de Grummond Collection

McCain Library and Archives
University Libraries
University of Southern Mississippi


Collection Number
Collection Dates
Collection Volume
.60 cu.ft. (1 box)

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


Material donated by William T. Parks in 1982 and 1985.


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

Kate Seredy was born November 10, 1899 in Budapest, Hungary to Louis Peter (a teacher) and Anna (Irany) Seredy. She grew up in a highly charged atmosphere of individual opinions. Her grandparents were French, German, Slovakian, and Turkish with one thing in common - activity in some kind of rebellion (political, religious or personal). Her family collectively at one time or another decided that she should be a teacher, a nurse, a dress designer, a plain wife complete with children, a thorn-in-the-side of any government in power at any given moment, and a painter. Seredy went on to dabble a bit in each career.

Seredy attended the Academy of Arts in Budapest for six years where she received her art teacher's diploma. She served as a nurse in World War I then took summer courses in Paris, Rome, and Berlin from 1918 to 1922. Coming to the United States in 1922 she settled on a farm in Montgomery, New York. She ran a children's book store from 1933 to 1934 and then worked as a freelance illustrator and artist. She designed book covers and greeting cards and also painted lampshades and designed fashions.

She illustrated fifty to sixty textbooks and children's books for various authors, the first being The Prince Commands by Andre Norton (1934). May Massee, an editor for Viking Press, suggested that she write a story about her childhood in Hungary. The Good Master (1935) was the result. Her bulky manuscript, written in longhand in a recently-learned language, was accepted and published immediately. Seredy wrote and illustrated a dozen books for children.

Her awards and honors include the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award (1959) and the Newbery Medal (1936) for Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink, the Caldecott honor book award (1945) for The Christmas Anna Angel by Ruth Sawyer, and Newbery honor book awards for The Good Master (1936), The Singing Tree (1940), Winterbound by Margery Bianco (1937), The Wonderful Year by Nancy Barnes, and Young Walter Scott by Elizabeth Janet Gray (1936). She won the Newbery Medal in 1938 for The White Stag.

Seredy traveled extensively and spoke German, French, and Hungarian. Although Hungarian by birth and upbringing, she wrote English prose which explores familiar values but with a fresh approach. She was the first writer of children's books to deal with the problems of the alien and also wrote about the effects of war on children. She died March 7, 1975.


Scope and Content

The collection contains correspondence and material for four titles. The correspondence, which is arranged chronologically, consists of letters from the de Grummond Collection to William T. Parks, who donated the Seredy Papers, and inter-office memorandums from Viking Press. The material for the titles is arranged alphabetically with material for each title arranged in the probable order in which it was created.

The Chestry Oak (1948) is the story of young Michael, a Hungarian who leaves his castle home to come to the Hudson Valley to live with an American GI and his family after the war. The story deals with the adjustments of an alien in a strange land. For this title the collection holds several pen and ink and graphite illustrations and some dust jacket illustrations. Lazy Tinka (1962) is the story of a lazy girl and a spell put on her by the Wise Old Woman. Tinka goes into the dark green forest and returns a changed person. The collection includes galleys, color separations (acetate overlays only) and paste-ups and proofs of the dust jacket for this title.

Philomena (1955) is the story of a young girl who goes to Prague after her grandmother dies to earn her own way and to find her aunt. She learns many valuable lessons about life and happily returns home one day. For this title the collection includes color separations (acetate overlays only) and a blueprint press sheet. A Tree for Peter (1941) is the story of how small Peter, an unknown tramp, an Irish cop, and City Hall restore faith and hope to Shantytown. The collection holds charcoal illustrations for this title.

Series and Subseries

A. Correspondence (1962-1985)

B. Books (1941-1962)

Box Inventory


A. Correspondence

1/1 From the de Grummond Collection, 1982 and 1985, 2 items. Memorandum from Viking Press, 1962-1963, 2 items.

B. Books

THE CHESTRY OAK by Kate Seredy (New York: Viking Press, 1948). 1/2 Illustrations, pen and ink and graphite, pp. [xi, xv, xvii, xxi, xxiii, xxv, xxix, xxxi, xxxiii, xxxv, and xxxvii]. [pp. xi and xxiii removed to Traveling Exhibit #1] Illustrations, ink, water color and graphite, dust jacket, 3 items. Label from Viking Press, 1 item. LAZY TINKA by Kate Seredy (New York: Viking Press, 1962). 1/3 Galleys, 9 items. 1/4-8 Color separations, acetate overlays only, 1/4 pp. [2/3], 6/7, 11/22; 1/5 14/15, 17/21/24/41, 19/23, 4 items, pp. 26-27; 1/6 29/36/37, 30/31, 34/35, 38; 1/7 42/43, 46/47, 1/49/57/56, 50/51; 1/8 54/55, endpapers, dust jacket. 1/9 Paste-ups, text, dust jacket, 3 items. Proof, text, edited. Proof, illustrations with text paste-ups, marked for typesetter. PHILOMENA by Kate Seredy (New York: Viking Press, 1955). 1/11 Color separations, acetate overlays only, endpapers and dust jacket, 6 items. Blueprint press sheet, endpapers and dust jacket. [oversize - stored separately] A TREE FOR PETER by Kate Seredy (New York: Viking Press, 1941). 1/12 Illustrations, charcoal, p. 29 and not published, 5 items.

Processed: April 1992
Revised: July 2001

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

The University of Southern Mississippi
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