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Sayers, Frances Clarke, 1897- OAC

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Biographical History

Frances Clarke Sayers, noted children's librarian, author, teacher, storyteller and speaker, was an advocate of excellence in children's literature.1 Born on September 4, 1897 in Topeka, Kansas, Sayers later stated that she knew she wanted to be a children's librarian from childhood.2 After attending the University of Texas at Austin, she graduated from the Library School at Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1918, which was the first and, at that time, only library school specializing in work with children.3

Sayers had a long career in both librarianship and academia. Between 1918 and 1925, she was a children's librarian at the New York and Los Angeles Public Libraries and a school librarian at University Elementary School, UCLA. In 1941, she replaced Anne Carroll Moore as superintendent of work with children. Between 1934 and 1965 she was a lecturer at UC Berkeley School of Librarianship, the Pratt Institute, the University of Michigan Library School and English Department, the New School of Social Research, the English Department, UCLA. In 1960, she was invited to join the newly opened School of Library Service at UCLA by the founding dean, Lawrence Clark Powell.4 She remained on the faculty until her retirement in 1965.

Sayers published a variety of materials including essays, speeches, poetry, articles, children's books, and a biography of Anne Carroll Moore. She received a number of awards over the course of her career, including the Joseph W. Lippincott Award (1965), the Clarence Day Award (1966), and the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal (1973). She died on July 24, 1989 in Ojai, California.

In 1993, the Department of Library and Information Science, UCLA, established a lecture series in Sayers honor.

Chronology5

Born September 4, Topeka, Kansas
Attends University of Texas at Austin
Graduates Library School, Carnegie Institute of Technology
Children's librarian, New York Public Library
Children's librarian, Los Angeles Public Library
School librarian, University Elementary School, UCLA
Marries Alfred Henry Paul Sayers (June 27)
Lecturer in child librarianship, University of California at Berkeley School of Librarianship
Publishes Bluebonnets for Lucinda
Publishes Mr. Paws
Publishes Tag-Along Tooloo
Superintendent of work with children, New York Public Library
Lecturer, Pratt Institute
Lecturer, University of Michigan Library School and English Department (summer courses - intermittent 1945-1953)
Publishes Sally Tait
Lecturer, New School of Social Research
Publishes Ginny and Custard
Special advisor to Library of Congress
Prestige Service lecturer for Compton's Encyclopedia Company
Lecturer, English Department, UCLA
Edits Anthology of Children's Literature (with Evelyn Sickels and Edna Johnson)
Lecturer, School of Library Service, UCLA
Retires to Ojai, California
Receives Joseph W. Lippincott Award for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship
Receives Clarence Day Award for Summoned by Books
Receives Southern California Children's Literature Award
Publishes Oscar Lincoln Busby Stokes
Publishes Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography
Receives Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal
Dies July 24 in Ojai, California

Notes:

  • Natalie Hall, UCLA to Honor Memory of Children's Literature Advocate Frances Clarke Sayers. UCLA News Press Release, February 6, 1990.
  • Box 7, folder 3, Frances Clarke Sayers Papers (Collection 1631). Department of Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.
  • Ibid.
  • Hall, 2.
  • Laurel Langford Gunderson and Laureen Geppert Jacobs, Frances Clarke Sayers: Author, Librarian, Storyteller and Teacher. Bibliography created by students of the School of Library and Information Science, UCLA, December 9, 1993. Available at Department of Special Collections, UCLA.
From the finding aid for Frances Clarke Sayers Papers, 1910-1989 (University of California, Los Angeles. Library. Department of Special Collections.)

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