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One Hundred Years: A Timeline of the Newbery Medal

Kathleen T. Horning


The history of the Newbery Medal is tied to the history of contemporary American children’s literature. A little over a hundred years ago, there was a perfect storm of children’s book-related firsts that created the fertile ground in which the Newbery took root and grew.

Over the first several decades, changes in Newbery Committee composition and the selection process were made frequently. Until the mid-1970s, members of the ALSC leadership were actively involved in the award committee process itself, which allowed for continual finessing of the terms and procedures, as well as a strong institutional memory. Once the joint Newbery-Caldecott Committee separated into two different award committees in 1979 and, for the most part, began to function independently from the ALSC leadership, few changes have been made to the terms, procedures, or committee structure.

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