de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
1934-1969, n.d.
1.20 cu.ft. (3 boxes)

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


Material was donated by Mabel Leigh Hunt from June, 1966 through September, 1969.


Noncirculating; available for research.


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

Mabel Leigh Hunt was born in Coatsville, Indiana on November 1, 1892. She was raised in a Quaker home in Greencastle, Indiana, in a sixteen bedroom house on fifteen acres of land. She says the she invented her first short story at the age of three about her mother making a cherry pie. Books and magazines were always available to her while growing up and she used paper dolls to act out characters in her favorite stories. Her mother often sang nursery rhymes and recited poetry to her. Her father was a country doctor who enjoyed playing word games and reading stories aloud to the family. They moved to Plainfield, Indiana when she was ten and stayed there until her father died. After his death, she and her mother moved to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Ms. Hunt attended DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana, for two years (1910-1912) and received a year of library training at Western University Library School in Cleveland, Ohio (1923). She worked as a librarian at the Indianapolis Public Library from 1926-1938, when she resigned to write books full time. She wrote her first book Lucinda, A Little Girl of 1860 (1934) based on her mother's experiences as a Quaker girl living in Indiana. Ms. Hunt had written over 30 books and short stories at her death on September 3, 1971.

Mabel Leigh Hunt's books were featured on radio shows and book fairs all over the country. She wrote short stories and autobiographical materials for Horn Book (1966), Story Parade (1937), and a Quaker publication entitled You Are Called (1960). She has won numerous awards for her books including Newbery Honor Medals for Better Known as Johnny Appleseed (1950) and "Have You Seen Tom Thumb?" (1942). Better Known as Johnny Appleseed (1950) was selected by the American Booksellers Association as one of 200 books to be added to the Presidential Library in the White House. It was also listed by the New York Herald -Tribune as one of the best Western books written. Both Stars for Cristy (1956)and Cupola House (1962) won the Indiana University Writer's Conference Award.Many of her books were also published in England including Stars for Cristy and Cristy at Skippinghills (1958). Ladycake Farm (1952) was later translated into German and published in Vienna.


Scope and Content

This collection includes a variety of materials including biographical and autobiographical materials, correspondence, manuscripts, short stories and essays, photographs, and sound recordings. The materials related to the twelve titles found in the collection span almost thirty years. These materials include typescripts, galleys, dummies, radio scripts, and reviews. The materials for the books are arranged alphabetically, and within each title in the probable order in which they were created. The bulk of the material, however, is correspondence from publishers (1935-1966), librarians, writers and illustrators, and children (1939-1967). There is also correspondence from friends and admirers, including a letter from Richard Nixon in 1960 and a note from the NAACP supporting her efforts for Ladycake Farm (1952). There is extensive correspondence written by Ms. Hunt to the deGrummond Collection about the materials she sent. The correspondence is separated by groups in chronological order.

Many of Ms. Hunt's books are based on her Quaker heritage. She wrote her first book Lucinda, A Little Girl of 1860 (1934) about a Quaker girl living in Indiana during the Civil War era. She used both her and her mother's experiences to write the book. Included in the folder are a galley and a letter written by Ms. Hunt to some school children in South Bend, Indiana about the book. Little Girl With Seven Names (1936) is the story of a little girl who is teased by her classmates about her seven names and how she gives two of the names away. The book was reviewed by Horn Book (1936) and received the Horn of Honor. Enclosed are the review by the Horn Book and the copied illustration by Grace Paull that was featured in the article. Another Quaker story by Ms. Hunt is The Double Birthday Suprise (1947) about twin girls who get a special present from their grandfather. Included in the collection is a dummy. Cupola House (1961) is the story of four Quaker children in the early 1900's who raise money to rebuild a cupola that was burned in a fire. A letter from the Carnival of Books radio program is included with a radio script from the March 4, 1962 broadcast by Ruth Harshaw. Written for an older audience, Beggar's Daughter (1963) is set in the 17th century and is the story of an orphaned girl who is adopted by an English Quaker family. A letter from the Carnival of Books radio program is included with a radio script from the March 21, 1965 broadcast by Ruth Harshaw.

One of Mabel Leigh Hunt's most famous books is "Have You Seen Tom Thumb?" (1942). It is the biography of the midget Charles Sherwood Stratton (General Tom Thumb) of Barnum's Museum. Attached to a personal note by Ms. Hunt about possible plagiarism by a Macmillan author are her research notes on the book from her travels to England and Bridgeport. The book was chosen as a Newbery Honor Book in 1942.

Ladycake Farm (1952) is the story of an African-American family who move from their house in the city to a 40 acre farm miles away. It is one of the first children's books written in the 1950's about an African-American family. The collection contains a dummy and a radio script for Prairie Farmer-School Time broadcast on October 21, 1952.

Kate O' Dea pretends that she is a guest staying in her family's home in Miss Jellytot's Visit (1955). A Carnival of Books radio program is included with a radio script from the November 11, 1955 broadcast by Ruth Harshaw. Stars for Cristy(1956) about an Italian family's visit to the country also has a radio script for its June 15, 1957 broadcast.

Mabel Leigh Hunt wrote many short stories, articles, and essays, one of which is in the original typescript form for a Horn Book publication. She has also donated other typescripts about her viewpoints on children's literature and why she wrote Cupola House (1962). The Quaker publication You Are Called (1959) contains an article she wrote about Quaker children and the books available to them about their heritage.

Related Collections

Original illustration for Lucinda moved to The Cameron Wright Papers (DG1154); Original illustration for Stars for Christy moved to The Velma Ilsley Papers (DG1153); Original trial jacket illustration and finished jacket cover for The Wonderful Baker moved to The Grace Paull Papers (DG0765).

Series and Subseries

A. Biographical / Autobiographical Materials (1937-1967, n.d.)

B. Correspondence (1935 - 1969, n.d.)

C. Books (1934 - 1963)

D. Short Stories and Essays (1955 - 1966, n.d.)

E. Publisher's Promotional Materials (undated)

F. Photographs (1948, n.d.)

G. Miscellaneous Materials (1952, n.d.)

H. Sound Recordings

Box Inventory


A. Biographical / Autobiographical Materials

1/1 Journal and newspaper clippings, 1937-1962, 11 items; biographical letter to "Miss Day", undated, 1 item.

B. Correspondence

1/2 Correspondence to the de Grummond Collection,1966-1969, 11 items. 1/3-1/5 Correspondence with publishers and editors; 1/3 1935-1939, 13 items. 1/4 1940-1949, 17 items. 1/5 1951-1966, 21 items. 1/6 Correspondence from writers and illustrators, 1936-1966, n.d, 26 items. 1/7 Correspondence from libraries, 1938-1963, 16 items. 1/8-1/10 Correspondence from children and teachers; 1/8 1939-1949, 18 items. 1/9 1950-1967, 43 items. 1/10 Undated letters, 17 items. 1/11 Miscellaneous correspondence, 1935-1965, n.d., 34 items.

C. Books

Beggar's Daughter by Mabel Leigh Hunt (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1963). 1/12 Radio script from the Carnival of Books, March 21, 1965, 7 pp. Better Known as Johnny Appleseed by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by James Daugherty (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1950). 1/13 Reviews, 5 items. Cristy at Skippinghills by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Velma Ilsley (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1958). 1/14-1/15 Typescript, edited, undated; 1/14 Front matter (4 pp.), pp. 1-87, 1/15 pp. 88-170. Cupola House by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Nora S. Unwin (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1961). 2/1 Radio script from the Carnival of Books, 4 March 1962, 8 pp. The Double Birthday Present by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Elinore Blaisell (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1947). 2/2 Dummy, front matter (4 pp.), pp. 3-10; Publisher's printing about Kate Smith's broadcast review, undated, 2 copies. "Have You Seen Tom Thumb?" by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg (New York: Stokes, 1942). 2/3 Research notes for manuscript, 61 pp. Ladycake Farm by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Clotilde Embree Funk (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1952). 2/4 Dummy, front matter, 5 pp.; Radio script from the Prairie Farmer School Time, 21 October 1952, 8 pp.; Review, 1 item. Little Girl with Seven Names by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Grace Paull (New York: Stokes, 1936). 2/5 Review; copy of illustration sent to Horn Book for the review, 2 items. Lucinda, A Little Girl of 1860 by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Cameron Wright (New York: Stokes, 1934). 2/6 Galley, front matter, 2 pp.; Letter to children of South Bend, Indiana, about the book, 1 item; Reviews, 3 items. Miss Jellytot's Visit by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Velma Ilsley (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1955). 2/7 Radio script from the Carnival of Books, 11 November 1955, 7 pp. Stars for Cristy by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Velma Ilsley (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1955). 2/8 Radio script from the Carnival of Books, 15 June 1957, 8 pp.; Review, 1 item. The Wonderful Baker by Mabel Leigh Hunt, illustrated by Grace Paull(Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1950). 2/9 Photocopies of original illustration and book jacket, 2 items. (Originals stored in the Grace Paull Papers, DG0765).

D. Short Stories and Essays

2/9 Five essays and short stories, edited, dated 1950-1966, 8 items.

E. Publisher's Promotional Materials

2/10 Pamphlets, 5 items.

F. Photographs

2/11 Photo from 1948 author's breakfast in Los Angeles; Photo of Mabel Leigh Hunt and her niece, 2 items.

G. Miscellaneous Materials

2/12 Papers from "Meet the Authors" at the Mariott Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana, autographed, 2 items; Palm reading, undated, 1 item; Radio script from the University of New Hampshire, dated 7/18/45, 6 pp.; Notecard based on illustration by Elinore Blaisdell, 2 items.

H. Sound Recordings

3/1 "The Hobby Horse", parts 1-3, 5 items; The Carnival of Books recordings, 2 items; Untitled recording, 1 item.

Processed: September 1997
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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