Blogs @ Emporia State University

Authors' Tea

Mar 18, 2013

Tags: emporia may massee special collections

On January 31, 2013 the 5th - 8th grades at Turning Point Academy welcomed Ashley Todd-Diaz, ESU’s Curator of Special Collections and Archives, and Bev Buller, a successful author, for an authors’ tea. This event was planned in conjunction with a project some of the students are working on to publish a book of short stories. The students invited Bev and Ashley to speak to them about the writing and publishing process.


 Ashley Todd-Diaz, discussing May Massee.

Ashley introduced the students to May Massee, a prominent children's book publisher who founded two of the first three children's publishing divisions. She worked at Doubleday, Page and Co and then Viking, publishing classics like Make Way for Ducklings, Madeline and the Gypsies, and Mop Top. The ESU’s Special Collections and Archives houses the May Massee Collection, and Ashley utilized resources from the collection to provide insight into the publishing process during the 1940s and 50s. In particular, she shared images of Massee’s manuscript record; correspondence and telegrams between Massee and authors and illustrators discussing editing, pairing illustrations with text and design details; and illustrations that inform the publishing process. Ashley used the archival materials to highlight how important it is for authors and illustrators to have confidence and perseverance because the publishing process may be long and complicated from manuscript submission to published product.


 Bev Buller, sharing her books.

Bev shared her experiences successfully researching, writing and publishing two books, From Emporia: The Story of William Allen White and A Prairie Peter Pan: The Story of Mary White. She discussed visiting many libraries and archives, including the State Library and ESU Special Collections and Archives, during the course of her research in order to learn more about her subjects and identify historic documents and artifacts to include in the books and make them as real as possible for the reader. She also discussed her new book on William Allen White’s granddaughter. Bev emphasized the effort that goes into writing and organizing a book, but also the reward of seeing it completed and enjoyed by readers. Bev closed the Authors' Tea by holding a book signing for interested students.


If you would like to learn more about the May Massee Collection or the William Allen White Collection, please contact the ESU Special Collections and Archives at or (620) 341-6431.

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

Special Collections and Archives

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