On the wet and windy Sunday just gone, Susan Price welcomed a small, enthusiastic group of WCBA members into her home to see her astonishing collection of over 20,000 20th Century children's books.
Susan has gifted the Collection to the National Library, but continues to house it herself, taking care of it, adding to it, and constantly updating her catalogue.
It was fascinating to hear Susan talk about her passion for history and realistic fiction, and see how her collection reflects this. In particular she has strong feelings about books that describe life during the World Wars, making sure those important memories are not forgotten.
After hearing Susan speak, we had free rein to explore the collection, and Susan was ready and willing to discuss any of the books. She was a mine of information about the history of important 20th Century children's publishers, and a highlight was being able to see different editions and translations of the same book, and talk about what these revealed.
Another charming and illuminating feature of her collection is the way she has gathered postcards, images, articles, and other ephemera, and tucked them in to the covers of books they are relevant to.
Each of us who went probably hoped to get something different from the visit ... an up-close look at a heritage collection of national importance; ideas for books to hunt out for our own children; a look at old favourites from our childhood; or the discovery of forgotten books that are as good or better than the enduring classics we know about ...
I think we all left having had these wishes fulfilled, and more.
Some people who had hoped to come were unable to, and others who went would like to go again, so we hope that we might organise another visit to the Susan Price Collection at some stage in the future!