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Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel

Identifier: MS Group 136

Scope and Content

Autobiography, correspondence, notes, travel information, itineraries, receipts, speeches, writings, diaries, photographs and miscellaneous papers. The collection is arranged by into groups. The first group contains Bechtel's correspondence and writings arranged alphabetically by title, the second group contains the manuscript and notes for her autobiography, the third group contains her diaries and the final group contains scrapbooks, slides and miscellaneous materials. This collection contains extensive documentation of Ms. Bechtel's writing including her speeches and articles. Of special note in this collection is the correspondence with Berta and Elmer Hader, children's book authors. This correspondence contains extensive marginalia of delightful pen, ink and watercolor illustrations by the Haders. Box 9 contains 43 Christmas greetings illustrated by the Haders. Also included are diaries from world travels and information on a remedial reading project.


  • Creation: 1917-1986



The collection is open for research.

Biographical/Historical Note

Editor, author, lecturer on children's literature. Louise Seaman Bechtel, 1894-1985, served as Editor and Head of the Juvenile Book Department of Macmillan Publishing Company in New York City. A 1915 graduate of Vassar College, Bechtel began work for Macmillan in 1919. After leaving Macmillan in 1934, Bechtel worked as a freelance writer and lecturer. She was the editor of the children's section of the New York Herald Tribune Book Review from 1948 to 1956 and was associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine, a journal on literature for children, from 1939 to 1957. She married Edwin DeTurch Bechtel in 1929. In 1980, Ms. Bechtel donated portions of her papers, an extensive book collection, correspondence and memorabilia to Vassar College.


6 Linear feet (10 Boxes)

Language of Materials



The Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel document the publishing of children's literature in the United States at mid-century and the rise of women as editors and publishers in the United States. The collection contains correspondence with several famous children's books authors and illustrators.

Physical Location

University of Florida Smathers Library Building

Acquisition Information

The collection was received from the Cerimon Foundation after Ms. Bechtel's death. This Foundation was created by Ms. Bechtel to endow the George A Smathers Libraries Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature.

Alternative Format Available

A digital reproduction of Louise Bechtel's autobiography is available online via the University of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC). Please read the Permissions for Use statement for information on copyright, fair use, and use of UFDC digital objects.

A Guide to the Papers of Louise Seaman Bechtel
Finding aid prepared by Carla Summers
August 2004
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Description is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository

George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America