de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
3.90 cu.ft. (13 boxes)

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


Materials received from James Cross Giblin between 1990 and 1993.


Non-circulating; available for research.


This 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

James Cross Giblin was born on July 8, 1933 in Cleveland, Ohio. He spent his childhood in Ohio, then attended Northwestern University in 1951. He later transferred to Western Reserve University (now Case Western Reserve University) where he received his B.A. in 1954. In 1955, Giblin received a M.F.A. from Columbia University in creative writing.

In his own words, Giblin grew up, "shy, bookish, and probably a little spoiled." He attributes his love for children's books and reading to his mother. As a young boy, Giblin loved comics, and with the help of his mother, he drew his own comic strips.

Giblin's interest in writing developed throughout his life. In addition to his early comic strips, he wrote for his junior high and high school newspapers, and tried his hand at play writing while at Western Reserve University. His first play, "My Bus Is Always Late," was produced at Western Reserve University, and published by the Dramatic Publishing Company in 1954.

Giblin decided to pursue playwriting, and after earning his M. F. A., he remained in New York City. He wrote several original TV plays, but none were sold. Giblin's main project at this time was adapting the William Styron novel, Lie Down in Darkness, into a play for a Broadway production. When this venture did not materialize, Giblin found himself to be "disappointed, depressed, and broke."

Giblin then began working as a special order clerk at the British Book Centre. It was with this job that he began his career in publishing. After joining the staff at Criterion Books in 1959, he decided to concentrate on children's books. He worked at Lothrop, Lee & Shepard from 1962-1967 as an associate editor. In 1967, Giblin joined Seabury Press as the editor-in-chief of its children's division which later became Clarion Books.

While working as an editor, Giblin resumed his writing career. He contributed many articles about children's books to periodicals, and in 1980 he collaborated with Dale Ferguson on The Scarecrow Book. In 1989, Giblin retired to contributing editor status at Clarion after deciding that he was having too much difficulty juggling his role as editor-in-chief with his emerging writing career.

James Cross Giblin has been a contributor to magazines such as Writer's Digest, Cricket, School Library Journal, Horn Book, and Publisher's Weekly. He has also won several awards for his writing. Chimney Sweeps: Yesterday and Today (1982) was an ALA Notable Book in 1982, and received both the American Book Award and the Society of Children's Book Writers' (SCBW) Golden Kite Award in 1983. A 1985 ALA Notable Book, The Truth About Santa Claus (1985), was also a Boston-Globe Horn Book Honor Book for 1986 in the nonfiction category. Giblin received another Golden Kite Award in 1984 for Walls: Defenses Throughout History (1984). Several of his other books have received ALA Notable Books designations.


Scope and Content

The collection contains material related to eleven books published between 1982 and 1992. The eleven titles represented in the collection are: Chimney Sweeps; Edith Wilson; Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags; From Hand to Mouth; Let There Be Light; Milk; The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone; The Truth About Santa Claus; The Truth About Unicorns; Walls; and Writing Books for Young People. Material for the eleven books is arranged alphabetically by title; for each title the correspondence, if any, is first and the other material is organized in the probable order in which it was created.

Chimney Sweeps: Yesterday and Today (1982) traces the history of the chimney sweep from the 12th to the 20th century. For this title the collection contains correspondence between Giblin and his editor at Crowell. There is also correspondence between Giblin and Chris Curtis, the sweep who inspired Giblin to write the book. Also held are four typescript drafts, black and white photographs, two jacket proofs, and reviews of the book along with announcements and acceptance remarks for the American Book Award and the Golden Kite Award.

Giblin wrote Edith Wilson: The Woman Who Ran the United States in 1992. The collection contains four typescript drafts, the first of which contains editorial questions and comments. Also included are corrected galleys and proofs, a pencil tracing of the cover illustration, and two brochures from the Woodrow Wilson House.

Fireworks, Picnics, and Flags: The Story of the Fourth of July Symbols (1983) explains the importance of the Declaration of Independence, and describes some of the symbols and celebrations associated with the Fourth of July. Correspondence between Giblin and his editor at Clarion, and two typescript drafts are in the collection. Corrected galleys, reviews, an announcement for the Reader's Choice Award, and jacket design with editorial correspondence to the illustrator, Ursula Arndt, are also held.

From Hand to Mouth: Or, How We Invented Knives, Forks, Spoons, and Chopsticks & the Table Manners to go With Them (1987). The correspondence for this book documents Giblin's change of publishers from Little, Brown to Crowell, and discusses plans for a Danish edition. Galleys and proofs are included in the collection, as well as a number of black and white photographs which were used in the book to illustrate the development of eating utensils.

In 1988, Giblin wrote Let There Be Light: A Book About Windows, which follows the development of windows in homes, offices, places of worship, and public buildings. The collection contains four typescript drafts and two jacket proofs for this title. In addition to book reviews and award announcements for this title, there are several black and white photographs and a color layout of stained glass windows which were presented in the book.

Giblin traces the fight for pure milk to the present day, and the continuing crusade for consumer protection in Milk: The Fight For Purity. Correspondence between Giblin and his editor at Crowell are held, as well as three typescript drafts and galleys. Research material, gathered by Joan Blos, on PBB poisoning of cattle in Michigan is included. Thirty five black and white photographs which were used to illustrate the book, as well as twenty which were not used, can also be found in the collection.

The collection for The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone: Key to Ancient Egypt (1990) contains the original manuscript in addition to five typescript drafts. Also held are black and white photographs, corrected galleys and corrected proofs.

The Truth About Santa Claus (1985) traces the development of Santa Claus over the centuries. The collection, which includes correspondence between Giblin and his editor at Crowell, two typescript drafts, photographs, galleys and proofs, and photocopies of reviews, demonstrates the development of a book from its beginning to the finished product.

The Truth About Unicorns (1991) discusses the entire history of the unicorn by intermixing myths with facts about the real-life creatures that inspired them. Three typescript drafts, two sets of corrected galleys, and a set of proofs are included.

Giblin's 1984 book, Walls: Defenses Throughout History explains the reasons why walls have been built throughout history, and the materials and methods used to build them. Editorial correspondence, more than fifty black and white photographs, and line drawings are also held.

Writing Books for Young People (1990) is a guidebook designed to assist with the writing and marketing of book for young readers. Giblin not only discusses "Getting Ready to Write" and "Finding Good Ideas," but he guides the novice writer through the publication process by discussing topics such as book proposals, editors' rejection letters, contracts, and reprint rights. The correspondence between Giblin and his editor at The Writer, Inc. spans a number of years from 1984 to 1992. There are three typescript drafts and two sets of corrected proofs for this title.

Series and Subseries

A. Books (1982-1992)

Box Inventory


A. Books

CHIMNEY SWEEPS: YESTERDAY AND TODAY by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Margot Tomes (New York: Crowell, 1982). 1/1 Correspondence between Giblin, Chris Curtis, and editor, 1980-1982, photocopies, 17 items. 1/2 German research material with translations, 9 items. 1/3 Typescript, copy edited, first draft, July 1981, 38 pp. 1/4 Typescript, edited, November 1981, 20 pp. Bibliography, 2 pp. 1/5 Typescript, photocopy, 35 pp. Typescript, final, copy edited, 43 pp. 1/6 Photographs, black and white, 9 items. Captions for photographs, copies of photos with photographer's comments, 9 pp. 1/7 Jacket proofs, 2 items 1/8 Publisher catalog 1/9 Reviews, photocopies and newspaper articles, 13 items. American Book Awards, correspondence announcements, copy of acceptance remarks, 8 items. Golden Kite Award, announcement, copy of acceptance remarks, 2 items. Copy of a student poem to Giblin with teacher's remarks. EDITH WILSON: THE WOMAN WHO RAN THE UNITED STATES by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Michele Laporte (New York: Viking, 1992). 2/1 Typescript, first draft, 50 pp. 2/2 First draft pages, editor's questions and suggestions, 19 pp. 2/3 Typescript, photocopy, edited, May 1991, 56 pp. 2/4 Typescript, photocopy of July 1991 revision, copy edited, 56 pp. 2/5 Typescript, final draft, copy edited, 60 pp. 2/6 Galleys, corrected, 27 pp. 2/7 Proofs, corrected, 32 pp. 2/8 Photograph references, photocopies, 20 pp. Wilson House brochures, 2 items Newsletters, 2 items. Pencil tracing of cover illustration, 1 item. FIREWORKS, PICNICS, AND FLAGS: THE STORY OF THE FOURTH OF JULY SYMBOLS by James Cross Giblin, illustrated by Ursula Arndt (New York: Clarion, 1983). 3/1 Correspondence between Giblin and editor, photocopies, 6 items. 3/2 Typescripts, first draft, editor's comments and suggestions, 55 pp. 3/3 Typescript, final draft, copy edited, 71 pp. 3/4 Picture research, photocopies, 23 pp. Brochures, 2 items. Newspaper articles, 2 items. 3/5 Jacket design, editorial correspondence to illustrator, 4 pp. 3/6 Galleys, corrected, 58 pp. 3/7 Reviews, photocopies, 8 items. Reader's Choice Award announcement, 1 pp. FROM HAND TO MOUTH: OR, HOW WE INVENTED KNIVES, FORKS, SPOONS, AND CHOPSTICKS & THE TABLE MANNERS TO GO WITH THEM by James Cross Giblin (New York: Crowell, 1987). 4/1 Correspondence between Giblin and editor, photocopies, 20 items. Correspondence between Giblin and Danish editor, photocopies, 3 items. 4/2 Typescript, with bibliography, edited, 64 pp. 4/3 Typescript, copy edited, 88 pp. 4/4 Galleys, corrected, 48 pp. 4/5 Proofs, corrected, questions flagged throughout, 43 pp. 4/6 Proofs, corrected, 53 pp. 4/7 Photographs, black and white, 12 items. 4/8 Photographs, black and white, 12 items. LET THERE BE LIGHT: A BOOK ABOUT WINDOWS by James Cross Giblin (New York: Crowell, 1988). 5/1 Correspondence between Giblin and editors, photocopies, 4 items. 5/2 Typescript, first draft, September 1987, front matter 6 pp., pp. 1-49. 5/3 Typescript, first draft, pp. 50-107. Captions for stained glass insert, 2 pp. Captions for black and white illustrations, 9 pp. 5/4 Typescript, photocopy, October 1987 revision, front matter 8 pp., pp. 1-49. 5/5 Typescript, photocopy, October 1987 revision, pp. 50-107. Captions for stained glass insert, 2 pp. Captions for black and white illustrations, 9 pp. 5/6 Photographs, black and white, 21 items. Layout of color insert, 8 pp. on 2 sheets. 5/7 Jacket proofs, 2 items. 5/8 Reviews, photocopies, 27 items. 5/9 Announcements of awards, acceptance remarks, photocopies, 5 items. Fan mail, photocopies, 2 items. MILK: THE FIGHT FOR PURITY by James Cross Giblin (New York: Crowell, 1986). 6/1 Correspondence between Giblin and editor, requests for information, photocopies, 30 items. 6/2 Research on PBB poisoning of cattle in Michigan, photocopies, 35 items. 6/3-6/4 Typescript, first draft. 6/3 Front Matter 2 pp., pp. 1-45. 6/4 pp. 46-58. Bibliography, 3 pp. Captions, 5 pp. 6/5 Typescript, copy edited, front matter 12 pp., text 68 pp. Index, 12 pp. Captions, 5 pp. Galley, 1 pp. 6/6 Photographs, used in book, black and white, 18 items. 6/7 Photographs, used in book, black and white, 17 items. 6/8 Photographs, not used in book, 20 items. 6/9 Galleys, copy edited, 39 pp. 6/9 Index, first revised master set, 3 pp. Index, second revised master set, 2pp. Captions, 4 pp. 6/10 Reviews, photocopies, 14 items. THE RIDDLE OF THE ROSETTA STONE: KEY TO ANCIENT EGYPT James Cross Giblin (New York: Crowell, (1990). 7/1 Research material, photocopies, 7 items. 7/2 Research material, photocopies, 8 items. 7/3 Manuscript, original, January - February 1989, 37 pp. 7/4 Typescript, original, February 1989, 20 pp. 7/5 Typescript, photocopy, March 1989 Houghton-Mifflin revision, copy edited, 28 pp. 8/1 Typescript, photocopy, April 1989 Crowell revision, copy edited, 16 pp. Typescript, photocopy, copy edited, May 1989 revision, 47 pp. 8/2 Typescript, copy edited, front matter 16 pp., text 57 pp. 8/3 Photographs, black and white, 16 items. 8/4 Photographs, black and white, 18 items. 8/5 Galleys, corrected, 35 pp. Galleys of index, corrected, 3 pp. Galleys of front matter, corrected, 6 pp. Galleys of front matter, 9 pp. 8/6 Proofs, corrected, 79 pp. THE TRUTH ABOUT SANTA CLAUS by James Cross Giblin (New York: Crowell, 1985). 9/1 Editorial correspondence, 17 items. 9/2 Typescript, July 1984 with revisions, 46 pp. Bibliography, 2 pp. Captions for illustrations, 4 pp. 9/2 Index, photocopy, 18 pp. 9/3 Typescript, final draft, copy edited, 55 pp. text, 17 pp. index. 9/4 Photographs, black and white, 24 items. 9/5 Galleys, corrected, 47 pp. 9/6 Proofs, corrected, 45 pp. 9/7 Folded and gathered proofs, 10 pp. front matter, 86 pp. text. 9/8 Reviews, 16 items. THE TRUTH ABOUT UNICORNS by James Cross Giblin, illustrations by Micheal McDermott (New York: Harper Collins, 1991). 10/1 Typescript, first draft, 66 pp. 10/2-10/3 Typescript, final draft, copy edited. 10/2 Front matter 14 pp., text pp. 1-43. 10/3 Text pp. 44-113. 10/4 Galleys, first set, corrected, 56 pp. 10/5 Galleys, second set, corrected, 57 pp. 10/6-10/8 Proof, photocopy of reproduction, corrected. 10/6 Front matter 8 pp., text pp. 3-49. 10/7 Text pp. 50-107. 10/8 Flap matter, 6 pp. Jacket proof, 1 item. WALLS: DEFENSES THROUGHOUT HISTORY by James Cross Giblin (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1984). 11/1 Correspondence, photocopies, 10 items. 11/2-11/3 Typescript, final draft, copy edited. 11/2 Front matter 7 pp., text pp. 1-59. 11/3 Text pp. 60-86. Index, corrected, 12 pp. Index, master set, 4 pp. 11/4-11/7 Photographs and line drawings, black and white. 11/4 11 items. 11/5 16 items. 11/6 19 items. 11/7 18 items. 11/8 Master galleys, corrected, 54 pp. 11/9 Galleys, duplicates, corrected, 46 pp. 11/10 Jacket material, 3 items. 11/11 Reviews, photocopies, 12 items. Award announcement and acceptance remarks, 1 item. Fan mail, 1 item. WRITING BOOKS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE by James Cross Giblin (Boston: The Writer, Inc., 1990). 12/1 Correspondence between Giblin and editor, photocopies, 45 items. 12/2 Correspondence between Giblin and editor, photocopies, 56 items. 12/3 Typescript, preliminary, discarded chapters, 14 pp. 12/4-12/6 Typescript, original draft, September 1988. 12/4 Front matter 4 pp., text pp. 1-49. 12/5 Text pp. 50-102. 12/6 Text pp. 103-139. 13/1-13/3 Typescript, copy edited, second revision, November-December 1988. 13/1 Front matter 5 pp., text pp. 1-65. 13/2 Text pp. 66-112. 13/3 Text pp. 113-139. Index, photocopy, 21 pp. 13/4 Proofs, first set, corrected, 1989, 16 pp. Proofs, second set, corrected, October 1989, 25 pp. 13/5 Jacket proof, 1 item. Reviews, photocopies, 11 items.

Processed: September 20, 1995
Revised: June 2001

Biographical Sketch | Scope & Content | Related Collections | Series & Subseries | Box Inventory
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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection

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