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Special Collections & Rare Books: York Collection


About the Collection

A former Anderson University student, Elizabeth Harp York, began her children's book collection by purchasing first editions of books featuring the works of 18th - 19th century illustrators such as Randolph Caldecott and Edmund Dulac. The search for other classics led her to Beatrix Potter, A.A. Milne, James Barry, and Rudyard Kipling. Then she came upon Robert Louis Stevenson and many more. York broadened her range of collections over the years until she had 200 to 250 Mother Goose, ABC, 123 books; 350 pop-up books; and 250 to 300 Christmas books. She also collected early primers, chapbooks, and books by more contemporary children's book authors and illustrators.

It was Elizabeth's dream to share these books with Anderson University, so in 2008, she and James contributed funds to build a rare-collections facility and a reading room in the Anderson University Nicholson Library. In 2009, the University dedicated the Elizabeth York Rare Books & Special Collections. Today, we continue to celebrate the imaginations of long-ago children's illustrators and writers while nurturing the dreams of readers, writers, and artists of children's books in the future through the Annual Elizabeth York Children's Literature Festival.

York Collection Facts

"Dr. York and I have been ardent readers all our lives...We both come from families of readers, people who value books. We treasure books."
--Elizabeth York, 2009

This collection includes:

  • More than 12,000 books in the rare and special books collection
  • More than 350 pop-up books
  • A rare Robert Louis Stevenson collection, which includes first British and American editions
  • An extensive collection of Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost, Peter Sis, N.C. Wyeth, Edward Gorey, Chris Van Allsburg, among others
  • Almanacs and original art by early 20th century author/illustrator Kate Greenaway.
  • Numerous first editions as well as signed & inscribed copies of works
  • A strong emphasis on African-American and Native American children's books
  • An extensive collection of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's early works as well as research & production materials for other titles
  • Unpublished manuscripts by H.A. Rey and Don Freeman
  • Other unique items such as -- broadsides, original art & photographs poems, manuscripts, letters prints, production materials & galley proofs, and autographed books.