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Irvin Kerlan Papers

Summary Information
Title: Irvin Kerlan Papers
Dates: 1943-2012
Creator: Kerlan, Irvin
Extent: 9.2 cubic feet (9 boxes)
Language: Collection materials in English
Collection Number: CLRC-627
This collection consists of material related to Dr. Irvin Kerlan, including correspondence, awards, obituaries, clippings, photos, bibliographies, writing drafts, and scrapbooks.

Repository: University of Minnesota. Children's Literature Research Collections.

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Gift of Kerlan, Irvin, with additional materials collected by the University of Minnesota Libraries and the Children's Literature Research Collections after his death.

Access Restrictions:

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.


Please contact staff regarding copyright status of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under fair use provisions of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code).

Preferred Citation:

Irvin Kerlan papers, Children's Literature Research Collection, University of Minnesota Libraries, Minneapolis.


The collection is arranged by material type.

Biographical Sketch of Irvin Kerlan

Dr. Kerlan, born in 1912, was long time chief of medical research for the U.S. Food and Drug Aministration in Washington D.C., and an authority on toxicity and related matters. He collected rare books as a hobby and soon turned to children's books. Dr. Kerlan chose what was best and representative of each current year and, when he could afford it, bought children's classics and past Newbery winners. It was not long before he took his collection one step further, pursuing the background material that went into making the books. He wrote letters to authors and illustrators, and they replied by forwarding their original manuscripts, artwork, and selected correspondence with editors and children.

From his collection, Dr. Kerlan organized exhibitions and shipped them to libraries and art galleries in North America, Europe, and the Far East. In 1949, he made arrangements with the University of Minnesota, his Alma Mater, to provide a permanent home for his collection, and the transfer was undertaken at once. In 1963 Dr. Kerlan was killed in a traffic accident at age 51.

Collection Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of material related to Dr. Irvin Kerlan, including correspondence, awards, obituaries, clippings, photos, bibliographies, writing drafts, and scrapbooks. The most extensive series is correspondence, which contains letters received from authors and illustrators, as well as other friends in the field of children's literature, and the University of Minnesota. Early material in the papers were created and collected by Dr. Kerlan, while materials after his death, incluidng obituaries, some correspondence, and clippings, were collected by the University Libraries and the Children's Literature Research Collections.

Subject Terms
  • This collection is indexed under the following headings in the catalog of the University of Minnesota Libraries. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons or places should search the catalog using these headings.
  • Kerlan, Irvin
Collection Contents
 Location  Title
Note Additional correspondence available in the Linda Lapides Papers.
Box 1
Dear Dr. Kerlan compiled book of correspondence, 2012 Box 1
Box 1-3
Author/illustrator correspondence  Box 1-3
Box 3-4
Additional correspondence by year, personal correspondence  Box 3-4
Box 4-5
University of Minnesota correspondence, copy of university contract  Box 4-5
Box 5, 7
Documents, pamphlets and photographs related to exhibits  Box 5, 7
Bibliographies and Writings  
Box 5-7
Bibliographies, typescripts, notes, medical articles  Box 5-7
Biographical Material  
Box 6, 9
Awards, obituaries, photographs  Box 6, 9
Clippings and Brochures  
Box 6-7
Various clippings and brochures related to Kerlan and the collection  Box 6-7
Box 8-9
Scrapbooks related to Kerlan, the collection, and exhibits  Box 8-9
Box 9
"The Christmas Imps" book of cards--gift to Dr. Kerlan by creator Walter Erhard  Box 9