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J. Paul Leonard Library: The Archer Collection: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why can't I take books out of your collection?

A: Many of the materials in the Archer Collection are extremely fragile. Archer Collection materials do not circulate, but are available in Archives/Special Collections Reading Room for research.

Q: Can I make photocopies of materials from the Archer Collection?

A: Archer Collection materials generally may not be photocopied, but collection users may bring cameras and photograph materials. Reproducing materials for library users and for inter-library loans is at the discretion of the Curator. The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are used for "Private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials, other than that noted above.

Q: What are the earliest book and manuscript in the collection?

A: The earliest book in the collection is a German language almanac from Pennsylvania for the year of 1776. In a predominantly agricultural society, the typical eighteenth century household might only have access to a Bible and an almanac, which served as an agricultural calendar for planting and harvesting. This may seem sparse to today's information driven society, but the rich imaginations and dexterous hands of these earlier children made use of all printed materials, ranging from religious literature to scraps from various household items. Nothing went to waste, because resources were scarce and families had to be self sufficient.

This German language almanac contains the traditional elements for an agricultural almanac, which includes astronomical and meteorological data arranged according to days, week and months for the year 1776, along with interesting tips and facts.
Earliest manuscript, circa. 1732. This fragile vellum-bound volume contains family records and accounts.

Q: Can I use the Archer Collection to study trends in illustration?

A:The Archer Collection abounds with illustrated editions of literary classics. The easiest way to check to see if an artist is represented in the collection is to check to see if the artist's name is listed our on-line catalog (InvestiGator) under AUTHOR.

Aesop's fables illustrated by different artists.
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Q: Can you appraise the value of my old children's books?

A: As employees of the State of California, collection staff cannot appraise the value of materials donated to the collection or for individuals researching private collections. For a list of reputable book dealers who work with fair practices in your area, contact the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America. [ ]

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Q: I have some children's books that I would like to donate the Archer Collection. What do I need to do?

A: The Archer Collection exists because of the generous donations of people in our community. At this moment our space is extremely limited. While we gratefully accept materials that fit our collection scope, we cannot accept all gifts. To donate books to main collections of the Leonard Library contact: Beverly Cheng, Gifts Coordinator Acquisitions Management J. Paul Leonard Library (415) 338-6054 To donate books to the Friends of the J. Paul Leonard Library for the Booksale room, contact: The Friends of the Library at (415) 338-2408.

Q: How can I support the Archer Collection?

A: There is a development fund for preserving materials in the Archer Collection. For more information about the Development Fund for the Marguerite Archer Collection of Historic Children's Materials with the San Francisco State University Foundation, Inc., contact:

Meredith Eliassen
Archer Collection
J. Paul Leonard Library
1630 Holloway Avenue
San Francisco CA 94132

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