This conference room at PWPL was named in honor of the children’s book, Dandelion Cottage, written by local author Carroll Watson Rankin in 1904. Rankin’s book tells the story of four young girls who volunteer to clean the dandelions from the lawn of an abandoned cottage, thereby acquiring the use of the cottage as their playhouse for the summer.
Located off the Huron Mountain Club Gallery’s north side, the Dandelion Cottage Room was dedicated in May 15, 2005. It is the home of several special collections of children’s books. It houses an oblong conference table and comfortable seating for 10. It has recently been decorated with faux finishes and mural art depicting scenes from Rankin’s book by Alanna Luttenton of Una Dulce.
The room houses four different collections of children’s literature. Caldecott and Newbery Award Winners line one wall of the room. PWPL’s two other special collections of children’s literature are the Mary Ann Paulin Children’s Book Collection and the Jessie Gay Van Cleve Collection of Vintage Children’s Literature.
Mary Ann Paulin was a long-time school librarian who served on local, state, and national committees to promote children’s literacy, among them the prestigious Newbery Award Committee. As a reviewer of children’s books, she amassed a large collection of contemporary books which were donated to the Peter White Public Library upon her death in 2003.
Born in 1880, Jessie Gay Van Cleve began her career as a kindergarten teacher in the Marquette schools. She subsequently trained as a children’s librarian, and later served as a specialist in children’s literature at the American Library Association in Chicago. The Van Cleve collection contains a representative sampling of children’s books from the 1920s and 1930s.
Funding for the Dandelion Cottage Room furnishings and attributes was donated by Dorothy Boyer, Marion Longyear Sonderegger, the Mary Ann Paulin estate, and other generous contributors.