Black Experience Holdings Study

Purpose of Study:

At various times The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection has been queried about its holdings of books and other materials pertaining to African Americans, their history and unique culture, and the reflection of that history and culture in children's literature. Sadly, until recently those questions could be answered only in very general terms.

As the primary mission of the collection is to hold, preserve and make available resources for the purpose of research and teaching in children's literature, and given the unique role of The University of Southern Mississippi's Archives and Special Collections as the primary depository of documents and oral histories pertaining to Civil Rights in Mississippi, it was determined that a study be undertaken.


In the fall of 1999, staff began to identify and inventory books written by, for, or about African Americans in the holdings of the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection and in other library collections at the University of Southern Mississippi. Various bibliographies and books were used to identify titles for searching the USM online catalog and the de Grummond Collection's uncataloged holdings. One report has been completed thus far, using Charlemae Hill Rollins' list of recommended books in her groundbreaking work We Build Together (1948).

A database was created in Access to record the author, illustrator, publisher, date of publication, and USM call number for each title. When the collection owned several editions of the same title, each edition was included in the holdings inventory. This was done for the purpose of comparison between editions. For example, Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton was originally illustrated by Stephanie Douglas when it was published by Viking in 1976. In 1992 Doubleday republished the title with Michael Hayes as the illustrator.


To date more than 5400 records have been entered into the database. Total USM holdings in all collections as of November 1, 2001 are recorded in the table below. 

Black Experience Holdings Study
as of November 1, 2001

Juvenile Collections TOTALS
de Grummond Juvenile Cook Cox
2857 208 86 3151
Special Collections and Cook Library 338
All USM Library Holdings 3489

For more information about this study contact Ann Mulloy Ashmore, Collection Specialist at The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection.