Yale-TCD Public Lectures on Children’s Literature

Posted on: 09 December 2011

The first in a series of exchanges and shared events in Children’s Literature between Trinity College Dublin and Yale University.

Two public lectures on children’s literature were delivered by Timothy Young and Professor Katie Trumpener of Yale University on Thursday 8th December last.  This was the first in a series of exchanges and shared events in children’s literature between Trinity College Dublin and Yale University.  The event was supported by Trinity’s School of English, Trinity College Library, Trinity Foundation, and Yale University.

Timothy Young, who is curator of the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children’s Literature at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale, spoke on “The Shirley Collection of Children’s Literature at Yale: Making a Private Collection into a Public Resource”.

Katie Trumpener, Professor of Comparative Literature and English at the English Department, Yale University, spoke on “The World in Images: Nineteenth-Century Picture Worlds and Modernist Ways of Seeing”.

Image from the Pollard Collection, Trinity College Dublin.

Both Trinity College Dublin and Yale University hold rich collections of children’s literature that are The Pollard Collection (TCD) and The Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection (Yale).  The Pollard Collection of Children’s Literature, a generous bequest to the Library from Paul Pollard (1922-2005), is a collection of over 10,000 books covering the period from late 17thC to early 20thC.  It contains literature written for children by significant Irish authors, particularly Maria Edgeworth, and many books of Irish interest, and includes moral tales and tracts, learner readers, chapbooks, nineteenth-century annuals and magazines.  The Pollard Collection offers enormous opportunities for research and scholarship and is a central resource for Trinity’s new taught masters’ programme in children’s literature, which came on stream in September 2011. 

The Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of American Children’s Literature at Yale is also an expansive collection with material dating from the 18thC onwards, collected by Betsy Beinecke Shirley (1919-2004).  The collection documents the reading and social lives of American children from the earliest years of the American Republic to the present day, and includes books, manuscripts, original art work, as well as toys and games.

Dr Darryl Jones, Head of the School of English, noted the significance of the event, saying that: “This event marks the beginning of what we in the School of English are sure will be an important and ongoing relationship between Trinity and Yale, and is a magnificent example of two of the world’s great universities coming together to share resources and ideas, interests and research, in a way which can only be mutually beneficial.  We’re delighted that two such distinguished members of the Yale faculty should be coming over to start things off in the best possible style, and look forward to the future with great excitement.”

Also commenting on the importance of this inaugural event, Robin Adams, Trinity College Librarian and Archivist, says: “The Library looks forward to future collaboration with colleagues from the University of Yale on co-operative initiatives involving the Betsy Beinecke Shirley Collection of Children’s Literature, such as cataloguing and digitisation, which will enhance the collection’s potential for academic exploration and facilitate access to the wider community.”

The Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald launched a new book by Pádraic Whyte, School of English, Trinity College, Irish Childhoods: Children’s Fiction and Irish History, prior to the event.