de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
1.20 cu.ft. (4 boxes)

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


Material was donated by Gertrude Warner in 1968 and 1970.


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

Gertrude Chandler Warner was born on April 16, 1890 in Putnam, Connecticut across from a railroad station. As a child, she loved to read and write and her many childhood illnesses gave her ample time and opportunity. Her mother bought her and her sister Frances notebooks to keep track of their stories. At the age of nine, Ms. Warner wrote and illustrated her first book "Golliwogg at the Zoo" for her grandfather and gave it to him for Christmas. Every year she and her sister gave their grandparents a new book. They called their "publishing company" Warner & Co.

In 1916, Ms. Warner published her first book House of Delight about her childhood experiences with her dollhouse. She and her sister wrote stories and essays for local magazines until World War I began. She joined the Red Cross in 1917 and helped with publicity. In 1918, without a high school or college degree, Ms. Warner began teaching first grade in Putnam because of war shortages. She continued to write for magazines as well as religious organizations, but she wanted to write something about her childhood experiences. It was her experiences living across from a railroad station that gave her the idea for a story about orphaned children living in a boxcar. In 1924, The Boxcar Children was published by Rand McNally. She revised the book in 1942 for Scott, Foresman and made the story easier to read for children with small vocabularies. She hoped that children with reading problems would be able to understand the story and feel confident enough to read more stories. After teaching for 32 years, Ms. Warner retired at the age of sixty to write full time. She continued to write stories despite two broken hips and a broken back.

Ms. Warner was active in her community and her church. She joined the Connecticut Cancer Society in 1950 and won an award in 1965 for "Woman of the Year" from the Emblem Club. In 1967, the American Red Cross awarded her with a pin for 50 years of service. She died on August 30, 1979 in her hometown. In her lifetime she wrote 19 Boxcar Children stories in all as well as 15 other books for both adults and children. Her Boxcar Children books are still popular today. Albert Whitman & Company had such a demand for the books, that they hired authors after her death to write more mysteries and continue her legacy.


Scope and Content

This collection contains various materials from seven of the books in Ms. Warner's Boxcar Children series. The stories begin with four children, Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who are orphans living in a boxcar. In each story thereafter, the children have adventures and solve mysteries with their adopted grandfather.

Because her mother bought her black composition notebooks as a child, Ms. Warner continued to use them to keep track of her research, manuscript notes, and corrections. She would write on the right side of the notebook and flip it over and use the other side when she finished. The collection has notebooks for Bicycle Mystery (1970), Caboose Mystery (1966), Houseboat Mystery (1967), and Snowbound Mystery (1968). The typescripts and some of the editor's rewrites for Bicycle Mystery, Caboose Mystery, Houseboat Mystery, Snowbound Mystery and Woodshed Mystery (1962) are also included. There is also a paste up dummy of Snowbound Mystery and a plate proof of Woodshed Mystery.

Ms. Warner first chose John Meyer III to illustrate Blue Bay Mystery (1961). However, Albert Whitman & Company rejected the work and selected Dirk Gringhuis. Two other illustrators, David Cunningham and Mary Gehr drew the book jackets for Houseboat Mystery (1967) and Surprise Island (1949). Photocopies of Mr. Meyer's illustrations and the two book jackets are included in the collection.

Ms. Warner's correspondence to the de Grummond collection and to the editors at Albert Whiteman give information about her personal life, writing habits, health problems, and constant irritation with the editors for changing her typescripts. There are also letters to the Coast Guard and the railroad for background information for three of her books. Also included in collection is the letter she photocopied for her fans when she could no longer write them personal notes. The collection also includes some photographs of Gertrude Warner, publisher's promotional materials, and other miscellaneous items.

Related Collection

The John Meyer III Papers (DG1163) contain the original illustrations for Blue Bay Mystery (1961).

Series and Subseries

A. Alphabetical File

B. Books

C. Photographs

D. Publisher's Promotional Materials

Box Inventory


A. Alphabetical File

1/1-1/3 Correspondence, 1/1 To the de Grummond Collection, 1967-1972, 6 items. 1/2 Material sent to children who wrote her, 7 items. 1/3 Miscellaneous, 3 items. 1/4 Notebook, notes for unidentified story; "Strange House", 1 item. 1/5 Miscellaneous, 2 items.

B. Books

Bicycle Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by David Cunningham (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1970). 1/6 Correspondence with editor, 11 items. 1/7 News clippings for background research, 2 items. Poster of dogs for background research, 1 item. 1/8 Manuscript notes, 1 item. 1/9 Manuscript notes, labeled as a rewrite, 1 item. 1/10-1/11 Typescript, carbon copied, edited, undated, 1/10 Chapters 1-5, pp. 1-46. 1/11 Chapters 6-10, pp. 47-79. 1/12-1/13 Typescript, edited, undated, 1/12 Chapters 1-5, pp. 1-46. 1/13 Chapters 6-10, pp. 47-88. Chapter 10, alternate pages, 3 pp. Blue Bay Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by Dirk Gringhuis (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1961). 1/14 Photocopied illustrations by John Meyer III (dgxxxx), originally chosen to do illustrations. Caboose Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by David Cunningham (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1966). 2/1 Correspondence with editor, 16 items. Correspondence for background research, 1 item. 2/2 Manuscript notes, dated 2 July 1966, 1 item. Manuscript notes with letter to editor, dated 5 August 1966 (?), 1 item. 2/3-2/4 Typescript, carbon copied, minor corrections, 2/3 Chapters 1-7, pp.7-66. 2/4 Chapters 8-14, pp. 67-120. 2/5 Typescript, labeled as editor's version, edited by author; pp. 1-57. Houseboat Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by David Cunningham (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1967). 2/6 Correspondence with editor, 4 items. 2/7 Correspondence for background research, 9 items. 2/8 Research materials, 17 items. 2/9 Manuscript notes, 2 items. Manuscript notes for Chapter 5 (April Center), 2 items. 3/1-3/2 Typescript, labeled as first typing, edited, 3/1 Chapters 1-5, pp. 1-69. 3/2 Chapters 6-12, pp.70-108. 3/3 Typescript, labeled as pasted third rewrite, edited; pp. 51-62. 3/4 Book jacket, 1 item. Snowbound Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by David Cunningham (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1968). 3/5 Correspondence with editor, 11 items. 3/6 Correspondence for background research, 3 items. 3/7 Manuscript notes, 2 items. 3/8-3/9 Typescript, labeled as first draft, edited, 3/8 Chapters 1-6, pp. 1-40. 3/9 Chapters 7-11, pp. 38-46, pp. 38-111. 4/1-4/2 Typescript, edited with pasted corrections, 4/1 Chapters 1-5, pp.1-51. 4/2 Chapters 6-11, pp. 52-109. 4/3 Corrections and revisions, typed and handwritten, dated 10 May 1968; 7 items. 4/4 Paste up dummy, pp.7-127. Surprise Island by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by Mary Gehr (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1949). 4/5 Book jacket, 1 item. Woodshed Mystery by Gertrude Warner, illustrated by David Cunningham (Chicago: A. Whitman, 1962). 4/6 Typescript, "next to last final copy", edited; chapter 1, pp. 1-3. 4/7 Plate proof, front matter, chapters 1-3, pp. 1-32.

C. Photographs

4/8 Photographs of Gertrude Warner, 4 items.

D. Publisher's Promotional Materials

4/9 Promotional materials, 2 items. A. Whitman advance list for Fall 1967, 1 item.

Processed: September 27,1997
Revised: July 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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