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David A. Adler Papers

Identifier: DG0005

Scope and Contents

he David A. Adler Papers contain manuscripts, typescripts, printed material, and correspondence created and accumulated by David A. Adler between 1975 and 2001. Adler's papers were created from his composition of 148 published books, one short story, and seven unpublished works. The material is organized into five series: books, material concerning multiple titles, short story, unpublished works, and other material.

The Books Series contains manuscripts, typescripts, printed material, and correspondence for 148 published books published between 1975 and 2001. The series includes material for books in every genre and subject in which Adler has written. It contains material for every title in Adler's eight mystery and adventure series save one. The lone exception is Young Cam Jansen and the Baseball Mystery (1999). The series includes production material for the full run of Adler's picture book biographies, most of his picture and riddle books, and nearly all of his works on Jewish themes. It also includes papers for most of his books on science, economics, and mathematics. The papers in the books series are arranged alphabetically by title and the material for each book is arranged chronologically in order of creation when known.

The quantity of material for specific titles in the Books Series varies tremendously, from a single dust jacket to several generations of typescripts, galleys, and proofs. The container listing offers detailed descriptions of the holdings for each title and information on the material's process of creation may be gleaned easily from the container listing for each book. However, some additional explanation is needed to understand the arrangement of the material for one particular title. Rabbit Trouble and the Green Magician (1987) passed through three distinct versions during the prolonged process of its creation, here referred to as versions A, B & C. Version A, which differed considerably from the final work, consisted of four chapters and a summary of the remainder of the work made in 1981. Version B, which was closer in content to the published book, grew to six chapters in 1985. Version C was the nine-chapter published book written in 1987. The chapter numbers for all three versions cited in the container listing are the chapter numbers given on the typescripts.

The Material Concerning Multiple Titles Series contains manuscript notebooks, typescripts, and printed material concerning more than one title. Adler created the items between about 1982 and 1997. The series primarily consists of eight spiral bound notebooks containing both complete manuscripts and manuscript fragments for 29 published and unpublished titles, as well as assorted minor notes and mathematical calculations. Each notebook covers a period of between one to three years. Cross references have been provided in the container listing alongside the citation of each title represented in the notebooks. The series also includes typescripts and advertisements concerning the Cam Jansen, Fourth Floor Twins, and Houdini Club series. The material in the series is arranged chronologically.

The Short Story Series consists of two sets of page proofs and an advance reading copy of "Don't Be an Uncle Max," Adler's contribution to Birthday Surprises: Ten Great Stories to Unwrap, edited by Johanna Hurwitz (1995).

The Unpublished Works Series contains manuscripts and typescripts for seven unpublished worked created by Adler between about 1985 and 1989. It includes typescripts of outlines for two Fourth Floor Twins novels and a manuscript of an outline for an addition to the Jeffrey's Ghost series. Three of the unpublished works concern Jewish themes. The seventh is a proposed picture book entitled While Amy Gets Ready for Bed. The series contains typescripts for three works and manuscripts for the other four. The manuscripts may be found within the notebooks in the Material Concerning Multiple Titles Series. Cross references have been provided alongside the citation of each pertinent unpublished title.

The Other Material Series consists of two manuscript pages for unidentified works; a 1997 letter regarding the Golden Kite Award given by the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators; a list of newspapers in Nassau County, New York; a dust jacket for Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks by Amy Schwartz (1983); and Adler's name tag for the ALA Annual Conference in 1998.


  • 1975-2001

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; Available for research

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." 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.

Biographical / Historical

David A. Adler was born on April 10, 1947, in New York City, the second of six children of Sidney and Betty (Straus) Adler. As a child, Adler was fond of painting, drawing, and storytelling and tended to daydream in school. He earned a B.A. degree in economics from Queens College of the City University of New York in 1968 and began teaching mathematics in the New York City public schools. He received an M.B.A. degree in marketing from New York University in 1971 and began doctoral work. Adler sold his first picture book, A Little at a Time, in the early 1970s and decided to forego his doctorial studies to write other children's books. He married Renée Hamada, a school psychologist, in April 1973. Adler quit teaching in 1977 to concentrate on writing and rearing his first child.

David Adler's substantial body of work includes both fiction and nonfiction titles. He has been the most prolific in writing biographies of historical figures, especially with his series of Holiday House picture book biographies for young readers. Adler drew from his teaching experience to write children's books on science, economics, and mathematics. He also wrote several riddle and puzzle books. In fiction, Adler has written numerous picture books and eight series of mystery and adventure novels for both younger and older children: Cam Jansen, Young Cam Jansen, the Fourth Floor Twins, Jeffrey's Ghost, the Houdini Club, Andy Russell, T. F. Benson, and My Dog. Adler also has written more than twenty fiction and nonfiction works on Jewish themes from Hanukkah activity books to a picture book of Israel. He is particularly well known for his well-researched and age-appropriate books on the Holocaust.

Adler served as senior editor of books for young readers for the Jewish Publication Society between around 1979 and 1991. He lives in Woodmere, New York.

Sources: Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series (Detroit: Gale Group, 2000), 88:8-13.

Something About the Author, ed. Alan Hedblad (Detroit: Gale Group, 1999), 106:1-9.

My Writing Day by David A. Adler, photographs by Nina Crews, Meet the Author Series (Katonah, N.Y.: Richard C. Owen Publishers, 1999)


19.40 Cubic Feet (61 boxes)

Language of Materials



The David A. Adler Papers contain manuscripts, typescripts, printed material, and correspondence created and accumulated by David A. Adler between 1975 and 2001. Adler's papers were created from his composition of 148 published books, one short story, and seven unpublished works. His nonfiction work includes biographies of historical figures; books on science, economics, and mathematics; and riddle and puzzle books. Adler has written numerous picture books and eight series of mystery and adventure novels, including the popular Cam Jansen series. He also has written more than twenty fiction and nonfiction titles on Jewish themes.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

These papers were donated to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection of the University of Southern Mississippi Libraries by David A. Adler, Sidney G. Adler (father), Michael S. Adler (son), Joseph F. Adler (brother), Daniel Adler (nephew), Caroline Goldwyn (sister), Martin M. Goldwyn (brother-in-law), and Avery E. Neumark (brother-in-law) between 1984 and 2001.

Related Materials

Illustrations for The House on the Roof: A Sukkot Story are in The Marilyn Hirsh Papers (DG0457).

See also The Susanna Natti Papers (DG0727).

Separated Materials

Oversized material is stored in boxes 60 and 61.

David A. Adler Papers
In Progress
Hans Rasmussen
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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This finding aid is the product of a grant funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001