The Seven Stories Collection
Britain has a wonderful heritage of writing and illustration for children – from The Famous Five to We're Going on a Bear Hunt, British children’s books are among the best known and most widely read in the world. Seven Stories works hard to preserve this heritage for this and future generations. We are the custodians of a unique and ever-growing national archive of modern and contemporary children’s literature.
Seven Stories collects all sorts of material relating to children's books - not just the finished work, but all that goes into the making of a book. Our Collection includes things like rough artwork, draft manuscripts, dummy books, correspondence, editors notes, proofs, and anything else that helps us explore how books are created. Today, the Seven Stories Collection includes material by over 180 authors and illustrators: people like Enid Blyton, Philip Pullman, Robert Westall, Judith Kerr, Edward Ardizzone and Kaye Webb. We collect archives dating from around 1930, right up to the present day (we even have material for books that haven't been published yet!).
As well as our archive, we have a fantastic library of over 35,000 books, many of which are rare or unique. We collect all sorts of British children's books (obviously!) as well as hard to find things like proof copies or translated editions. We also collect journals and periodicals on topics relating to children's books.
We share our Collection in a number of ways. We curate wonderful exhibitions exploring the world of children's books at our museum in Newcastle upon Tyne - many of our exhibitions go on to tour at other venues around the country. We work with schools and other organisations on learning projects, using material from our Collection to inspire and educate children and young people. And we support research into all sorts of topics relating to children's literature, making our Collection available to researchers and academics from around the world.
"Literary archives of all kinds have an immense value and fascination, by virtue of the way they combine what Philip Larkin called ‘magical’ as well as ‘meaningful’ elements. Manuscripts relating to children’s literature have an added value, too: they become the means by which children at the start of their reading lives are lured into the world of writing which has the potential to sustain them for ever after."