Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Guide to the Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection
View entire collection guide What's This?
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Processing History
  • Biographical History
  • Bibliography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Subject Headings
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Kate Douglas Wiggin collection
    Dates: circa 1880-1915
    Collection number: MSS-2008-10-01
    Creator: Unknown
    Collection Size: 2 boxes 3.25 linear feet
    Repository: San Jose State University. Library.
    San Jose, California 95192-0028
    Abstract: Kate Douglas Wiggin was one of the founders of the California Kindergarten Training School in San Francisco and an author of several children’s books including the well-known Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903). The Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection consists of sample books of crafts for children that illustrate educational theory and method as taught by Ms. Wiggin and in the San Jose Normal School kindergarten teacher training program. The collection also includes a photograph of Ms. Wiggin that she presented to the San Jose Normal School kindergarten training class of 1915.
    Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Languages: Languages represented in the collection: English


    The collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to the San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader. Copyright restrictions also apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Preferred Citation

    Kate Douglas Wiggin collection, MSS-2008-10-01, San Jose State University Library Special Collections & Archives.

    Processing History

    Processing and guide prepared by Amanda Grundmann, reviewed by Danelle Moon. Guide encoded by Amanda Grundmann, 2008.

    Biographical History

    Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923) was a pioneer of the kindergarten movement in the United States in the nineteenth century. She helped to establish the Silver Street Kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878, the first free kindergarten in California. She also co-founded the California Kindergarten Training School for aspiring kindergarten teachers in 1880. In addition to kindergarten training and advocacy, Wiggin was a prolific author of books for children, including the well-known Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903) and Mother Carey's Chickens (1911). Wiggin also published a number of works on kindergarten theory and method as well as fiction for adults.
    Wiggin's teaching philosophy was based on the writings of Friedrich Froebel, a German educator who established the concept of kindergarten in the 1830s. Froebel's pedagogy was based on educational play, and he developed educational toys known as "Froebel's Gifts" and activities known as "Froebel's Occupations" based on these principles. In her three-volume work on kindergarten philosophy, The Republic of Childhood (1895-96), Wiggin modeled her lessons on Froebel's "Gifts and Occupations". These activities were taught to students at her kindergarten training school and resulted in sample books like those in this collection.


    California State Normal School. Bulletin of the State Normal School at San Jose, California for the year 1915-1916. Sacramento, CA: California State Printing Office, 1915.

    "Kate Douglas (Smith) Wiggin (Riggs): 1856-1923." Contemporary Authors Online, Gale. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center, 2003.

    Smith, Mark K. “Fredrich Froebel (Fröbel).” Encyclopaedia of Informal Education. http://www.infed.org/thinkers/et-froeb.htm

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection consists of six sample books of crafts for kindergarten children and a signed photograph of Kate Douglas Wiggin. The sample craft books are typical of those created by students of Wiggin's California Kindergarten Training School in the 1880s and include examples of sewing, paper cutting, and weaving. The photograph was given to San Jose State Normal School kindergarten training class in 1915.


    This collection is arranged into one series: I. Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection, circa 1880-1915.

    Subject Headings

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Kindergarten teachers--Training of
    San Jose State Normal School
    Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923

    Related Material

    Kate Douglas Wiggin: Notebooks and workbooks, ca. 1883-1884 at the Stanford University Libraries Department of Special Collections and University Archives in Stanford, CA.
    Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin Papers in the Clifton Waller Barrett Library, 1887-1923, at the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, VA.
    Kate Douglas Wiggin Collection, 1867-1985, n.d. (bulk 1891-1917) at the Bowdoin College Library George W. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Brunswick, ME.