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Archival Collections Related to the Study of Play

The archival collections of The Strong’s Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play chronicle the many facets of play. Among the holdings are personal papers, manuscripts, and other materials from play scholars and educators who have significantly advanced knowledge of  the role of play in learning and human development and the ways in which it illuminates cultural history.

Key holdings include the following:

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Doris Bergen Papers, 1972–2014

These papers are a compilation of manuscripts, research notes and drafts, published articles, and primary source materials created or recorded by long-time Miami University professor Doris Bergen over the course of four decades in the educational psychology and early childhood education fields. Also included are conference presentations, raw research data, and correspondence. Original research documents in the materials include written adult memories of childhood play, survey forms completed by parents and teachers about their observations of young children’s humor, and elementary school students’ evaluation forms describing the problem-solving skills involved in projects using the LEGO Logo computer programming language. The collection also holds 106 VHS cassettes of recorded observations of preschool children and special needs children at play in the United States, China, and other countries. The bulk of the collection dates from between 1989 and 2010.

View the Doris Bergen Papers finding aid.

Lella Gandini Early Childhood and Children's Folklore Collection, 1802–2012

An early childhood educator since the mid 1970s, Lella Gandini is the United States Liaison for the Dissemination of the Reggio Emilia Approach. Early in her career she collaborated with Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Emila approach in her native northern Italy, and subsequently she studied and worked in the United States. She is co-editor of the comprehensive Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach to Early Childhood and has written and spoken widely in both countries on children’s learning environments, bedtime rituals, children’s fears, children’s clothing, nursery rhymes, parent-child-teacher relationships, folklore, and other topics. The collection includes examples of her own publications; scores of other works on early childhood education and related topics; and a compilation of research notes, presentations, and other documents used by Gandini throughout her career. Some materials are in English, some are in Italian, and some are in other languages.

View the Lella Gandini Early Childhood and Children's Foklore Collection finding aid.

Vivian Gussin Paley Papers, 1973–2010

Vivian Gussin Paley is a noted preschool and kindergarten teacher; early childhood education researcher, writer, and lecturer; and advocate for the importance of play for young children. She has documented her work, methods, and beliefs in unique and powerful fashion through 13 widely read and influential books, most of which she wrote while teaching at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. This collection includes autographed copies of Paley’s books (in English and in other languages); reviews of her books; reviews by Paley of other books; articles by and about her; speeches; some correspondence; numerous clippings; items related to conferences, workshops, and symposia; and audio-visual materials related to presentations.

View the Vivian Gussin Paley Papers finding aid.

Anthony Pellegrini Papers, 1921–2012

Anthony Pellegrini has studied, written about, and taught educational psychology for more than 40 years, principally at the University of Georgia and University of Minnesota. During that time, he has written, co-written, edited, or co-edited more than a dozen books, 70 chapters in other books, and 140 articles in scholarly journals. He has also delivered dozens of invited talks and colloquia and other presentations. Through this work, Pellegrini has examined in particular such topics as recess, playground behavior, rough-and-tumble play, and play and literacy. This collection includes the bulk of his writings and his research files on work by other scholars.

View the Anthony Pellegrini Papers finding aid.

C. J. Rogers Papers, 1987–2011

C. J. Rogers, a psychologist and behavioral ecologist, lives with wolves and studies their societies at a licensed research sanctuary in northwestern New Mexico. Having examined the emotional dynamics of wolf packs, she holds that wolves are sociable, companionable, nurturing beings who possess an appetite for mischief and a fully developed joy in play. Rogers’s work, which is ongoing, already is the most detailed long-term study of pack behavior yet conducted. It is summarized in an interview in The Strong’s American Journal of Play, volume 3, number 1. Eventually this collection will include all her field notebooks, video and audio tapes, photographs, manuscripts, and other items documenting her life’s work. Included initially are manuscripts, clippings, miscellaneous documents, and copies of research materials. Some restrictions apply regarding access to these materials.

View the C. J. Rogers Papers finding aid.

Brian Sutton-Smith Papers, 1949–2009

This collection documents six decades of play-related research, teaching, and writing by Brian Sutton-Smith, one of the foremost play scholars of the last 100 years. His The Ambiguity of Play (1987) stands alongside Johann Huizinga’s Homo Ludens (1938) and Roger Caillois’s Man Play and Games (1961) as a touchstone of play theory. For more than half a century, in more than 350 books and articles, Sutton-Smith has led or synthesized the major advancements in play studies. His papers include notes, data, manuscripts, reprints, correspondence, clippings, and some photographs and reflect his interdisciplinary research and writing in psychology, education, and folklore and his teaching at Bowling Green University, Teachers College at Columbia University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

View the Brian Sutton-Smith Papers finding aid. See also the Brian Sutton-Smith Collection of more than 350 books and articles.