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Dorothy Sterling papers

Identifier: Ax 852

Scope and Contents note

The Dorothy Sterling Papers consist of correspondence and literary manuscripts of several of her books for children.


  • ca. 1845-2007


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical/Historical note

Dorothy Sterling was born in New York, New York on November 23, 1913, daughter of Elsie Darmstadter Dannenberg and Joseph Dannenberg. She was educated at Wellesley College and Barnard College, graduating from Barnard with a B.A. in 1934. She married Philip Sterling (also a writer) on May 14, 1937. They have two children, Peter and Anne.

Dorothy Sterling's fiction books for children are typically mysteries, such as The Brownie Scout Mystery (1955), The Silver Spoon Mystery (1958), Secret of the Old Post-Box (1960) and The Cub Scout Mystery (1952). Her non-fiction books fall into two categoris: science and nature, such as Trees and Their Story (1953), Insects and the Homes They Build (1954), and The Story of Mosses, Ferns, and Mushrooms [1955]); and civil rights, such as It Started in Montgomery: A Picure History of the Civil Rights Movement (1972), Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman (1954), Tear Down the Walls!: A History of the American Civil Rights Movement (1968). Mary Jane (1959), is a best-selling young adult novel about a twelve-year-old black girl who was among the first students to integrate a junior high school in the 1950s.

Dorothy Sterling has won several awards for her writings, including the Carter G. Woodson Book Award from the National Council for the Social Studies for The Trouble They Seen: Black People Tell the Story of Reconstruction (1976)

Dorothy Sterling died December 1, 2008 in Wellfleet, MA.

Source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003.


9.5 linear feet (6 boxes)

Language of Materials



Dorothy Sterling (1913-2008 ) is a writer, particularly of fiction and non-fiction books for children and young adults.


Material within this collection has been organized by accession. This organization reflects the fact that the collection has been acquired in increments over time. This organization is also based on the decision not to merge the various accessions and organize them as a whole at this point in time, give the fact that future accruals are anticipated and/or that this organization is deemed sufficient for access.

Researchers should note that materials within a series or accession may overlap and/or relate to materials found in other accessions or initially processed materials. For example, correspondence may be found in all or only some groupings. In order to locate all relevant material within this collection, researchers may need to consult each accession.

Researchers should also note that similar materials can be arranged differently in each accession, depending on how the material is organized upon receipt or during initial processing. For instance, correspondence is one accession may be arranged alphabetically, while correspondence in another accession is arranged chronologically.

Other Finding Aids note

Paper finding aid with additional information available in Special Collections & University Archives.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Gift of Dorothy Sterling in 1969. Anne Fausto-Sterling in 2011.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to Dorothy Sterling at Special Collections and University Archives include: Dorothy Sterling (The Luce Empire) papers, Ax 532.

General Physical Description note

Storage boxes: 1, 2, 4, and 5

Manuscript box: 3

Oversize Flat box: 6

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing. Multiple accession(s) for the collection have not been merged or organized as a whole. Each accession is described separately.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents. Folder titles are based on those created by the creators or previous custodians. Titles have not all been verified against the contents of the folders. In some cases, staff supplied folder titles during initial processing.

Guide to the Dorothy Sterling Papers
Revise Description
Finding aid prepared by Processing Staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA