I love a good mystery and I found one in Holling Clancy Holling. Holling was a writer/illustrator you could sink deeply into. Certainly more than the vanity children’s books written today by celebrities. Yet, nowhere could I find a single source of all the books he wrote, published or illustrated. No biography exceeded a handful of bare facts about his life. His work has remained in print for more than six decades—and yet, so little information is out there.
Over a period of two months I diligently tracked down all available info to get insights—and sometime just raw facts—about HCH. After a lengthy exchange of e-mails, UCLA's archivists proved too busy to answer my query, but a kind librarian in Jackson Co., Mich.—Holling's home—provided a wealth of info and an obit. Other individuals were also helpful. The article has now gone to the American Book Collectors of Children's Literature for their fall 2008 newsletter. You can read a blog posting of it at http://wordtrip.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?p=201873&sid=1f8a86880ffca1858fe21b1b44d4c8e9#201873.
It was interesting how some university librarians/archivists were so “busy”, while under different circumstances others (notably UConn and the U. of Iowa) have been angels at putting their collections online for the public. Yes, I remember the good ones when they ask for annual support. Support your librarians, the unsung heros of writers everywhere!