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Finding Aid for the Frances Clarke Sayers papers, 1910-1989
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Collection Details
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  • Restrictions on Use and Reproduction
  • Restrictions on Access
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Organization and Arrangement
  • UCLA Catalog Record ID
  • Related Oral History

  • Title: Frances Clarke Sayers papers
    Collection number: 1631
    Contributing Institution: UCLA Library Special Collections
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 16.5 linear ft. (33 boxes. 3 oversize boxes.)
    Date: 1910-1989
    Abstract: Frances Clarke Sayers (1897-1989) was a lecturer on children's literature at UCLA (1954-65). She won the Joseph W. Lippincott Award for distinguished service in the profession of librarianship (1965), and the Clarence Day Award (1966) for Summoned by Books: Essays and Speeches. The collection consists of Sayers' correspondence, family journals, photographs, notes, and memorabilia.
    Physical location: Stored off-site at SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact the UCLA Library Special Collections Reference Desk for paging information.
    Creator: Sayers, Frances Clarke, 1897-

    Restrictions on Use and Reproduction

    Property rights to the physical object belong to UCLA Library 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

    Open for research. STORED OFF-SITE AT SRLF. Advance notice is required for access to the collection. Please contact UCLA Library Special Collections for paging information.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Frances Clarke Sayers Papers (Collection 1631). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA.


    Sayers was born on September 4, 1897 in Topeka, Kansas; attended University of Texas and Carnegie Institute of Technology; assistant in children's room (1918-23) and superintendent of work with children (1941-52), New York Public Library; lecturer on children's literature, 1954-65, UCLA; won Joseph W. Lippincott Award for distinguished service in the profession of librarianship, 1965 and Clarence Day Award, 1966 for Summoned by Books: Essays and Speeches (edited by Marjeanne Blinn, 1965); other publications include Bluebonnets for Lucinda (1932), Mr. Tidy-Paws (1934), and Anne Carroll More: a Biography (1972); she died on July 24, 1989 in Ojai, California.

    Expanded Biographical Narrative

    Frances Clarke Sayers, noted children's librarian, author, teacher, storyteller and speaker, was an advocate of excellence in children's literature. 1 Born on September 4, 1897 in Topeka, Kansas, Sayers later stated that she knew she wanted to be a children's librarian from childhood. 2 After attending the University of Texas at Austin, she graduated from the Library School at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1918, which was the first and, at that time, only library school specializing in work with children. 3
    Sayers had a long career in both librarianship and academia. Between 1918 and 1925, she was a children's librarian at the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries and a school librarian at University Elementary School, UCLA. In 1941, she replaced Anne Carroll Moore as superintendent of work with children. Between 1934 and 1965 she was a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Librarianship, the Pratt Institute, the University of Michigan Library School and English Department, the New School of Social Research, the English Department, UCLA. In 1960, she was invited to join the newly opened School of Library Service at UCLA by the founding dean, Lawrence Clark Powell. 4 She remained on the faculty until her retirement in 1965.
    Sayers published a variety of materials including essays, speeches, poetry, articles, children's books, and a biography of Anne Carroll Moore. She received a number of awards over the course of her career, including the Joseph W. Lippincott Award (1965), the Clarence Day Award (1966), and the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal (1973). She died on July 24, 1989 in Ojai, California.
    In 1993, the Department of Library and Information Science, UCLA, established a lecture series in Sayers honor.
    Chronology 5
    1897 Born September 4, Topeka, Kansas
    1915-1917 Attends University of Texas at Austin
    1918 Graduates Library School, Carnegie Institute of Technology
    1918-1923 Children's librarian, New York Public Library
    1923-1924 Children's librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
    1924-1925 School librarian, University Elementary School, UCLA
    1925 Marries Alfred Henry Paul Sayers (June 27)
    1934-1941 Lecturer in child librarianship, University of California at Berkeley School of Librarianship
    1934 Publishes Bluebonnets for Lucinda
    1935 Publishes Mr. Paws
    1941 Publishes Tag-Along Tooloo
    1941-1952 Superintendent of work with children, New York Public Library
    1944-1950 Lecturer, Pratt Institute
    1945-1953 Lecturer, University of Michigan Library School and English Department (summer courses - intermittent 1945-1953)
    1948 Publishes Sally Tait
    1950-1952 Lecturer, New School of Social Research
    1951 Publishes Ginny and Custard
    1951 Special advisor to Library of Congress
    1952-1954 Prestige Service lecturer for Compton's Encyclopedia Company
    1954 Lecturer, English Department, UCLA
    1958 Edits Anthology of Children's Literature (with Evelyn Sickels and Edna Johnson)
    1960-1965 Lecturer, School of Library Service, UCLA
    1965 Retires to Ojai, California
    1965 Receives Joseph W. Lippincott Award for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship
    1966 Receives Clarence Day Award for Summoned by Books
    1969 Receives Southern California Children's Literature Award
    1970 Publishes Oscar Lincoln Busby Stokes
    1972 Publishes Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography
    1973 Receives Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal
    1989 Dies July 24 in Ojai, California
    1. Natalie Hall, UCLA to Honor Memory of Children's Literature Advocate Frances Clarke Sayers. UCLA News Press Release, February 6, 1990.
    2. Box 7, folder 3, Frances Clarke Sayers Papers (Collection 1631). Library Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Hall, 2.
    5. Laurel Langford Gunderson and Laureen Geppert Jacobs, Frances Clarke Sayers: Author, Librarian, Storyteller and Teacher. Bibliography created by students of the School of Library and Information Science, UCLA, December 9, 1993. Available at UCLA Library Special Collections.

    Scope and Content

    Collection consists of correspondence, family journals, photographs, notes, and memorabilia.

    Expanded Scope and Content

    The papers of Frances Clarke Sayers cover the period from 1910-1989 and measure approximately 20 linear feet. The collection consists of both business and personal papers. Materials related to her professional activities as a librarian, author, storyteller, lecturer, and teacher include copies of some of Sayers' publications, business correspondence, reel-to-reel tapes, phonograph albums, awards, and books. Within her personal papers, there are diaries and calendars, photographs, postcards, travel memorabilia, scrapbooks and Photograph albums, and textile materials.
    The materials in this collection were not organized according to any discernible system. Unrelated items were housed together, apparently for ease of storage. Because of the lack of original order, a new arrangement was imposed on the materials. They have been rearranged by record series according to material format and subject matter as described below. In general, each box contains material of the same format. Be advised that some folders, mainly those created by Sayers, may contain materials of more than one series (e.g., professional activities with personal papers). Unless otherwise noted, these materials have not been separated--with the exception of photographs and postcards--in order to maintain original order of her folders. The photographs and postcards have been rehoused in separate boxes. Because materials can be housed in only one physical location, it is recommended that researchers search across the whole collection for items, rather than simply in the series that appear to be appropriate.
    The papers have been divided into thirteen series. These are described below according to the processors' sense of the importance of the material. However, the container list is arranged alphabetically.
    Professional Activities (1904-1989): This series of materials consists of business correspondence, newspaper clippings, lecture notes, and other materials relating to Sayers' role as a librarian, storyteller, speaker, and teacher. Items related to her work at UCLA are included as a sub-series of this series. Information regarding her criticism of Walt Disney is also included in this series, as well as in the Publishing Activities series.
    Publishing Activities (1911-1989): Because a large proportion of the business papers reflected Sayers' publishing activities, a separate series was created for these materials. This series consists of correspondence with publishers and illustrators, research notes regarding Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography, royalty statements, publishing contracts, and other materials related to Sayers' publishing career. This series contains letters to Sayers from Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and Pamela L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins, and a copy of a letter from E.B. White. Materials regarding Sayers' criticism of Walt Disney are included in this series, as well as in the Professional Activities series. Within this series, a sub-series of Publications is composed of materials published by or about Sayers, including books, articles, interviews, and reviews.
    Personal Business (1925-1985): Correspondence between Sayers and her lawyer regarding family wills and estates, and material regarding the sale of property are grouped together in this series. Tax and insurance bills are also included.
    Personal Papers (1889-1989): This series consists of personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, articles, and magazines. It includes Christmas cards to both Sayers' and her sister over several years in the 1970s.
    Calendars and Diaries (1921-1986): This series is comprised of calendars, some of which were owned by Sayers' mother or appear to have been kept by Marie V. Clarke (Sayers' sister). Several of the calendars have diary entries; in 1978 there are entries on September 4 (Frances's birthday), February 5 (87 today), and December 19 (home with sister) which indicate that the calendars may have belonged to Marie. In addition, this series includes diaries, some originally had photographs, postcards, and clippings enclosed. The photographs and postcards were removed and rehoused separately. The clippings have not been separated from the diaries. Travel diaries are included in Travel Memorabilia series.
    Scrapbooks and Photograph Albums (1889-1939): This series contains intact scrapbooks and albums belonging to Sayers' and to other family members.
    Travel Memorabilia (1926-1986): This series includes brochures, guides, itineraries, and programs to theatrical and musical events. Postcards, newspaper clippings, and travel diaries are also included. Travel photographs are included in the Photographs and Negatives series.
    Audiotapes and Records (where dated: 1959-1962): Both seven-inch and three-inch reel-to-reel tapes are included in this series. Those that are identified pertain to Sayers' storytelling activities. The records include speeches from her collection of essays, Summoned by Books, and readings by Ella Young and Ruth Sawyer.
    Books (1901-1985): This series contains books from Sayers' personal collection, including children's books, books on writing, yearbooks, and autograph books.
    Awards (1918-1981): Awards, medals, and plaques that Sayers received during the course of her career, and for her participation in the war effort, comprise this series.
    Textile Materials (undated): A child's dress, petticoat, bonnets and caps, and kerchief comprise this series. The pins have been left intact on the kerchief to avoid damaging the material.
    Artifacts (where dated: 1943): This series contains three pieces of original art of unknown origin.
    Photographs and Negatives (1899-1989): Photographs from Sayers' travels, work, and home life, including formal portraits of family members are included in this series. A photograph taken at the Newbery Medal dinner in 1937 is included on which luminaries from the publishing, library, and political arenas are identified.

    Organization and Arrangement

    Many of the original document boxes of this collection contained a variety of materials of different formats in no particular order: e.g., personal papers, photographs, and awards were combined for no apparent reason other than convenience of storage. Because there was no discernible original order to this collection, the materials have been rearranged into record series based on their format and their subject matter: professional activities, publishing activities, personal business, personal papers, calendars and diaries, scrapbooks and Photograph albums, travel memorabilia, audiotapes and records, books, awards, textile materials, artifacts, and photographs and negatives. Original file labels were preserved whenever possible.

    UCLA Catalog Record ID

    UCLA Catalog Record ID: 4233736 

    Related Oral History

    The following oral history is available through the UCLA Library Center for Oral History Research:

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Sayers, Frances Clarke, 1897- --Archives.
    Children's librarians--United States--Archival resources.
    Women authors, American--Archival resources.