Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Cott mss., ca. 1977-1985, consists of correspondence and other materials relating to Jonathan Cott's book Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: the Wisdom of Children's Literature (Random House, 1983). Writer, editor and poet Jonathan Cott, was born in 1942, the day before Christmas, in New York City. He attended Columbia University for his undergraduate work, received an M.A. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 and studied at the University of Essex, England as a Fulbright fellow, 1967-1969. Returning to the United States in 1970 he became an editor at Rolling Stone until 1975 when he returned to New York to be executive editor of Stonehill Publishing Company. In 1976 Cott wrote a long piece on Maurice Sendak based on extensive interviews with the author, that was published in Rolling Stone in December 1976. The success of that article led Cott to consider interviewing other "giants" of children's literature for a full-length book. Pipers at the Gates of Dawn was the result.

Present in the collection are files for five of the seven authors that Cott interviewed for this book: Theodore Geisel, Astrid Lindgren, Iona and Peter Opie, William Steig, and P.L. Travers. The two interviewees not represented are Chinua Achebe with whom Cott apparently dealt in person or by telephone, and Maurice Sendak as the chapter in the book is a reprint of the original Rolling Stone piece.

Also present in the collection are three periodical issues: Rolling Stone dated December 30, 1983 containing Cott's article on Maurice Sendak, "King of All the Wild Things," and the two issues of The New Yorker magazine containing pre-publication versions of the Lindgren (February 8, 1983) and Opie (April 4, 1983) profiles.

An inventory of the collection is available.

Purchase. 2007

Collection size: 55 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.