 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, B (8 items)
2 5 [Bedford Village Talks], n.d.
2 5 Bedford Hills Public Schools, Book Week, 1940
2 5 Beginning of Genius, Child Study, May, 1926
2 5 The Book Buyers of Tomorrow, Atlantic Monthly, 1927
2 5 The Book Nook: New Year's News From a Publisher, 1931
2 5 Bookmaking for Boys and Girls, Sept. 9, 1927
2 5 Books Before Five - A Selected List, n.d.
2 6 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, B, continued (7 items)
2 6 Books in Search of Children, 10th Bowker Memorial Speech
2 6 Books in Search of Children: An Exhibition from the Private Collection of LSB.
2 6 Books for Girls, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Sept. 18, 1927
2 6 Books for Teens, Independent Education, November, 1928
2 6 Books on the Ladder of Time
2 6 By Way of Introduction, A. A. Milne, London: Methmen & Co., 1929, a review
2 6 Brown, Margaret Wise: Laureate of the Nursery, Horn Book, June, 1958
2 7 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, C (14 items)
2 7 Can Writing be Taught? The Horn Book, November, 1940
2 7 Catholicism in Mexico, n.d.
2 7 Celebrating 50th Anniversary of Children's Libraries in US, ALA Convention, July, 1950
2 7 "Changes in the Children's Book World: 1924-1949", n.d.
2 7 Children and Poetry in Several Eras, n.d.
2 7 Children and Their Books, The Baptist, 1926
2 7 Childrens Books in Spain, n.d.
2 7 Christmas Books, 1961
2 7 Christmas Books for Boys and Girls, The Club Candle, ca. 1920
2 7 "Collecting" People, n.d.
2 7 The Comics and Children's Books, The Horn Book, 1941
2 7 Comics and Culture, n.d.
2 7 Comics and Culture and a Harvard Report, 1940
2 7 The "Comics"- The Revolt of the Children, n.d.
2 8 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, E-G (10 items)
2 8 Eighteenth Century Writers, Skidmore College Lecture, August, 1949
2 8 England in Words and Pictures: A Treasure Ship Article, The Classmate, 1930
2 8 Finding Books in Europe, n.d.
2 8 Finding Stories for Problem Readers, The Children's News, March, 1936
2 8 The First European Trip for the American Express Company, 1917 and 1920
2 8 From Dr. Doolittle to Superman: 25 Years of Children's Books, n.d.
2 8 The Giant in Children, 1941
2 8 Giving the Young Person a Book, 1924
2 8 Graduating Into Good Reading, The Classmate, February, 1936
2 8 Grolier Club, New York City, On Ladies Night, Dec. 1954
3 1 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, H-L (13 items)
3 1 A Hands up Talk, 1941
3 1 The Hobby-Horse and Pegasus, n.d.
3 1 A Home Nature Library, n.d.
3 1 The Horn Book [The Louise Bechtel issue], August, 1928
3 1 How Some Books Came To Be, 1928?
3 1 The Illustration of the Christmas Book, The New York Herald, Dec. 2, 1923
3 1 [Introduction], n.d.
3 1 Jury for the First Show of Children's Books, American Institute of Graphic Arts, 1941
3 1 The Jury Reports, American Society of Graphic Arts, 1944
3 1 King, Margaret, Eulogy, Johnson Chapel, February 17, 1967
3 1 Lathrop Exhibit, Mrs. Bechtel's account, n.d.
3 1 A Little Talk About Poetry, 1940?
3 1 Long, Long Ago, MacMillan Children's Book Dept. Newsletter, 1969
3 2 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, M-P (17 items)
3 2 MacMillan Children's Book Department, n.d.
3 2 Massee, May, Publisher, The Horn Book, July-August, 1936
3 2 Modern Book Making for Boys and Girls, Independent Education, Nov. 1927
3 2 More Books in Search of More Children, Geneseo, NY, July 1949
3 2 My first speech, National Arts Club, 1922
3 2 My last speech at NYPL, n.d.
3 2 Ned and the arts, n.d.
3 2 New Books for Boys and Girls, America and its Friends, n.d.
3 2 Not Only in Spring, The Atlantic Bookshelf, 1927
3 2 Notes on Children's Books, Publishers' Weekly, 1920
3 2 Nursery School Snapshots , three short stories, n.d.
3 2 An Old Poetry Scrap Book, n.d.
3 2 On The Ladder Of Time, Dedication, new wing, St. Mathew's House, November 6, 1960
3 2 The Patient Speaks, Library Bureau, United Hospital Fund, December, 1941
3 2 Pratt Institute, January 1941
3 2 Presentation of the Julia Isham Taylor Books, Cosmopolitan Club, February 7, 1940
3 2 Prose Style for Boys and Girls, 1941
3 3 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, R-S (11 items)
3 3 Rackman, Arthur: His Life and Work, n.d
3 3 Reading as Experience, Child Study Association, 1936
3 3 A Rightful Heritage, Pittsburgh, Book Week, 1953
3 3 Sewell, Helen and Her Art for Children, Horn Book, 1946
3 3 Shelving Child Book Problems, Charm, 1928
3 3 A Short List of Christmas Books, n.d.
3 3 Short Stories for Short People, n.d.
3 3 Sixty Top Books for School Use, November, 1952
3 3 Some Help for the Puzzled Parent, 1930
3 3 Some Modern Authors, Elementary English Review, 1929
3 3 The Story of Mr. Winkle's Room, n.d.
3 4 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, T (7 items)
3 4 Teacher with a Gun, 1939?
3 4 That Budding Sense of Humor, The National Parent-Teacher, 1935
3 4 Thinking About Children's Classics, The Packet, 1955
3 4 To England and France, 1952
3 4 Trends, High Spots, Puzzles, Forecasts, of Fifty Years, NYPL 1960
3 4 Tribute to Babouska, Princess Marie Gagarin, 1864-1946,
3 4 Tribute to Margery Bianco, Elementary English Review, 1935
3 5 Speeches and Writings by Louise Seaman Bechtel, V-Y (9 items)
3 5 Vassar College Class Book, 1915
3 5 What is Literature for Children, c. 1940
3 5 When a Publisher Makes a Catalog, 1929
3 5 Who Are Your Heroes?, 1945
3 5 Why Do We Read Fiction?, 193?
3 5 WJZ Broadcast, n.d.
3 5 Women and the Book Publishing House, News-Bulletin, Bureau of Vocational Information, 1924
3 5 Writers' Conference, Boulder, Colorado, 1940
3 5 Your Christmas Picture, Classmate, December 1936
3 6 Speeches and writing, no title
3 7 Speeches, articles and odd jobs by L.S. and L.S.B (list of articles, publications, etc.)
3 8 Travel, Notes
4 1 Travels, Notes, itineraries and receipts
4 2 Travels, Notes


Group 2: Autobiography


Box Folder
4 3 Chapter 1: At the Turn of the Century
4 3 Chapter 2: Scholar or Editor
4 3 Chapter 3: The Cold World Turns Kind
4 4 Chapter 4: To Be Released On...
4 4 Chapter 5: "Good Morning Mrs. Seaman, Pray Be Seated"
4 5 Chapter 6: Catalogues and Classics
4 5 Chapter 7: Interlude, Europe
4 6 Chapter 8: Some Famous Books (missing)
4 6 Chapter 9: Very Special
4 6 Chapter 10: Riches in Small Packages
4 7 Chapter 10: "Riches in Small Packages" continued
4 7 Chapter 11: All In the Days Work
4 7 Chapter 12: The Wonders of Reality
5 1 Chapter 13: All Those Speeches!
5 1 Chapter 14: Interlude: An Anthology
5 2 Chapter 15: Odd Jobs for A Teacher
5 2 Chapter 16: The Old Hand Returns to the Fray
5 2 Chapter 17: Epilogue: In Mr. Winkle's Room
5 3 Autobiography, miscellaneous pages and notes


Group 3: Diaries, Slides, Scrapbooks, and Miscellaneous Materials


Box Folder
5 1 Diaries, 1918-1926
5 1 1. School Notes, n.d.
5 1 2. Collected Poems, 1918
5 1 3. Poetry scrapbook, 1920
5 1 4. Reading, 1922
5 1 5. School days, 1922-1926
6 1 Diaries, 1925-1935
6 1 6. Macmillan trip, 1925-1926
6 1 7. Untitled, 1927
6 1 8. Chilmark, 1928
6 1 9-10. Wedding/Morocco, 1929
6 1 11. Hospital year/learning to walk, 1931?
6 1 12-14. Europe, 1931
6 1 15. Europe, 1933
6 1 16. Egypt and Sicily, 1935
7 1 Diaries, 1925-1935
7 1 17-18. England and Paris, 1937
7 1 19. Notes, lectures, books, 1940-1944
7 1 20. Home, office, roses, 1946
7 1 21. Mexico, 1947
7 1 22. Paris, 1947-1948
7 1 23-24. France and Spain, 1949
7 1 25-27. Europe, 1955
7 2 Scrapbook: About Some Famous Books. Clippings made over many years by LSB (includes reviews of "Books in Search of Children" and Macmillan celebration of LSB 50th anniversary), n.d.
7 3 Cousin Jessie's Undone Children's Book (notebook with illustrations by Jessie Van Brunt and text by Bechtel), n.d.
7 4 A Bibliography of Children's Art Literature by Kenneth Marantz, 1965
7 5 Catalogue of An Exhibition for Books for Children (Towner Art Gallery), 1949
7 6 Books for the Teen Age (New York Public Library), 1986
7 7 "Development of Lifetime Reading Habits," by Jean D. Grambs, 1954
7 8 Signal: Approaches to Children's Books, 1970 September
7 9 "Hidden Hungers: The Care and Feeding of the Young Reader" by Frank G. Jennings, 1955
7 10 According to Us, Claremont Children's Book Center, 1966
7 11 T'ing Wing's Day in the City (cut-outs and text), n.d.
8 1 Slides of children's books published at Macmillan by Bechtel (used in lectures)
9 1 Christmas Greetings from Berta and Elmer Hader. Four printed, colored illustrated Christmas greetings, sizes 5x6.5" from 9.5x12.5", two with a supplied date of 1926, and one 1920s. Two have autograph greeting to Louise and Ned, signed "Berta" and "Berta and Elmer." 1926 and n.d.
9 2 Christmas Greetings from Berta and Elmer Hader. 39 printed, colored illustrated Christmas posters, approximately 18x12". Twenty-one have supplied dates of 1937-1975; the others are undated. Almost all have autograph greeting on the verso to "Louise and Ned" from "Berta and Elmer." 1937-1975 and n.d.
9 3 Scrapbook: Hospital Memoirs 1931-32 and Old Christmas Cards. Includes illustrations by Field, the Haders, Van Loon, etc. (Not stored in box) 1931-1932 and n.d.


Selected Subjects and Access Terms

Authors--Diaries
Bechtel, Louise Seaman, 1894-1985--Correspondence
Bechtel, Louise Seaman, 1894-1985--Diaries.
Bechtel, Louise Seaman, 1894-1985--Journeys
Bianco, Margery Williams, 1880-1944
Children's literature
Field, Rachel, 1894-1942
Hader, Berta--Correspondence
Hader, Elmer, 1889---Correspondence
Illustrators--Correspondence
Petersham, Maud Fuller, 1890-1971
Petersham, Miska, 1888-1960
Women editors
Women in the book industries and trade



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