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Papers of E. Jennifer Monaghan

Call Number: MS 308


Dr. E. Jennifer Monaghan taught developmental reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York (CUNY) from 1978-1994. She also founded the History of Reading Special Interest Group and authored Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America (2005). This collection includes personal and professional correspondence, drafts of published works and lectures, and other materials related to courses, research, and publications by Dr. E. Jennifer Monaghan.


  • Creation: 1974 - 2011


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of E. Jennifer Monaghan

E. Jennifer Monaghan, daughter of Clement and Margery Elton Walker, was born in Cambridge, England. She received her B.A. (1955) and M.A. (1976) in Literae Humaniores from Oxford University, England, a M.A. in Greek from the University of Illinois (1958), and a doctorate in Reading Education from the Ferkauf Graduate School of Yeshiva University, New York City (1980). Her doctoral thesis was titled "Noah Webster's Speller, 1783-1843: Causes of Its Success as Reading Text."

Dr. Monaghan served as an instructor and professor with the School of Education and Department of Educational Services at the Brooklyn College of CUNY from 1978 to 1994, where she taught developmental reading and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. She served Brooklyn College as Professor Emerita within the English Department after her 1994 retirement.

Dr. Monaghan founded the History of Reading Special Interest Group ("SIG") of the International Reading Association in 1975 and edited its newsletter for 25 years. In 1988, Dr. Monaghan was elected as associate member of Darwin College, Cambridge University, England. She was awarded a Brooklyn College Wolfe Fellowship in 1994-1995.

Dr. Monaghan authored several books, including Shaping the Reading Field: The Impact of Early Reading Pioneers, Scientific Research, and Progressive Ideas (2007), Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America (2005), Reading for the Enslaved, Writing for the Free: Reflections on Liberty and Literacy (2000), and A Common Heritage: Noah Webster's Blue-Back Speller (1983). In Learning to Read and Write in Colonial America Dr. Monaghan examines the instruction of girls and boys, Native Americans, enslaved Africans, the privileged and the poor in Colonial America, and the impact of literacy on the lives of these young learners. Dr. Monaghan co-authored Shaping the Reading Field (2007), and has published several book chapters and articles on the history of literacy, teaching language arts, and research methodology.

It was during her studies in the United States and a visit to New York that Monaghan met her future husband, Charles Monaghan. They lived in Brooklyn most of their married life and had three children: Leila, Tony, and Claire. E. Jennifer Monaghan passed away from a stroke in September 2014.


6 Linear Feet (12 boxes)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection has been organized into three series: Papers, Correspondence, and Presentations and Works. The Papers include general information related to Monaghan and her career. Correspondence has been organized chronologically and spans Monaghan's career.

The Presentations and Works series has been artificially separated into two sub-series based on when materials were received and processed by the Kenneth Spencer Research Library--the bulk of the collection was processed in 2013;a later 2015 addition, processed in 2017, contained similar material but is located at MS 335. This series includes manuscript proofs; copies of speeches, presentations, and lecture notes; research and reference materials used for writing manuscripts; and correspondence related to publications by Monaghan.

Physical Location

MS 308

Physical Location

MS 335

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, E. Jennifer Monaghan, 2011, 2012, 2015.

Related Materials

The Charles and E. Jennifer Monaghan Collection at the Kenneth Spencer Research Library contains approximately 1,450 titles related to reading and writing from Colonial America through the mid-20th century. This collection includes hornbooks and primers from the colonial period, whole word and phonetic readers from the great period of experimentation in introductory reading instruction (circa 1826-1883), "sentence" and "story method" readers popular between the 1880s and 1920s, and basal and graded readers, such as the influential basal series published by Scott, Foresman and Company, including the "Dick and Jane" books. These titles can be searched using "Monaghan" for the call number in the University of Kansas' Libraries online catalog.

An online exhibition, "Young American Readers: The Charles and E. Jennifer Monaghan Collection of Books on the History of Reading in the United States" features volumes from this collection. The exhibit can be found at

Guide to the E. Jennifer Monaghan Collection
Papers of E. Jennifer Monaghan
Finding aid prepared by brch, 2013; revised by fi, 2017.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in <language encodinganalog="language">English</language>
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Papers of E. Jennifer Monaghan MS 308, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States