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Finding Aid for the Margery Turner Fisher Papers, 1937-1992
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Collection Details
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  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Margery Turner Fisher Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1937-1992
    Collection number: 355
    Creator: Fisher, Margery Turner, 1913-
    Extent: 25 boxes (12.5 linear ft.) 2 cartons (2 linear ft.) 42 oversize boxes
    Repository: University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.
    Los Angeles, California 90095-1575
    Abstract: Margery Turner Fisher (1913-1992) was an author and critic. She taught English at Oundle School (1939-45), organized courses on reading and writing for pleasure, and created her own journal, Growing point, for reviewing children's books. The collection consists of journals, annotated card index, illustrations, notes, correspondence, clippings, published books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, lectures, articles and reviews, and memorabilia.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Language: English.

    Administrative Information

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to the UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections. Literary rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.

    Restrictions on Access

    PARTIALLY PROCESSED COLLECTION UNAVAILABLE FOR USE: Inquiries regarding these materials should be directed, in writing, to the Manuscripts Librarian, UCLA Department of Special Collections.
    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF: Advance notice required for access.

    Additional Physical Form Available

    A copy of the original version of this online finding aid is available at the UCLA Department of Special Collections for in-house consultation and may be obtained for a fee. Please contact:
    • Public Services Division
    • UCLA Library, Department of Special Collections
    • Room A1713, Charles E. Young Research Library
    • Box 951575
    • Los Angeles, CA 90095-1575
    • Telephone: 310/825-4988 (10:00 a.m. - 4:45 p.m., Pacific Time)
    • Email: spec-coll@library.ucla.edu

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Margery Turner Fisher Papers (Collection 355). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233023 


    Fisher was born Margery Turner in 1913 in Camberwell, London, England; B.Litt and MA from Somerville College, Oxford; became author and critic; taught English at Oundle School, 1939-45; organized courses on reading and writing for pleasure for the National Federation of Women's Institutes; in 1962, created her own journal, Growing point, for reviewing children's books; publications include Field day (1951), Intent upon reading: a critical appraisal of modern fiction for children (1961), Matters of fact: aspects of non-fiction for children (1972), Who's who in children's books (1975), and The bright face of danger (1986); she died on December 24, 1992 in Northampton, England.

    Biographical Narrative

    Margery Fisher became one of the world's most knowledgeable authorities on books written for children. She acquired this reputation through her publications and the review of children's books Growing Point which she edited and published for thirty years; and this reputation in turn led to her being sought and her involvement with organizations concerned with such books throughout the world.
    Born in England, she spend her childhood in New Zealand, returning to England in 1932 to go to Somerville College, Oxford. In 1936 she married James Fisher, who was to become known worldwide as an ornothologist and TV naturalist. During the war she taught in a boys' public school which provided the background for her first novel Field Day in 1951. While bringing up six children, she continued to write and to review books, collaborating with her husband on Shackleton, a biography in 1957; but it was the almost total lack of guidance about books written for children that led her first to review them, in magazines and on the radio, and then in 1961 to produce her first major contribution in this field: ...Intent upon Reading: a critical appraisal of modern fiction for children.
    This book quickly became a classic and, as a continuation of the research she had had to do to produce it, she started Growing Point, a small magazine which she edited and published. It was described on the cover as Margery Fisher's regular review of books for growing families of the English reading world and for parents, teachers, librarians and other guardians. Each issue contained at least on major review, a number of short reviews and, most imaginatively, group reviews of collections of books covering similar subjects or age groups. This magazine appeared regularly and was read throughout the English speaking world for thirty years, from 1962 to 1992 when she finally closed it down
    She quickly became the doyen among reviewers of children's books, and her unique standing in this field was as quickly recognized. In 1966 she was the first recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award; and in 1970 she was invited to give the first May Hill Arbuthnot lecture by the American Library Association.
    Her own published work continued to expand her field: anthologies such as Open Door; encyclopedias such as Who's Who in Children's Books; and in 1972 ... Intent upon Reading was followed by the complementary volume: Matters of Fact, aspects of non-fiction for children. A further extension of this set came, in 1986, with The Bright Face of Danger which explored the likenesses and differences between adventure stories written and published for adults and those written and published for children.
    In 1992 she wrote GP has always been a personal journal and written, with very few exceptions, by myself. . . it is appropriate for it to come to a complete end. She intended to concentrate on writing children's fiction herself. Sadly, she did not have the opportunity.
    Note: She was known as Angus by her friends since her college days - see many letters addressed to her under that name.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of journals, annotated card index, illustrations, notes, correspondence, clippings, published books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, lectures, articles and reviews, and memorabilia.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    The best and most widely known contribution of Margery Fisher to the field of children's literature is her bi-monthly review Growing Point. This archive is particularly interesting because it covers every aspect of this specific enterprise from its inception to its deliberate conclusion: thirty years of a unique review.
    In addition, the period was in itself important, one of renaissance in children's books to which Growing Point itself significantly contributed. Attitudes were turned around, children's literature became a respected academic subject, recognized as an independent genre, books written for children were reviewed seriously and regularly, and their authors were ranked alongside those writing for adults.
    However, Growing Point must be seen in its context, and this archive provides this. Clearly, Margery Fisher always intended to be a writer; and she was also a well-disciplined scholar. Before she started the magazine, she had reviewed children's books and written about them for various publications for a number of years. With ...Intent upon Reading, she formalized and compiled a critique of children's fiction for the thirty years 1930-1960. For the next thirty years, her magazine kept up this unique scan of material; and with Matters of Fact covering non-fiction, and the various anthologies, her books and the magazine complemented each other.
    With The Bright Face of Danger, in 1986, she broke new ground, comparing two worlds of adventure, that of adults and that of children. The many folders of her notes in this archive demonstrate the complexity of this undertaking.
    Understandably, a large part of the archive consists of correspondence, most of it spread through the various files. Nearly every writer of books for children is represented.
    Also demonstrated by the files, as well as the prolific and varied range of her articles, is the number of organizations that called upon her for assistance and advice, as the unequalled expert in her chosen field. These papers encompass the history of the last sixty years of children's literature.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Fisher, Margery Turner, 1913- --Archives.
    Women authors, English--20th century--Archival resources.
    Women periodical editors--England--Archival resources.