Class at islands

The "Archives of Childhood" class: Saul, Gillian, Nick, Kait, Pam, Karen, and Chris standing infront of the islands that formed the ground of the Nelson brother's imaginary world

"The Worlds and Works of the Nelson Brothers" was constructed as a semester's coursework at Amherst College during Spring 2014. The archival materials displayed in this exhibit come from the "Nelson Family Juvenilia Collection of Pamela Russell and Murray McClellan, ca. 1892-1895" in Archives and Special Collections at Amherst College's Frost Library, and from the collections of the Goshen Historical Society.

Kait Feldmann graduated from Hampshire College, where she wrote her Division III (senior thesis) on playing and reality in children's books. In addition to her lifelong passion for children's literature, she is enamored with the stories and drawings that children produce, and fell in love with the Nelson brother manuscripts at first sight. Kait is now an editorial assistant at Scholastic.

Saul Grullon is (technically) a junior at Amherst College, majoring in English and Spanish—with a particular interest in marinating himself in creative writing. "The Worlds and Works of The Nelson Brothers" has justified his theory that creative writing is a powerful weapon and that anyone opposing should stop watching Star Wars and start reading the Nelson Brothers' pieces. He is also working on his own creative writing in a thesis and will continue this project as a Mellon Research Fellow.

Nick Kearns is a Junior at Amherst College, double-majoring in English and Sociology. A Transcendentalism enthusiast, he has done his fair share of Roughing It in the Western Massachusetts wilderness, and finds the Nelson brothers' capacity for exploration and imaginative play inspirational.

Gillian Lupinski is a Junior at Amherst majoring in Chemistry and Mathematics.  Having been a bookworm from a young age and a Children's Library Assistant during high school, Gillian jumped at the opportunity to explore the writings of the talented Nelson brothers.  She has enjoyed both scrutinizing and writing about the texts as well assisting with the construction of the website (the title banner in particular).

Murray McClellan teaches Humanities at River Valley Community College in Claremont and Keene, NH.  He is overjoyed to see how a serendipitous auction purchase has been mined for such insights into the creativity the Nelson brothers brought to their rural  nineteenth-century New Hampshire.

Pamela Russell is Head of Education and Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Academic Programs at the Mead Art Museum, Amherst College. Her academic training as an classical archaeologist may be a factor in her love of discovering the unexpected and her fondness for antiques as well as antiquities. It has been a truly marvelous experience to see the small books of the Nelson brothers emerge from the obscurity of a mixed estate auction in rural New Hampshire to become the focus of deep study in an Amherst College seminar.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College and for the past decade her scholarship has focused on the history of childhood in the nineteenth-century United States. She has published widely in this field and served as a founding editor of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth but she has never been involved in a project quite like this one and is delighted to have had the opportunity to teach this unusual course and build this website.

Christopher Tamasi is a Junior majoring in English, concentrating on poetry and children's literature, at Amherst College. He plans to write his own children's story for a senior thesis project, so studying the Nelson brothers is a wonderful and helpful experience. He will continue working on this project throughout the summer as a Mellon Student Research Fellow.

Contact Information

The Nelson Brothers Library of home-made books is kept in Archives and Special Collections at the Frost Library in Amherst College. The finding aid for the "Nelson Family Juvenilia Collection of Pamela Russell and Murray McClellan, ca. 1892-1895" is available at http://asteria.fivecolleges.edu/findaids/amherst/ma249.html, the "Nelson Family Juvenilia Collection" can also be accessed through Amherst College Digital Collections. For information about working with the collection please contact the Frost Library at archives@amherst.edu.

Please direct your questions about the site or this project to Karen Sánchez-Eppler at kjsanchezepp@amherst.edu. We welcome any additional Nelson Family materials or any other information visitors to the site can provide.

About the Project

About Finding the Nelson Archive