iSchool Remembers Anne Scott MacLeod, Professor Emerita

iSchool Remembers Anne Scott MacLeod, Professor Emerita

Anne Scott MacLeod, Professor Emerita, College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, died March 9, 2015.  Dr. MacLeod joined the faculty of the college in 1973, as an Assistant Professor and retired as Professor in June 2003.  She was well-known for her scholarship in cultural history of American literature for children in the 19th and 20th centuries which explored connections between the literature and the culture that produced them.  She described her work as follows, “When I read books written for children, I look for authors’ views, certainly, but I also try to discover what the culture is saying about itself, about the present and the future, and about the nature and purposes of childhood.”[1] 

MacLeod recognized that concepts of childhood change as societies change and that children experience childhood differently because of these changes.  She gained insights into childhood and the changes it underwent in America from the early 1800s to the latter decades of the 20th century from memoirs of childhood, autobiographies, and fiction, especially the domestic novel or family story set in the time contemporaneous with publication.  Her work was published in two major works, A Moral Tale: Children’s Fiction and American Culture, 1820-1860 (Archon Books, 1975) and American Childhood: Essays on Children’s Literature in the 19th and 20th Centuries (University of Georgia Press, 1994); and numerous book chapters and journal articles.  Of particular interest were a series of twelve essays on notable authors and illustrators of the 20th century, which explored the contributions of individuals as diverse as 19th century author Kate Douglas Wiggin (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm), mid-20th century author/illustrator Crocket Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon), and Robert Cormier, author of the frequently-challenged I Am the Cheese.   

Anne S. MacLeod earned a B.A. at the University of Chicago and an M.L.S. and Ph.D. (History) at the University of Maryland College Park.  At the University of Maryland, she served as Acting Dean of the College of Information Studies (1992-93) and Acting Director of Libraries (1995-96).  She was named Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in 1979-80 and was listed in Who’s Who of Women in Education.  Dr. MacLeod was coordinator and moderator of the Smithsonian Lecture Series on Children’s Literature in 1981-82.  She was a member of the Advisory Group of the Children’s Literature Center, Library of Congress and a consultant the U.S. Department of Justice, the National Institutes of Mental Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, and several scholarly journals and publishing houses. 

Her international activities included presentations at conferences in Japan, Canada, England, Israel, Sweden, China, France, Finland, Germany, and Spain.  She was a member of the Executive Board of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature for six years and served as president twice.

She was an inspiring teacher and a dedicated colleague. Many of her former students describe their experiences with her as transformative, giving them new ideas about childhood, children's literature, and their intellectual interests and professional goals.   The biannual Anne Scott MacLeod Lecture in Children’s Literature was established in her honor by the College of Information Studies.  The most recent lecture was presented at the Library of Congress in 2014.

Dr. MacLeod is survived by her husband Norman and by her sons and their families.  Details of a memorial service will be announced later.


[1] MacLeod, Anne S.  American Childhood:  Essays on Children’s Literatue of the  Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.   Athens, GA: The  University of Georgia  Press, 1994. P. vii.