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The May Massee Collection:

May Massee

Listen to May Massee interviewed by Morton Schindel
(Reproduced with the permission of Morton Schindel)

May Massee (1883-1966) was the children’s book editor who established two of the first three “junior books” divisions in major publishing houses in the United States: that of Doubleday, Page and Company (1923) and Viking Press (1932). A teacher and librarian by training, Miss Massee shaped and influenced children’s book publishing throughout her career. Her venerable stable of authors and artists included numerous award winners and wildly popular creators of the era: Robert McCloskey, Kate Seredy, Don Freeman, Robert Lawson, Ludwig Bemelmans, Eyvind Earle, James Daugherty, Marguertie de Angeli, Manning de Villeneuve Lee, Hilda Van Stockum, Leo Politi, and many more.

The collection includes original book illustrations by 56 artists, manuscript materials, published books, photographs, audio and video tapes of authors, artists, designers, typographers, and printers whose skills Miss Massee combined to create quality books for children and young adults. Miss Massee’s wood-paneled office, built for her at Viking Press in 1933 by Eric Gugler, is also included in the collection.

Download an inventory of the Collection

This inventory features a note of all the materials within the May Massee Collection, including details about the books (arranged by author and then title) and what manuscript materials pertain to each book.

Download a presentation on the Collection

This presentation was developed to give potential researchers an overview of holdings in the collection. It includes samples of public domain artwork from the collection.

Although the May Massee Gallery is temporarily closed, researchers may make an appointment to use the collection during regular operating hours of the Special Collections and Archives: Monday - Friday from 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m, or by appointment. For more information about the collection, contact Ashley Todd-Diaz, Curator of Special Collections and Archives, at 620-341-5034 or by email.