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John Donovan Papers

Identifier: CLRC-21

Scope and Contents

The John Donovan papers contain typescript, publisher's marketing catalogs, and additional material related to six young adult novels written by Donovan.


  • 1959 - 1976


Conditions Governing Access

Open for use in the Elmer L. Andersen Library reading room.

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials. Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law.

Biographical Sketch

John Donovan was born in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1928, and died in New York City on April 29, 1992. He was educated at William and Mary College, and received a law degree from the U. of Virginia. He began writing children's books in the 1960s, publishing his first book, The Little Orange Bookin 1961. He shifted his attention to the young adult market in the late 1960s, becoming noted for his honest, compassionate and realistic portrayals of contemporary young adult concerns. Donovan was often controversial in his choice of subject matter, particularly in his depictions of homosexuality, alcoholism, teenage sexuality, death, and animal's rights. His books have received both criticism as being depressing, and praise for his emphasis on the lack of meaningful communication in modern life, and the crucial importance of friendship in developing character and beliefs. From 1967-1992 Donovan served as President of the Children's Book Council in New York, and in this position expressed concern about the future of children's and young adult literature at a time when profits were becoming paramount.

Biographical Sources: Something About the Author, vol. 29, 72; Children's Literature Reviewvol. 3; Contemporary Literary Criticismvol. 35


.4 Cubic Feet (1 hollinger box)

Language of Materials



The collection contains drafts and related material for six novels for young people written by John Donovan.


Collection guide arranged alphabetically by title.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection is a gift from John Donovan and his estate, received in 1992.

John Donovan Papers, 1959-1976
Jim Eyer
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Collecting Area Details

Contact The Children's Literature Research Collections Collecting Area

Suite 113, Elmer L. Andersen Library