de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi



VICKI COBB PAPERS

Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
DG0200
1964-1997
5.70 cu.ft. (16 boxes)

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory

Provenance
Material was donated by Vicki Cobb from 1985 to 1997.

Restrictions
Noncirculating; available for research.

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.

Biographical Sketch
Vicki Cobb (nee Wolf) was born on August 19, 1938 in New York City. She credits her parents and a progressive education for inspiring her to enjoy hands-on activities in general and science in particular. She received her bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1958, and her master's degree from Columbia University in 1960. She was a researcher at Sloan Kettering Institute and Pfizer & Co. from 1953-1961, and a high school science teacher from 1961-1964. While pregnant with her first child (she was married in 1960 and divorced in 1983), Cobb quit teaching and began writing. In 1969, she published her first science book for children, Logic. Since then she has written approximately fifty books for children in several different age groups. Her subject matter is almost exclusively science-related. Cobb believes that science writers should eschew the dry, dispassionate voice that usually characterizes the genre. Instead, her colleagues should infuse their works with wit, enthusiasm and the writer's personality. Cobb has also worked as a writer for children's television programs. Beginning in 1972, Cobb wrote and hosted "The Science Game" for a New York cable company. The show featured experiments which children could reproduce at home. Cobb also wrote briefly for the "Good Morning America" talk show, and conducted numerous science demonstrations for both students and teachers. She won the Children's Science Book Award from the New York Academy of Sciences in 1981. She also won the Eva L. Gordon Award from the American Nature Study Society in 1985.

Scope and Content
Cobb has written several how-to books featuring science experiments which both educate and entertain children. Chemically Active!; Science Experiments You Can Eat; More Science Experiments You Can Eat; and Magic...Naturally! are all documented in this collection. There is at least one typescript for every title. For Chemically Active! there are typescripts, galleys, proofs and blues. Science Experiments You Can Eat is represented with typescripts, proofs and blues. For More Science Experiments You Can Eat, there are typescripts, galleys and layouts.

Several of the books in this collection focus on explaining some natural phenomenon and man's relation with it. More Power to You, Why Can't I Live Forever?, Why Can't You Unscramble an Egg?, Why Doesn't the Earth Fall Up?, Why Doesn't the Sun Burn Out? are all documented with one or more typescripts, as well as galleys and/or proofs. There are also layouts for Why Doesn't the Sun Burn Out? and folded and gathered sheets for Why Can't I Live Forever? There is one typescript in the collection relating to the book Gases.

Cobb has also written many books examining the dynamics and history of everyday items and activities. For Feeding Yourself, Getting Dressed, The Scoop on Ice Cream, The Secret Life of Cosmetics, The Secret Life of Hardware, and Writing It Down the collection contains one or more typescripts, and one or more galleys. In addition, there are proofs, blues and layouts for The Secret Life of Cosmetics and proofs and blues for The Secret Life of Hardware.

Before she began writing books for children, Cobb produced two manuscripts which at one point were to be published as high school textbooks. One of these books addressed molecular biology, while the other concerned chemistry. Cobb also consulted with a publisher about a prospective textbook to be titled "How Animals Communicate." She gave her opinion regarding the effectiveness of the text, and contributed to the teacher's manual accompanying the book.

In 1969, Ms. Cobb wrote a teacher's guide to accompany a series of study prints about natural subjects, such as desert life and animal babies. The collection holds typescripts and correspondence for five such manuals.

Series and Subseries

A. Published Books (1969-1997)

B. Unpublished or Unidentified Books (1964, 1967-1968)

C. Elementary Science Films (1968-1969)