Guide to the Millicent Ellis Selsam papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Selsam, Millicent Ellis, 1912-
Title: Millicent Ellis Selsam papers
Dates: 1912-1996 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 7.0 linear feet (5 containters)
Collection Number: Ax 457
Summary: Millicent Selsam (1912- 1996) was a biologist and teacher who wrote natural science literature for children. This collection primarily contains manuscripts, illustrations, and other materials related to published works as well as various versions of paperbacks and correspondence.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Millicent Selsam (1912- 1996) was born and lived her entire live in New York City. She became interested in nature after studying biology first in high school and graduated cum laude from Brooklyn College in biology. She was then offered a fellowship teaching at Colombia University while completing an M.A. in Botany. After teaching biology for a number of years in New York City high schools, Selsam wanted to use her knowledge in a way other than teaching, and thus began writing children's literature on natural science. She was well known for her many nature books for children. Millicent died in New York City in 1996.

Content Description

The Millicent Ellis Selsam Papers contain original manuscripts, research and illustrations, various paperback editions; both revised and printed in foreign languages. Collection also includes photographs. This collection is well catalogued with the updated 4th container having been organized with typed notes by the author herself.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Reading Room.

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to . The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Millicent Selsam papers, Ax 457, , University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series:

Series: Manuscripts

Series: Published Works

Series: Miscellaneous

Series: Photographs

Addenda I

Addenda II

Addenda III

Acquisition Information :  

Gift of Millicent Ellis Selsam in 1968.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by processing staff. Photographs processed by Megan Dazey.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Detailed Description of the Collection

1 1 Benny's Animals. Early version of manuscript, original typed copy with author's corrections, final version, and printer's copy with corrections. One set of galley proofs with corrections, miscellaneous notes 1966
1 2 Biography of an Atom. Printer's copy of manuscript
1 3 Birth of a Forest. Version 1 of manuscript, original typed copy with author's revisions, version 1 through 4 and research correspondence 1963
1 4,5 The Bug that Laid the Golden Eggs. Early version of manuscript, original typed copy with author's revisions. First draft, holograph, final version, printer's copy, carbon. Copy for flaps, carbon. Dummy of book. Miscellaneous notes, dust jacket. 31 photographs (black and white) considered for use in book; gift of photographer, Harold Krieger
1 6 Exploring the Animal Kingdom. One folder of research notes
1 7 Greg's microscope. Version 1 of manuscript, carbon. Version 2, original typed copy with revisions. One set of galley proofs
1 8 How Animals Tell Time. First draft of manuscript, holograph. (chapter 3 missing). Carbon manuscript with author's revisions. First outline, list of illustrations, Xerox copies of some illustrations, miscellaneous letters from Morrow and Co
1 10 Maple Tree. Dummy, including text and photographs by Jerome Wexler
1 9 Milkweed. Original typed copy with corrections. One set of galley proofs, one set of page proofs. Dust jacket
2 1 Underwater Zoos. First draft, holograph and original typed copy, miscellaneous notes, dust jacket
2 2 When an Animal Grows. Original typed copy with corrections, one set of page proofs

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Published Works
2 Benny's Animals, Unbound copy 1966
2 Birth of an Island. Unbound copy 1959
2 How the Animals Eat. Out of print 1955
2 Nature Detective. Out of print 1958
2 Play with Vines. Out of print 1951
2 See Through the Jungle. Unbound copy 1957
2 See Through the Sea. Unbound copy 1955

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2 Stars, Mosquitoes and Crocodiles. Dust jacket
2 Photograph of Edison Award presentation
3 2 Hidden Animals. One copy of the book published by International Publishers, 1947. Photocopy of manuscript, with revisions. Several versions of the beginning. First draft (pulled from dummy), on cut up pieces of paper. First galley with corrections. Reset galley. Two proofs of jacket design. Xerox copies of photographs used. Two proofs of jacket design. Xerox copies of photographs used. Eight photos in layout dummy. Final layout for shooting with photocopies of text and photographs. 21 miscellaneous letters 1947, Revised 1969
3 3 How Animals Live Together. Outline. Revised manuscript, list of illustrations 1963
3 4 Let's Get Turtles. Revised manuscript 1965
3 5 Milkweed. Carbon of final manuscript. First draft, holograph, 37-quarter sheets. Second draft, with holograph revisions, 44 quarter sheets 1967

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Photographs (PH274), not yet assigned
3.0 linear feet
Selsam, Millicent
PH274_0000: [Images not yet listed for this collection.]
1.0 unknown
not yet assigned

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Addenda I, 1969
2 1 Underwater Zoos. 16 pencil sketches by author 1961
2 1 Tiger: Its Life in the Wild. (Donated both by Millicent Selsam and George B. Schaller) 1969
2 6,7 Versions 1 through 6
2 7 Carbon of final manuscript, printer's copy, edited
2 8 Corrected galley proofs. Three versions of dummy, each partial. Two set of Xerox copies of illustrations used. Final dummy for camera, with text and photos. Proofs of some photographs used. 35 photographs- both negatives and positives. Sample page layouts for 8 pages. Fragments of manuscript
3 1 When an Animal Grows. Holograph draft, 35-quarter sheets. Several early drafts 1966
3 1 Around the World with Darwin. Japanese edition 1960
3 1
Published Books 1969
3 1 The Bug that Laid the Golden Eggs 1969
3 1 How Animals Sleep 1965
3 1 Language of Animals. Arabic edition undated
3 1 Let's Get Turtles 1966
3 1 Plants that Heal. Urdu and Iraqi edition undated
3 1 Play with Trees. Italian edition 1960
3 1 See Through the Sea 195-
3 1 Terry and the Caterpillars. English, German, and Danish editions 1963

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Addenda II: The Harlequin Moth
2 1 Dummy, corrections, draft, photos and published book. Inserted into Box 2 without inventory

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Addenda III: Material related to published works, 1980

Typed information within every folder provided by Millicent Selsam.

4 1 Animals of the Sea. Dummy with corrections, first draft, second draft, final draft, trial dummy, and copy of paperback 1975
4 2 Questions and Answers About Ants. Manuscript- first, second, and third drafts. Correspondence with expert. Dummy made by author 1980
4 3 Animals as Parents. Rough draft of Introduction and first three chapters of manuscript. Illustrations copied from books and papers to help illustrator with sources. List of author's sources for illustrations
4 4 All Kinds of Babies. Paperbacks of the original version, 1953, and the revised 1967 1953 and 1967
4 5 Egg to Chick. Correspondence, four dummies, galleys- two sets with corrections, manuscript- with and without copyediting and"ready for the printer." Flap copy, front matter setting copy, old and new edition of paperbacks
4 6 A First Look at Animals with Backbones. Cover, folded and gathered sheets, dummy, galleys, Xerox of mechanicals, manuscript, and some reviews 1981
4 7 A First Look at Animals Without Backbones. Xerox of dummy with revisions, publicity flier, and reviews
4 8 A First Look at Birds. Manuscript, corrected copy for printer, galleys, dummy, paperback, cover, reviews, and announcement of publication
4 9 A First Look at Cats. First, second, and third thoughts. Manuscript- first, second, and third drafts. Galley with corrections
4 10 A First Look at Sharks. Three dummies- original and revised and final. Xerox of final dummy. Three versions of manuscript- original, revised and final. Galleys, cover, a few reviews. Correspondence with the designer, Lena Hor, and with the expert, Dr. Atz of the American Museum of National History
4 11 Sea Monsters of Long Ago. Possible titles, first draft of manuscript (handwritten). Various versions of the beginning of the manuscript, second draft, first dummy with rough drawings- with suggestions by author and editor. Second dummy with corrections by author. Copy of paperback edition. Some reviews
4 12 Land of the Giant Tortoise: The Story of the Galapagos. Unbound copy of the book, manuscript- 3 versions. Galleys, first- and master revised set
4 13 How Animals Live Together. Revised edition published 1979 and original published 1963. Revised manuscript showing changes made, galleys, Xerox of mechanicals, jacket of revised edition, sources for photos, correspondence with expert, Xerox of manuscript, brainstorms for the ending, flap copy, and Xeroxes of some photos used in the book 1963, Revised 1979

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  • Personal Names :
  • Selsam, Millicent Ellis, 1912-
  • Subject Terms :
  • Natural history--Juvenile literature
  • Women authors, American--20th century
  • Young adult literature, American--Authorship
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Manuscripts for publication

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