The Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Papers document the life and career of a teacher and prolific writer of children's and young adult literature. The collection consists of biographical material, manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, research and other supporting materials related to a wide range of published and unpublished works.
A teacher and prolific writer specializing in works for children and
young adults, Elizabeth Rider was born to Charles Quantrell and Lula (Tralle)
Rider on July 12, 1902, in Huaras, Peru, where her father was serving as a
missionary and teacher. The family returned to the United States when Elizabeth
was 18 months old and she spent her childhood in Independence, Missouri, and
Seattle, Washington. Although intending to be an artist, she trained as a
teacher, receiving a two-year certificate from the Washington State Normal
School at Bellingham (now Western Washington University) in 1925 and a degree
in Education from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1928.
While employed as an elementary school teacher, Mrs. Montgomery began
writing, with the intention of improving the reading primers then available for
her young pupils. In 1938, she left the teaching profession and, until 1963,
was employed as a staff-writer for the text-book publisher Scott,
Foresman & Company. While there, she was closely involved in the creation and
development of the pre-primers and health texts featuring the ongoing
characters named "Dick" and "Jane." Subsequently, she was a free-lance writer,
authoring novels, biographies, stories, plays, and poems for children and young
adults, as well as magazine articles, novels, and plays for adults.
Spanning more than 40 years and resulting in over 70 works, Elizabeth
Rider Montgomery's distinguished career was recognized by many honors,
including awards from the National Federation of Press Women, National League
of American Pen Women, Phi Delta Nu Honorary Fraternity of Authors and Creative
Artists, Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, Washington Press Women, and the
Seattle Historical Society. Married to Norman A. Montgomery from 1930 to 1961,
and to Arthur Julesberg from 1963, Elizabeth Rider Montgomery died on February
19, 1985, in Seattle, Washington.
The Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Papers consist of biographical materials including personal memorabilia, photographs, scrapbooks, and original artwork. The collection also contains manuscripts, drafts, correspondence, research and other supporting materials related to a wide range of published and unpublished work such as books, stories, plays, and poetry.
Use of the Collection
Alternative Forms Available :
Digital reproductions of questionaires and correspondence between Montgomery and award-winning children's authors are available online as part of Western Libraries Digital Collections (see the "20th Century Children's Authors" collection).
Restrictions on Access :
The collection is open to the public.
Restrictions on Use :
Material in the collection may be subject to copyright restrictions.
Preferred Citation :
Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Papers, Western Libraries Special Collections, Heritage Resources, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103
The Elizabeth Rider Montgomery Papers are organized according to the following
Series I. Biographical Material,
Series II. Correspondence,
Series III. Series III. Research Material,
Series IV. "Dick and Jane" Material,
Series V. Poetry,
Series VI. Plays,
Series VII. Stories and Articles,
Series VIII. Books,
Acquisition Information :
The collection was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Robin A. (Monty) Montgomery in 2002.
Related Materials :
A selection of books by Elizabeth Rider Montgomery are in the Western Collection in Special Collections. Additional copies of individual book titles may also be available in the Libraries' circulating collection.
The de Grummond Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi's McCain Library and Archives also includes a selection of Elizabeth Rider Montgomery's papers. Follow this hyperlink to view an inventory of this collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in
Series I: Biographical Material, circa 1920-1985
Personal memorabilia, story notes, journal, theater and musical event programs, Los Angeles School District notice of written examination of applicants for positions as teachers, etc., Elementary salary schedule, Instructions to Prospective Teachers
School reports, certificates, diplomas: Teacher's Certificate, Public Elementary Schools of Missouri, Teacher's Certificate, Public Schools of Missouri, First Grade Teacher-Training, Student Card, Central Missouri State Teachers College, Second Grade Elementary Certificate, Common Schools of Washington, Grade report, Washington State Normal School, Ellensburg, Grade report, State Normal School, Bellingham, Grade report, State Normal School, Bellingham, Normal School Life Diploma, Washington State Normal School, Bellingham, Student's Duplicate Study List, University of California at Los Angeles
The Gleam – yearbook of William Chrisman High School, Independence, Missouri
Awards and certificates - The Manuscripters, Music and Art Foundation of Seattle, National Federation of Press Women, National League of American Pen Women, Inc., National Writers Club, Pacific Northwest Writers Conference, Phi Delta Nu, Seattle Historical Society, Washington Press Women, Marquis Biographical Library Society, Who's Who of American Women
Newspaper reviews, notices, etc.
Miscellaneous biographical materials – The Student Opinion, Mrs. Elizabeth Rider Montgomery and Her Book: “The Half-Pint Fisherman” (KING-T), “Who’s Who of American Women?,” letter to Suzanne St. Pierre (CBS News, 60 Minutes), letter to Ernest Kay, General Editor, and draft biographical entry (International Biographical Centre), obituaries in Seattle Post Intelligencer and Seattle Times
"One-Armed Paperhanger, or How to Combine Kids with a Career (In Ten Easy Lessons)"
"Opportunity Doesn't Knock"
"Answers to Questions Often Asked," "Subject: Myself," "Community Service," "Penwomen Vignette," PTA National Paper Interview and supporting correspondence, "Elizabeth Rider Montgomery: (Capsule Career)"
Scrapbook - "50th Book Celebration, Sept. 1969, and 60th Book Celebration, Oct. 13, 1973, and 50 Years of Writing, Oct. 10, 1982"
“The Pre-Primer Years” – correspondence with Scott, Foresman and Co.
“1st Health Series” – correspondence with Scott, Foresman and Co.
Correspondence regarding The Story Behind Great Stories – Alden, Raymond (Why the Chimes Rang), Bannerman, Helen (Little Black Sambo), Gag, Wanda (Millions of Cats); Milne, A. A. (Winnie-the-Pooh)
Correspondence regarding The Story Behind Modern Books – Andrews, Eleanor Frances (Little Pear), Atwater, Florence (Mr. Popper's Penguins), Benet, Marjorie Flack (The Story about Ping), Bishop, Claire (The Five Chinese Brothers), Brink, Carol Ryrie (Caddie Woodlawn), Brunhoff, Cecile De (Story of Babar), Daugherty, James (Andy and the Lion), D'Aulaire, Ingri (Ola), Demetrios, Virginia [Virginia Lee Burton] (The Little House), Estes, Eleanor (The Moffats)
Correspondence regarding The Story Behind Modern Books – Forbes, Esther (Johnny Tremain), Gramatky, Hardie (Little Toot), Hall, Doris Gates (Blue Willow), Holling, H. C. (Paddle-to-the-Sea), Knight, Jere, etc. (Lassie Come-Home) Lathrop, Dorothy P. (illus.) (Hitty, Her First Hundred Years [by Rachel Field]), Lawson, Robert (Rabbit Hill), Lenski, Lois (Little Auto)
Correspondence regarding The Story Behind Modern Books – Means, Florence Crannell (Shuttered Windows), Meigs, Cornelia (Invincible Louisa), O'Brien, Jack (Silver Chief), Petersham, Maud (The Rooster Crows), Rawlings, Marjorie Kinnan (The Yearling), Salten, Felix (Bambi), Sandburg, Carl (Abe Lincoln Grows Up), Seredy, Kate (The Good Master)
Correspondence regarding The Story Behind Modern Books - Shephard, Esther, etc. (Paul Bunyan), Snedeker, Caroline (Downright Dencey), Sperry, Armstrong (Call It Courage), Stong, Phil (Honk, the Moose), Thurber, James (Many Moons), Travers, P. L. (Mary Poppins), Vining, Elizabeth Gray (Adam of the Road), Wilder, Laura Ingalls (Little House in the Big Woods)
Correspondence from R. T. Bond of Dodd, Mead and Co. regarding translations of The Story of Great Medical Discoveries
Individual poems - "Before I Learned to Read," "Contest Mania," "Contrast," "Exemptions," "A Mother's Song of Thanksgiving," "Mountain Road," "Prayer Before Pay-Day," "Prayer for Two," "Pride at Seven," "Six Years Old," "Soliloquy of a Gentleman on Meeting the Lady of the Toothbrush Ads," "Thank God for Showers," "Three Little Girls," "Trees Are Like People," "What Is In My Head?," "When You Grow Up," "Writer vs. Cook"