Saturday, November 19, 2011

Special Collections Library

Thank you to Holly Sorscher at the University of Michigan's Special Collection Library.  Holly set up an amazing trip for us. 

We saw signed copies of the books that Joan Blos donated to the library.  

Holly showed us archival materials from the collection.   There was a notebook Joan Blos kept while on a trip to Colorado researching information for her book The Heroine of the Titanic.

We looked at rough drafts of some of her books.  This is a preliminary copy of Nellie Bly's Monkey.  We could see how Joan typed an original draft then covered it by hand written notes.  The children realized there were still further changes in the published copy.  
 Authors and illustrators rarely meet or talk to each other, but when Joan Blos was writing her books, illustrators and authors worked closely together.  There were letters that went back and forth with suggestions for changes.  The illustrator made sketches that the author saw before making a final colorful painting.

Another treat was to hear a passage from a book Joan thought about writing.  It was going to be a sequel to her book, Old Henry .  It was to be called "Old Henrietta".  It was in the same poetic style but unfortunately she never finished this version.  We are one of very few people have ever seen/heard this idea of Ms Blos.

Holly also told us that no one can take out the books in the Special Collections Library.  The only way to read these books is to make an appointment.  Then they will have what you want to read available for you to read in their reading room.  Many people come to the library to learn about the history of books, illustrators, and authors.  They even come to see how people in different eras advertised books.

Our trip ended, with Holly reading one of Joan Blos's books that is out of print:  Lottie's Circus.  Holly told us as we were leaving that Joan Blos is still living in Ann Arbor.  If we write her letters, Holly will make sure Joan will receive them.  

Your child might also mention that we went up to the 8th floor to look out the windows.  While we were there we saw my sister and Owen's mom.  After our visit with Holly, we went into one room of "the stacks" just to get a small feel for how many books there are in the library.  We estimated millions.  

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