The University of Southern Mississippi -- de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
Contributor List & Finding Aid Index| Special Collections
Collection Title: Lillian Morrison Papers
Collection Number: DG0713
Inclusive Dates: 1965-1993
Volume: 2.65 cu. ft. (7 boxes)
Provenance : Donated by Lillian Morrison from 1976-1993.
Copyright: The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U. S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.
Lillian Morrison was born on October 27, 1917 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her parents were immigrants from Russia and moved the family six times during her childhood. She and her younger brother were very close and played stick ball or box ball, skipped rope or roller skated in the city streets. It was during this time that she started reciting rhymes and chants. Her father liked to read and quote Shakespeare and her mother told folk stories, both of which motivated her to read.
Unlike many other poets, Ms. Morrison did not write poetry as a child or a teenager. She graduated from Douglass College in 1938 with a degree in mathematics and a library science degree in 1942 from Columbia University. It was not until after graduation, when she worked at the New York Public Library, that she became interested in reading and writing poetry. Her inspiration for writing came from the same excitement she got playing with her brother as a child.
While working at a library branch in Harlem, she heard verses children had written in their autograph books. Her first book, Yours Till Niagara Falls (1950), is based on the verses she had seen and heard. In the revised edition, published in 1990, she added new verses and chose a new illustrator, Sylvie Kantrovitz Wickstrom . One of her other books, Best Wishes, Amen (1974), is also a collection of "autograph verses."
In addition to writing poetry, Ms. Morrison has also worked as a coordinator of young adult services, a young adults' librarian, as well as an instructor and lecturer at Rutgers and Columbia Universities. She was also the general editor for two Crowell series publications, Poems of the World and Crowell Poets . She has also contributed poems to Prairie Schooner , Sports Illustrated , and Atlantic . In 1987, she was awarded the ALA Grolier Award for her "contributions in stimulating the interest of young readers."
Contemporary Authors , vol. 22NR, p. 331.
The collection contains correspondence, typescripts, galleys, and proofs for ten titles. The titles are arranged alphabetically. Within each title, the materials are arranged according to the probable order in which they were created. The correspondence was separated by title with the exception of letters written to the de Grummond Collection.
Two of the books written by Ms. Morrison, Yours Till Niagara Falls and Best Wishes, Amen are compilations of childhood verses, such as "Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue" that were written by children she came in contact with while working at a library in Harlem. The books were published in a format that is similar to an autograph book's size and shape. The collection contains materials for Yours Till Niagara Falls when it was republished in 1990 with new autograph additions and updated illustrations by Sylvie Kantrovitz Wickstrom. There are typescripts for both books. There are also galleys and blues for Best Wishes, Amen and proofs for Yours Till Niagara Falls .
Ms. Morrison is noted for her ability to incorporate movement and motion into poetry. As a child, she enjoyed playing games with her brother and her poetry gives her "the same feelings of excitement that I had as a child running fast." Four of the books in the collection , Rhythm Road, Sprints and Distances , The Break Dance Kids , and The Sidewalk Racer , are sports and motion poetry. There are typescripts for Rhythm Road, Sprints and Distances , and The Sidewalk Racer and proofs for all of the titles. Sprints and Distances and The Sidewalk Racer were both chosen as ALA Notable books.
Whistling the Morning In, also a book of poems, is written in both free-verse and rhyme. It is the largest part of the collection with numerous proofs, color laminated proofs, typeset proofs, press sheets, typescripts, and other pre-production materials. There are three sets of color laminated proofs at various stages of production. The illustration and layout for the dust jacket by Joel Cook is also in the collection.
A. Correspondence (1976-1993)
B. Books (1965-1992)
A. Correspondence (1976-1993)
B. Books (1965-1992)
Processed: February 1998
This finding aid is a product of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.