• Share:
  • Download/Print:
  • PDF

Millicent Ellis Selsam papers, 1912-1996

Overview of the Collection

Selsam, Millicent Ellis, 1912-
Millicent Ellis Selsam papers
1912-1996 (inclusive)
7.0 linear feet, (5 containters)
Collection Number
Ax 457
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.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Reading Room.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

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 DescriptionReturn to Top

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 CollectionReturn to Top

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 InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

ManuscriptsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
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
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
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

Published WorksReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Benny's Animals, Unbound copy
Birth of an Island. Unbound copy
How the Animals Eat. Out of print
Nature Detective. Out of print
Play with Vines. Out of print
See Through the Jungle. Unbound copy
See Through the Sea. Unbound copy

MiscellaneousReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Stars, Mosquitoes and Crocodiles. Dust jacket
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
3 4
Let's Get Turtles. Revised manuscript
3 5
Milkweed. Carbon of final manuscript. First draft, holograph, 37-quarter sheets. Second draft, with holograph revisions, 44 quarter sheets

Photographs (PH274), not yet assignedReturn to Top

3.0 linear feet
Selsam, Millicent
Description Dates
PH274_0000: [Images not yet listed for this collection.]
1.0 unknown
not yet assigned

Addenda I, 1969Return to Top

Container(s): Box 3, Folder 5

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
Underwater Zoos. 16 pencil sketches by author
2 1
Tiger: Its Life in the Wild. (Donated both by Millicent Selsam and George B. Schaller)
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
3 1
Around the World with Darwin. Japanese edition
3 1
Published Books
Box Folder
3 1
The Bug that Laid the Golden Eggs
3 1
How Animals Sleep
3 1
Language of Animals. Arabic edition
3 1
Let's Get Turtles
3 1
Plants that Heal. Urdu and Iraqi edition
3 1
Play with Trees. Italian edition
3 1
See Through the Sea
3 1
Terry and the Caterpillars. English, German, and Danish editions

Addenda II: The Harlequin MothReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 3, Folder 1

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
2 1
Dummy, corrections, draft, photos and published book. Inserted into Box 2 without inventory

Addenda III: Material related to published works, 1980Return to Top

Container(s): Box 2, Folder 1

Typed information within every folder provided by Millicent Selsam.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1
Animals of the Sea. Dummy with corrections, first draft, second draft, final draft, trial dummy, and copy of paperback
4 2
Questions and Answers About Ants. Manuscript- first, second, and third drafts. Correspondence with expert. Dummy made by author
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
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