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Anne Carroll Moore Papers

Identifier: MC-010

Scope and Contents

The Anne Carroll Moore Papers, which were donated by her publisher W. W. Norton & Co. in 1961 and with additions through 1966, consist of correspondence, publications, and memorabilia, with most items dating from the 1920s through the mid-1950s. The correspondence to and from Moore is largely professional in nature, though many letters take a personal tone as a result of Moore's warm relationships with her correspondents. The letters focus primarily on library matters at Pratt Institute, research on Mary Wright Plummer, guest lectures by Moore, and various publishing and library issues. Writings include articles, reviews, and a report by Moore, a thesis about her and a festschrift in her honor, and research notes for Plummer's biography. Also included are obituaries, materials pertaining to Moore's Regina Medal award, and miscellaneous memorabilia such as her diploma and diploma of honor from the Institute, and the citation for her honorary Doctor of Letters degree.


  • Creation: 1896 - 1966
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1920 - 1955


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, contact the Archivist, Pratt Institute Library.

Biographical / Historical

Anne Carroll Moore was born in Maine in 1871, the daughter of State Senator Luther Sanborn Moore. Her early education took place at the Bradford Academy for Women in Massachusetts, and in 1895 she became a student in the Library School of Pratt Institute where, in 1896, Director Mary Wright Plummer asked her to design services for the new children’s library at the Institute. In 1906, at the request of Arthur Bostwick, the head of circulation at the New York Public Library, Moore left Pratt to take charge of setting up the children's rooms in the NYPL's main library and branches. While there she developed collections for children, including immigrants, for whom she purchased books in their native languages. Moore greatly contributed to the development of children’s librarianship, and her innovations were widely imitated. She sought to promote the love of reading for its own sake, and she encouraged exhibits and special events to spark interest in specific subjects. She advocated the use of oral storytelling as a means of drawing children to literature, and invited numerous authors, including Walter de la Mare, Ludwig Bemelmans, Carl Sandburg, and Stephen Vincent Benét, to give readings of their works. When speaking to groups of children she often used a little wooden doll named Nicholas, which quickly developed a reputation of its own and about which she herself wrote two books.

In addition to her library work, Moore was a prodigious reviewer of children’s literature. Her “The Three Owls” column ran in the New York Herald Tribune from 1924 to 1930, and in 1936 she began writing “The Three Owls Notebook” for the Horn Book. She paid particular attention to literary quality when reviewing books, and in so doing helped raise the quality of children’s literature.

Throughout her life Moore was also interested in social causes. When Leo Frank, a young Jewish man, was accused of murdering a girl in Atlanta, Georgia in 1913, Moore remembered that he had lived in Brooklyn as a child and had used the Pratt Institute Children’s Library. While he was in jail she visited him, despite strong public belief in his guilt, and later, after his conviction, she initiated petitions to have his death sentence commuted (it was in fact commuted to life imprisonment but he was lynched by a mob in 1915 while serving his sentence).

Although Moore retired from the New York Public Library in 1941, she continued to write and teach until she was well into her eighties. She received numerous awards throughout her illustrious career, including a Diploma of Honor from Pratt Institute (1932), honorary doctorates from Pratt Institute and the University of Maine, the first Constance Lindsay Skinner Award (1940), and the Regina Medal of the Catholic Library Association (1960). Moore died in 1961.

Moore's pioneering efforts helped to establish the field of children’s librarianship. Her influence was far-reaching; many libraries established children’s rooms and collections as a result of her work. Because she respected children instead of condescending to them, and believed that reading was a crucial factor in their development, she succeeded in elevating the standards of children’s literature so that it stood as a respected genre in its own right.

Source: Amy Spaulding, “Moore, Anne Carroll,” in American National Biography (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).


0.45 Linear Feet (3 boxes)

Language of Materials



Anne Carroll Moore was an important pioneer of children’s librarianship. A graduate of Pratt Institute, she developed the children’s room at the Pratt Institute Library and later set up services for the children’s rooms of the main library and branches of the New York Public Library. Moore introduced numerous innovations into library services for children, including exhibits, special events, and storytelling, and she emphasized the love of reading for its own sake. She also regularly reviewed children’s literature, helping set standards for that genre, and took an active interest in social causes. Her papers date from 1896 to 1966 and consist of business correspondence, publications, and memorabilia. Images exist in the Pratt Institute Archives Photograph Collection.


The records are arranged in four series, three of which have been further arranged in subseries. The series and subseries arrangement of the records is as follows:

Series 1: Biographical Information and Memorabilia, 1896–1966

1.1: Regina Medal, 1960

1.2: Theses and festschriften, 1956–1966

1.3: Miscellaneous, 1896–1951

Series 2: Outgoing Correspondence, 1897—1954

Series 3: Incoming Correspondence, 1916-1918

3.1: Frances P. Anderson, 1916–1943

3.2: Wayne Shirley, 1949–1953

3.3: Miscellaneous, 1897–1958

Series 4: Writings and Publications, 1896–1960

4.1: Mary Wright Plummer, undated

4.2: Miscellaneous, 1896–1960

Related Materials

Mary Wright Plummer Papers (Coll. No. 006)

Records of the School of Information and Library Science (PI-001)

Records of the Library (PI-002)

Harmful Language Statement

If you encounter any pejorative language (i.e. racist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic) or content in the finding aids or within the content of the collection, please send an email to with the relevant details. For more information about how the Pratt Institute Libraries are addressing offensive language and content across its catalogs and databases, please see the Libraries' Harmful Language Statement:


Guide to the Anne Carroll Moore Papers
Paul Schlotthauer
July 2007
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Repository Details

Part of the Pratt Institute Archives Repository

200 Willoughby Avenue
Brooklyn NY 11205 United States