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Musselman Library
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Gettysburg College Box 420
Gettysburg, PA 17325

717-337-7002 / 717-337-7046



MS - 007: The Papers of Jerry Spinelli, Class of 1963

Processed by: Christine M. Ameduri, Molly Thomas, Sidney G. Dreese
February 2004

Download Finding Aid - Adobe PDF (32 KB)

George E. "Jerry" Spinelli (1941-), 1991 Newbery Award winner for his book Maniac Magee, and internationally published author of numerous other children's books, graduated from Gettysburg College in 1963 with a degree in English. The Norristown, Pennsylvania, native then earned a masters degree in creative writing the following year at Johns Hopkins University, teaching briefly at Temple University before taking a job as editor of Product Design and Development magazine, a trade magazine for engineers, at Chilton Co. in Radnor, PA in 1966.


His first book, Space Station Seventh Grade was published in 1982, followed by Who Put that Hair in my Toothbrush, 1984, Night of the Whale, 1985, Jason and Marceline, 1986 and Dump Days, 1988. Eleven more books followed, the latest being Knots in my Yo-Yo String, an autobiography in 1997. Several of these books have been published in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Japanese and Korean.

While a student a Gettysburg College, Spinelli was co-sports editor of the Gettysburgian, editor of the Mercury, and won that publication's fiction contest with his story "Growing Up" in 1961. In addition to these activities, he was also a member of the Interfraternity Council, Registration Committee as well as member and historian of Phi Gamma Delta. He married Eileen Mesi in 1977 and they have six children. Currently, Spinelli is a member of the Chester County Astronomical Society and Fancy Rat & Mouse Association. His interests include tennis, astronomy, country music, traveling and his grandchildren.

Scope and Content Notes:
The Jerry Spinelli collection traces the writing career of the children's author from 1961-2003. The papers consist mainly of various versions of manuscripts including his original handwritten manuscripts, several editions of his books and some promotional material. The researcher will not find materials about life at Gettysburg College or Temple University, or his work at Chilton Publishing; genealogical data, diaries, memorabilia or photographs. For additional material about Spinelli the researcher should use the Vertical File.

Series Description:
The collection has been divided into five series. Series I contains Spinelli's letter in search of an agent and an audiocassette of his acceptance speech for winning the Newbery Award for his book, Maniac Magee (1990).
Series II consists mainly of manuscripts: handwritten original, typed, copy-edited, drafts, some notes and printer's galleys. Also included are essays while a student at Gettysburg College, unpublished short stories and novels; a rejected Disney screenplay.
Series III contains published poetry, published short stories, and published books (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Italian, Korean, Japanese, Italian and Finnish.) This series includes his first and favorite novel, Space Station Seventh Grade (1982). For book covers and printer's galleys the researcher also needs to see Series IV and V. In addition to various copies of Maniac Magee the collection also includes a videocassette of the book.
Series IV consists of some cover art and promotional material.
Series V contains oversized items: printer's galleys, rejected covers and cover proofs and the final stages of a picture book, My Daddy and Me.


Download Finding Aid - Adobe PDF (32 KB)
Gettysburg College 300 North Washington Street · Gettysburg, PA 17325
P: 717.337.6300