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Higher Education

Collections of Children’s Literature and General Resources

Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature, University of Florida


The Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature contains more than 130,000 books and periodicals published in the United States and Great Britain from the mid-1600s to present day.

Children’s Literature, Rare Book & Special Collections Reading Room, The Library of Congress


Holds more than 17,000 rare American and international juvenile books, including hornbooks, primers, and two extremely rare copies of Cock Robin’s Death and Funeral.

The Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University


An international research collection of illustrated children’s books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the fifteenth century to the present day.

de Grummond Collection, University of Southern Mississippi


The de Grummond Collection focuses on American and British children's literature and holds the original manuscripts and illustrations of more than 1,300 authors and illustrators, as well as 160,000+ published books dating from 1530 to the present.

The Hockliffe Project, Centre for Textual Studies, De Montfort University


A unique collections of over a thousand British children's books dating predominantly from the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Contains digital images of many of the books, plus bibliographical information and critical essays.

Kerlan Collection of Children’s Literature, University of Minnesota


The Kerlan Collection contains more than 100,000 children’s books as well as original manuscripts, artwork, galleys, and color proofs for more than 12,000 children’s books from Great Britain, Australia, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany and others.

The Literature for Children Collection, State University Libraries of Florida


A collection of children's literature published in the United States and Great Britain from before 1850 to beyond 1950, with digitized titles from the Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature.

Looking Glass for the Mind: 350 Years of Books for Children, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections


Overview of the publishing history of children’s literature, with links to full-text examples.

National Art Library's Children’s Literature Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum


The National Art Library holds nearly 100,000 children’s books dating from the 16th century to the present day. Acquired as examples of the art of the book, they show the development of children's book production and illustration.

Opie Collection of Children’s Literature, Bodleian Library, University of Oxford


A collection begun by researchers Iona and Peter Opie, including over 1000 chapbooks, 4000 magazines and penny dreadfuls, and 12,000 bound volumes of children's stories and nursery rhymes, books on games and amusements, picture books, movable books, reversible books, rag books, miniatures, and other items. UMI microfiches available.

The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Toronto Public Library


A collection of over 80,000 rare and notable children’s books, games, and ephemera, from cuneiform tablets to modern books.

The Renier Collection of Historic and Contemporary Publications for Children, Victoria and Albert Museum


The Renier Collection is the largest special collection of children's literature in the UK and consists of over 80,000 books, plus toys, games and printed ephemera.

World of the Child: Two Hundred Years of Children's Books, University of Delaware Special Collections Department


A virtual exhibit with detailing the evolution of children’s literature, with short histories, a bibliography, and images from the collection.

Periodicals Devoted to Children’s Literature

The ALAN Review,
The Assembly for Literature on Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN)


A journal dedicated to reviews of, research on, and the teaching of young adult literature.

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


A review journal of children’s books published by the Center for Children’s Books at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Children’s Literature


Publishes theoretically-based articles that address key issues in the field of children’s literature. The annual publication of the Modern Language Association Division on Children's Literature and the Children's Literature Association (ChLA).

Children’s Literature Association Quarterly


Publishes scholarship in children's literature studies. Each issue features an editorial introduction, juried articles about research and scholarship in children's literature, and book reviews.

International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL)


A list of major children's literature journals.

The Lion and the Unicorn


An international theme- and genre-centered journal committed to a serious, ongoing discussion of literature for children.

Websites of Early Children’s Literature, organized by chapter in From Instruction to Delight, Fourth Edition

1. Early Lessons at Home and School

Aelfric’s Colloquy on the Occupations, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin


The full text of the Colloquy in Old English.

Bartholomew’s World, Stanford University


Comprehensive and interactive website with biography, bibliography, maps, timelines, and articles on medieval authors, focusing on Bartholomew the Englishman.

The Babees’ Book: Medieval Manners for the Young, York University


Full text of The Babees’ Book translated by Edith Rickert and L.J. Taylor, with informative introduction. IncludesThe A B C of Artistotle, Seager’s The Schoole of Vertue and Booke of Good Nurture, Rhodes’s The Boke of Nurture, or Schoole of Good Manners

The HornBook, Library of Congress


The Hornbook and its Use in America, George A. Plimpton (1916), Internet Archive


The Battledore, University of Missouri Libraries


Domestic Writing: Juvenilia and Mothers’ Advice

Elizabeth Joscelin, The Mothers Legacie to her Unborne Childe, The University of Warwick


A detailed description of the original manuscript and contents, a biography, and a bibliography.

Writing of Clergymen and Schoolmasters

Edward Topsell, The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents, University of Reading


Biographical information and a brief critical look at Topsell’s illustrations.

Topsell’s The History of Four-footed Beasts and Serpents Website, University of Houston


Created by Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, includes a brief bibliography, and features an exhibit of 175 images from Topsell’s History.

Orbis Sensualium Pictus: The Virtual Museum of Education Iconics, University of Minnesota


Different editions of the Orbis, with many of the charming facsimile images in full colour. Includes relevant links and an extensive Orbis Pictus lecture.

2. Puritan ‘Hell-Fire’: Warnings and Warmth

John Cotton, Milk for Babes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Entire text of the earliest known printing from 1646. Includes useful notes on the text, including Bible passages referenced.

Anne Bradstreet, Virginia Commonwealth University


A biography of Anne Bradstreet, includes a bibliography.

James Janeway, A Token for Children, The British Library


A brief history of Janeway’s book with selected scans from the original text.

Benjamin Keach, War with the Devil, The Hockliffe Project


A full scan of the 1776 first edition of the book.

The New England Primer, The Lilly Library, Indiana University  


Comprehensive site featuring a scanned 1803 primer, publication history, a syllabarium, bibliography, and links to other scanned editions.

John Bunyan, A Book for Boys and Girls, HathiTrust Digital Library


Full text of the 1889 facsimile edition (1686).

3. Lyrical Instruction: Christian Songs and Secular Fables

Holy Commotions in the Soul

Isaac Watts, Divine Songs Attempted in Easy Language for the Use of Children and Moral Songs, The Hockliffe Project


The complete 1800 version of Divine Songs and background essay.

Witty Instructions in the World

Aesop’s Fables, University of Massachusetts Amherst


An alphabetical index of Aesop’s Fables, with a short biography of Aesop.

Carlson Fable Collection, Creighton University


Includes information on over 6,000 books from 1400 to 1999, more than 3,500 images, fable research resources, and 4,000 fable related objects.

Roger L’Estrange, ‘A Lyon and a Mouse,’ Fables and Storyes moralized, being a second part of the fables of Aesop, Aesopica  


Links to more than 350 fables as interpreted by L’Estrange.

Samuel Croxall, ‘The Shepherd’s Boy,’ ‘The Fox and the Goat’, Fables of Aesop, Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, University of Florida


Full scan of beautifully illustrated 1877 edition.

John Gay, Fables, Luminarium


An extensive resource with biographical information, bibliography, essays, and links to full text versions of Gay’s Fables.

Mary Barber, Poems on Several Occasions, Internet Archive


Full text of Barber’s Poems (1735 edition).

4. Mother Goose and Chapbooks

McGill Library's Chapbook Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill University


The collection contains over nine hundred British and American chapbooks published in the 18th and 19th centuries, including a virtual collection of digital facsimiles.

Chapbooks, British Library


Site provides a history of chapbooks, including size and appearance, selling methods, production process, and further reading. Features scanned chapbooks from the British Library’s collection.

Fairy Tales in English

The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault, SurLaLune Fairy Tales


Includes Perrault’s most popular Mother Goose Tales (taken from the Andrew Lang compilations), a short biography, an extensive fairy tale bibliography, and links to annotated versions of Perrault’s tales.

Charles Perrault’s Mother Goose Tales, University of Pittsburgh


A comprehensive site compiled by D. L. Ashliman, University of Pittsburgh, includes a short biography, links to Perrault’s Mother Goose Tales and verse narratives, and links to scans of Perrault’s books in English and French.

Ballads and Folklore

An Elegy on the Death and Burial of Cock Robin, McGill Library’s Chapbook Collection


Scanned text [1820?] with woodcut illustrations.

The Interesting Story of the Children in the Wood, de Grummond Children’s Books Collection, University of Southern Mississippi


Scanned 1820 text with woodcut illustrations.

The Life and Death of Tom Thumb, McGill Library’s Chapbook Collection


The Chapbook Collection contains a number of editions and versions of this tale.

A New Riddle Book, or, A Whetstone for Dull Wits, McGill Library’s Chapbook Collection


Full text of the [1790?] chapbook with 24 woodcut illustrations.

5. Boreman, Cooper, and Newbery: ‘Instruction with Delight’

Creepy Crawlies Virtual Exhibit, Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University


Whimsical exhibit about famous insect characters in children’s books. Includes a blurb on Boreman’sA Description of a Great Variety of Animals and Vegetables (1736), with accompanying colour illustrations, and an illustration from Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book.

John Newbery, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, British Library


Brief publishing history of the book. Includes images from the earliest surviving edition, the tenth, dated 1760.

The History of Little Goody Two-Shoes, Project Gutenberg


A facsimile reproduction of the 1766 edition.

6. Rational Moralists

Tutors’ Lessons by Example: Dramatic, Useful Knowledge

Moral and Instructive Children's Literature, The British Library


Discusses ways in which children’s literature of the 18th and 19th centuries sought to improve its young readers, combining social and moral instruction with entertainment.

Sarah Fielding, The Governess; Or, The Little Female Academy, Project Gutenberg


Full text of Fielding’s novel (1749).

Daniel Fenning, ‘A Set of Alphabetical Copies’, The Universal Spelling-Book, Google Books


Scan of the 1800 edition.

Mary Ann Kilner, The Adventures of a Pincushion, The Hockliffe Project


A biography of the Kilner sisters and an introduction to their work.

Jane Cave, Poems on Various Subjects, HathiTrust Digital Library


Full text of Poems on Various Subjects, Entertaining, Elegaic, and Religious (1783).

Anne ‘Nancy’ Shippen Livingston, Her Journal Book, Internet Archive


Full text of Her Journal Book (scan of 1935 edition).

Thomas Day, The History of Sandford and Merton, The Hockliffe Project


Full text of The History, with engravings (1813 edition). Includes biography and essay.

Lady Ellenor Fenn, Cobwebs to Catch Flies, The Hockliffe Project


Full text of Cobwebs to Catch Flies, with engravings (no date, 1783-1820 edition).

Dorothy Kilner, ‘A Conversation between Master Tommy and Miss Jenny on Reading,’ Poems on Various Subjects for the Amusement of Youth, The Hockliffe Project


A biographical essay about Dorothy Kilner and her sister-in-law, Mary Ann Kilner, also a children's writer.

Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories, British Library


Scan of the 1791 edition, with engravings by William Blake. Includes brief synopsis and biography.

Priscilla Wakefield, Mental Improvement, Internet Archive


Scan of the 1799 edition.

Maria Edgeworth, ‘The Purple Jar,’ Early Lessons, The Hockliffe Project


Scan of the 1801 edition, with biographical survey of Edgeworth's writing for children.

The Perennial Fable

Lady Ellenor Fenn, ‘The Fox and the Crow,’ Fables in Monosyllables by Mrs Teachwell, The Hockliffe Project


Scan of 1783 [?] edition, with brief biography and synopsis.

Edward Baldwin (William Godwin), ‘The Dog in the Manger,’ Fables Ancient and Modern, Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, University of Florida


Scan of the 1808 edition.

Children Giving and Receiving Instruction

Catharine Parr Traill, The Young Emigrants, Internet Archive


Full text of the 1826 edition.

Henry Sharpe Horsley, The Affectionate Parent’s Gift, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1828 edition, with illustrations.

Jane Marcet, Mary’s Grammar; Interspersed With Stories, and Intended for the Use of Children, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1835 edition.

Jacob Abbott, Rollo at School, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1855 edition.

Barbara Hofland, ‘Janetta and her Jujubes,’ Farewell Tales, Spenser and the Tradition, Virginia Tech


A biography, bibliography, profile and timeline covering Hofland's life and works.

7. Sunday School Moralists

Children Learning Eagerly

George Burder, Early Piety, Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature, University of Florida


Full scan of the 1816 edition

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Hymns in Prose for Children, The Hockliffe Project


Brief introductory essay and full text of the 1799 edition.

Anna Laetitia Barbauld, Lessons for Children: Part IV, The Hockliffe Project


Brief introductory essay and full text of the 1799 edition.

Sarah Trimmer, Fabulous Histories, The Hockliffe Project


Brief biography, synopsis, and a scan of the 1798 edition.

Sarah Trimmer, The Charity School Spelling Book, British Library


Images from the text and background information.

Rowland Hill, Divine Hymns, Google Books


Scan of the 1812 edition.

Rowland Hill, Instructions for Children, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford


Scan of the 1831 edition.

Lessons from Life

Hannah More, Black Giles, the Poacher: Part II, McGill Library's Chapbook Collection


Full scan [1801-1811?] of Parts I and II.

Mary Martha Sherwood, The History of the Fairchild Family, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1822 edition.

Favell Lee Mortimer, Peep of Day, HathiTrust Digital Library


Scan of the [1849?] edition.

Mrs Dalby, Dutch Tiles, Google Books


Scan of the 1842 edition.

8. Harbingers of the Golden Age

Poetry for All Ages

SurLaLune Fairy Tales


Comprehensive site featuring 49 annotated fairy tales and detailed histories of the texts, links to similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations, and over 1500 illustrations, along with an extensive bibliography.

Christopher Smart (1722–1771), Luminarium: Anthology of English Literature


Detailed biography, and access to a wide variety of Smart’s works, including ‘My Cat Jeoffry.’

William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, British Library


Fifty images from a 1923 facsimile of a coloured and gilded first edition, with background information about the text.

Playful Instruction

Miniature Libraries from the Children's Book Collections, Victoria and Albert Museum


An extensive biography of the John Marshall, 'The Children's Printer,' including a history and description of his miniature libraries and their legacy.

Lady Ellenor Fenn, "The Grammar Box," in The Art of Teaching in Sport; Designed as a Prelude to a Set of Toys, For Enabling Ladies to Instill the Rudiments of Spelling, Reading, Grammar, and Arithmetic, Under the Idea of Amusement, The Hockliffe Project


Detailed information about The Art of Teaching in Sport, and a scan of the full text [1792?].

John Marshall, The Infant’s Library, Cambridge University Library


Biography of John Marshall, includes a history and description of The Infant's Library.

Moral Alphabets, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


Reproductions of lithographs from the L’Alphabet moral et philosophique, à l’usage des petits et des grands enfans by Nicholas-Toussaint Charlet (1835).

First Book for Children, Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books


Full scan of the 1823 edition of the book.

The Royal ABC

For the genre of Royal alphabets, see: https://archive.org/details/fairburnsroyalab00londiala

Versified Delights and Re-tellings

Ann Taylor Gilbert and Jane Taylor, Original Poems for Infant Minds, The Hockliffe Project


Full scan of the 1805 edition.

Ann Taylor Gilbert and Jane Taylor, Rhymes for the Nursery, HathiTrust Digital Library


Full scan of the 1824 edition.

Elizabeth Turner, The Daisy, The Hockliffe Project


A brief history of The Daisy, and full scan of the 1899-1900 facsimile (1807) with thirty engravings.

William Roscoe, The Butterfly’s Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast, British Library


Full scan of the 1808 edition, includes brief biographical information and publishing history.

Felicia Dorothea Browne Hemans, Poems, HathiTrust Digital Library


Full scan of the first edition (1808) of the Poems.

Charles Lamb, Beauty and the Beast, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1866 facsimile edition (1811).

The Annotated Beauty and the Beast, SurLaLune Fairy Tales


Links to a variety of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ versions (including the versions of Charles Lamb, Madame de Villeneuve, and Madame Le Prince de Beaumont), and includes illustrations, bibliography, and a detailed history of the fairy tale type.

Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain and Perfect Pronunciation, Internet Archive


Full text of the 1836 edition.

Clement Clarke Moore, ‘A Visit from Saint Nicholas,’ The Poetry Foundation


A detailed biography of Clement Clarke Moore, full text of the poem, and a bibliography.

Sarah Josepha Hale, Poems for Our Children, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1916 edition.

History of Goldilocks & the Three Bears, SurLaLune Fairy Tales


Discusses the history of ‘Three Bears' versions (including the versions of Eleanor Mure, Robert Southey, and Joseph Cundall), and includes illustrations and a bibliography.

Mary Botham Howitt, Sketches of Natural History, HathiTrust Digital Library


Full scanned text of the 1834 edition, with illustrations.

The Charm of Narrative

Catherine Sinclair, Holiday House: A Series of Tales, National Library of Scotland


A biography of Catherine Sinclair with links to digitized versions of her works, including her best-known book, Holiday House.

Eliza Lee Follen, New Nursery Songs for All Good Children


Full scan of the 1860 edition.

Edward Lear, The Book of Nonsense, The Poetry Foundation


Comprehensive biography and bibliography, with selected poems.

Heinrich Hoffman, Struwwelpeter, Virginia Commonwealth University


Original illustrations in full colour, and German and English translations with accompanying dictionaries. Link to an extensive catalogue (with full e-texts) of other 18th and 19th century German children’s stories and fairy tales.

Jane Cotton Boucher de Montizambert, The Sad Tale of Mrs Mole and Mrs Mouse, Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books


The 1850 manuscript of the poem, illustrated in watercolours by the author.

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm, ‘Hansel and Grethel,’ Household Stories, Internet Archive


Full scan of the 1853 edition, with illustrations.

Grimms Brothers’ Home Page


A comprehensive site compiled by D. L. Ashliman, University of Pittsburgh, includes a short biography, links to digitized texts, a chronology, and links to the tales in English and German.