The Collection

The Dorothy Neal White Collection, National Library of New Zealand, is a research collection of children’s books that were enjoyed by young New Zealanders before 1940. The collection contains books from Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand that illustrate the overall development of children’s literature during the period. A cut-off date of 1940 was chosen as post-1940 children’s books were already held in the Library’s National Children’s Collection. The Dorothy Neal White Collection has been built mainly by donation.

Most of the 11,000 books in the collection are fiction, but non-fiction of a recreational nature is also included. The collection has a good selection of children’s annuals and serials (such as the ‘Girl’s Own Annual’ and ‘Chums’) and some novelty books. Adult books enjoyed by children are usually excluded unless in special children’s editions. Many of the books in the collection were received as prizes from school or Sunday school and many others bear gift inscriptions.

Purpose of the Dorothy Neal White Collection:

  • to support scholarly research on literary or historical topics
  • to support the study of children’s literature
  • to foster a general interest in children’s books and reading in New Zealand.

Access to the Collection:

You may request small numbers of books for use in the Reading Room on the ground floor of the National Library 9am – 5pm weekdays and 9am – 1pm on Saturday.

To visit the Collection, make an appointment with the Research Librarian, Wednesday to Friday, or on other days by special arrangement.

All books in the DNW and NCC collections are catalogued in the National Library Catalogue

A small number of books from the DNW and NCC collections are accessible online in the International Children’s Digital Library

Research Librarian:
Telephone: 64-4-474 3084
Facsimile: 64-4-474 3035
email (

Donations to the Dorothy Neal White Collection:

The Dorothy Neal White Collection has been built up almost entirely through donations, from both individuals and libraries. Offers of donations are welcomed, but space does not permit the collection to accept books on an unrestricted basis. Books may be declined if they not within the scope of the collection, if they are duplicates of books already held, or if they are badly damaged. Please contact the Research Librarian with brief details about potential donations so that their suitability can be assessed.

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