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Alice Dalgliesh papers

Call Number: MS Am.2396

Scope and Contents

The Alice Dalgliesh papers span the years 1924-1979 and documents Dalgliesh’s career as an author and illustrator of children’s books, editor, and teacher of children’s literature and story writing. Moreover, it tracks her creative process through editorial notes, corrections, original author/illustrator artwork, and illustration layouts. The papers contain production files that were intended for her course on children’s literature at Columbia University, a dummy of a published book, and a complete manuscript draft of her novel The Courage of Sarah Noble (1954), a recipient of a Newbery Honor award. Dalgliesh’s teaching materials, drafts of her published and unpublished stories, and book reviews provide insight into her writing process, her teaching pedagogy, and her expertise in the genre. The collection also contains a handmade book, book lists, lecture notes, and incoming correspondence from authors, editors, publishers, and fans and a movie contract.


  • 1924 - 1979


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Items in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. In most cases, the Boston Public Library does not hold the copyright to the items in our collections. It is the sole responsibility of the user to make their own determination about what types of usage might be permissible under U.S. and international copyright law.

Alice Dalgliesh (1893-1979)

Alice Dalgliesh (1893-1979) was an American author of children’s books, a teacher of children’s literature, and founding editor of Charles Scribner’s Sons children’s book department. She was born in Trinidad, on October 7, 1893, to John and Alice (Haynes) Dalgliesh. When she was 13, her family immigrated to England. She came to the United States at 19 to study kindergarten education at the Pratt Institute in New York City. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Teacher’s College at Columbia University, where she later taught courses in children’s literature and story writing. Dalgliesh published her first children’s book, A Happy School Year, in 1924 and went on to write forty others. Two of her books were listed as Newbery Honor Books, including the historical novel The Courage of Sarah Noble, published in 1954. She wrote books for adults and book reviews for several journals. Dalgliesh became the children’s book editor at Scribner’s in 1934 and served as editor for 26 years, during which time she published works by Robert A. Heinlein and illustrator Katherine Milhous, among others. After retiring in 1960, she edited “Books for Young Readers” for The Saturday Review of Literature from 1961-1966. Alice Dalgliesh died on June 11, 1979, in Woodbury, Connecticut.


0.46 Cubic Feet (2 document boxes and 3 oversized folders)

Language of Materials



The Alice Dalgliesh papers span the years 1924-1979 and document Dalgliesh’s career as an author and illustrator of children’s books, teacher of children’s literature and story writing, and editor. Included are original author/illustrator artworks, teaching materials, drafts of her published and unpublished stories, and book reviews that provide insight into her pedagogy, her writing process, and her expertise in the genre. Records include clippings, correspondence, production drawings, notebooks, and drafts.


The papers are arranged in three series: Series l. Drafts, production materials, and unpublished manuscripts; Series ll. Teaching materials; and Series lll. Correspondence.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Alice Dalgliesh, 1979.

Related Materials

Along with her papers, Dalgliesh donated a number of books from her personal collection to the BPL. For a full list of books donated by Dalgliesh, search the library's catalog for "Dalgliesh, Alice, 1893-1979, former owner" or contact Special Collections.

Processing Information

This collection is held within the Boston Public Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Department's American Manuscripts collection. Materials in this collection were preliminarily cataloged as part of the 2020 Rare Books and Manuscripts Department manuscript retrospective conversion project. Descriptive data for this project was transcribed from catalog cards or earlier typed inventories of manuscripts. Item descriptions were then converted into finding aids in order to ease access to complete collections and materials with shared provenance.

Statement on harmful description

Archival description reflects the biases of time periods and cultures in which it was created and may include direct quotations or descriptions that use inappropriate or harmful language. Creator provided descriptions may be maintained in order to preserve the context in which the collection was created and/or used. Legacy description and potentially offensive content may be made available online until a collection can be reprocessed because the access that they provide to primary source materials is uniquely valuable to the research community at large. Our efforts to repair outdated descriptions and to describe our collections more equitably are iterative and ongoing.

Guide to the Alice Dalgliesh papers
Kim Reynolds and Eve Neiger
2023 July
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

About this library

Part of the Boston Public Library Archives & Special Collections Repository

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