by Kate Dietrick, Processing staff and Curator of the Berman Upper Midwest Jewish Archives.
When Lisa Von Drasek, curator for the Children's Literature Research Collections, came into the Archives and Special Collections Central Processing suite and announced, "Have I got something for you!" before revealing her newest acquisition, I believe it was the first time I audibly squealed while at work. Because what she revealed was a rare gem whose final product delighted me as a child--she had the artist's dummy for the beloved children's book Amelia Bedelia.
Donated to the Kerlan Collection by Gretchen Siebel, the widow of the artist Fritz Siebel, the dummy documents the early drawings and layout of the 1963 publication Amelia Bedelia, written by Peggy Parish. Each page holds original ink drawings and watercolors by Fritz Siebel, matched up with taped-in text from Peggy Parish. On some pages there are scribbled notes - "Fritz--don't have drapes 'drawn' i.e. not closed!" that help illuminate the process from draft to final product. By paging through the dummy you begin to see the makings of the lovably comedic Amelia Bedelia as she takes her chores list a bit too literally.