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Mary E. Lyons papers

Identifier: RB-8019

Scope and Contents

This collection largely consists of the research, illustrations, correspondence, manuscripts, drafts, and proofs of eighteen of Mary E. Lyons' published books, as well as three that were not commercially published. In addition, there are articles, presentations from conferences and classroom visits, letters from students, publishers, and others, school curriculum materials that compliment Lyons' books, and other book ideas. The collection also includes VHS, audiocassettes, and CDs of documentaries, interviews, and illustrations.


  • 1985 - 2008


Conditions Governing Access

The materials from Appalachian State University Libraries' Special Collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The nature of these collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. As a result, the user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

Conditions Governing Use

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the Appalachian State University assumes no responsibility.

Biographical / Historical

Mary E. Lyons (b. 1947) is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction books for children. Lyons' historical and biographical works delve into the lives of marginalized people in history, from women to African Americans to impoverished Irish during the potato famine. Lyons has written, edited, or co-authored twenty-one books. Lyons received a Bachelor of Science from Appalachian State University in 1970, and returned to earn a Master of Science in reading in 1972. Before becoming a full-time writer, Lyons was a reading teacher at elementary and middle schools in North Carolina and Charlottesville, VA. She has also been a school librarian in elementary, middle, and high schools in Charlottesville.


18.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection represents the work of Mary E. Lyons as an author of children's fiction and nonfiction books. These papers include her research, manuscripts, revisions, proofs, and illustrations used for books and teaching resources written between 1985 and 2008, as well as correspondence, reviews and awards, articles, and presentations from those years.


The collection is arranged into twenty-seven series. The first twenty-one series include materials related to books written, edited, or co-authored by Mary E. Lyons and are organized chronologically by publication date: Series I: A Story of Her Own; Series II: Women Who Wrote; Series III: Sorrow's Kitchen; Series IV: Raw Head, Bloody Bones; Series V: Letters from a Slave Girl; Series VI: Starting Home; Series VII: Stitching Stars; Series VIII: Deep Blues; Series IX: Master of Mahogany; Series X: Keeping Secrets; Series XI: Painting Dreams; Series XII: Catching the Fire; Series XIII: The Poison Place; Series XIV: Talking with Tebé; Series XV: Dear Ellen Bee; Series XVI: Knockabeg; Series XVII: Feed the Children First; Series XVIII: Roy Makes a Car; Series XIX: Ancient American World; Series XX: Letters from a Slave Boy; Series XXI: Saltwater Slaves. The last six series consist of other personal and professional papers, organized alphabetically by series title: Series XXII: Articles; Series XXIII: Awards; Series XXIV: Book Proposals; Series XXV: Correspondence; Series XXVI: Presentations; Series XXVII: School Curriculum.


Collection was donated to Appalachian State University by Mary E. Lyons in 2016.

Mary E. Lyons papers
Anna Smith
December 2019
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Research Center Repository