Materials received from Irene Hunt on June 6, 1974 and July 9, 1974.
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.
Irene Hunt was born on May 8, 1907, in Pontiac, Illinois, the daughter of Franklin P. and Sarah (Land) Hunt. The family moved to Newton, Illinois, when Hunt was less than a year old and remained in the area throughout Hunt's childhood. Irene's father died when she was only seven years old, a traumatic event that formed the basis of her 1966 book, Up a Road Slowly.
Educated at the University of Illinois, Hunt graduated in 1939. She continued her education at the University of Minnesota receiving an MA in 1946. Hunt also did advanced graduate work at the University of Colorado in Boulder. From 1930-1945, Hunt worked as a teacher of French and English in the Oak Park, Illinois, public schools, moving to South Dakota in 1946. Here, Hunt worked as a psychology instructor at the University of South Dakota for four years, returning to Illinois in 1950 to teach French and English in high school. In 1969, Hunt retired from teaching to write full-time. She died May 18, 2001.
The central focus of Hunt's work was to teach history through literature. Her works include Across Five Aprils (1964), Up a Road Slowly (1966), Trail of Apple Blossoms (1968), No Promises in the Wind (1970), The Lottery Rose (1976), and William (1977). More recent works include Claws of a Young Century (1980), and The Everlasting Hills (1985).
In 1967, Hunt received the Newbery Medal for Up a Road Slowly. Her first book, Across Five Aprils, was named a Newbery Honor book in 1965, received the Charles W. Follett Award in 1964, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1966. Also, Hunt's work The Everlasting Hills received the Parents' Choice Award in 1985.
The collection holds manuscript materials for two book titles, Across Five Aprils and Up a Road Slowly. The two titles held in the collection are arranged alphabetically and deal with family issues and how young people react to hardships and problems within the family environment.
The first title, Across Five Aprils (1964), tells the story of a young boy growing up during the American Civil War. As a basis for the book, Hunt draws on her recollections of her grandfather and the stories she heard as a child. The central character of the book is Jethro Creighton, the youngest son of the Creighton family, who watches events as his brothers take sides during the Civil War. While Jethro witnesses the break-up of his home, the story traces his development from childhood to adult status as he takes on greater responsibility at a time of crisis. The material contained in the collection includes three manuscript pages from Hunt's original notebook. Approximately 8 1/2" by 5 1/2", the three pages are handwritten in ink.
The second title, Up a Road Slowly (1966), follows the fortunes of a young girl as she comes to terms with the death of her mother. The central character, Julie Trelling, is sent to live with her spinster aunt following her mother's death. The book then tells the story of Julie's life as she grows into an adult. The collection holds three pages of handwritten manuscript from Hunt's original notebook.
The three black-and-white photographs contained in the collection show Irene Hunt during the 1974 Children's Book Festival held at the University of Southern Mississippi. Two copies of the same photograph depict Dr. Warren F. Tracy, University Librarian, introducing Irene Hunt before her speech at the festival. The other photograph depicts Hunt and an unnamed woman viewing a display at the festival.
A. Photographs1/1 Photographs, black & white, showing Irene Hunt during the 1974 Children's Book Festival at the University of Southern Mississippi, 3 items.
B. BooksACROSS FIVE APRILS by Irene Hunt (New York: Follett, 1964) 1/2 Manuscript, 3 pp. UP A ROAD SLOWLY by Irene Hunt (New York: Follett, 1966) 1/3 Manuscript, 3 pp.
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The de Grummond Children's Literature Collection
The University of Southern Mississippi
118 College Drive, #5148
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
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