Our largest collection of material relating to children's books is the Children's Collection. This contains books and periodicals dating from the eighteenth century to the present day, although the main focus of collecting has been from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.
The collection is particularly strong in the following areas:
- School stories by writers including Elinor Brent-Dyer, Angela Brazil, Talbot Baines Reed, Elsie Oxenham and Frank Richards.
- Children's periodicals and annuals including the Boy's Own Paper, the Girl's Own Paper, The Children's Newspaper, Aunt Judy's Magazine, the Monthly Packet and the Eagle. We also hold a short run of Gioventù Fascista ('Fascist Youth'), an Italian fascist youth magazine.
- Illustrated books by artists including Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott and Kathleen Hale, author and illustrator of the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books. We also hold a small collection of illustrated editions of the children's story books by the French author Père Castor.
We have a number of examples of early children's books and chapbooks, some of which are featured in James Gibbs's scrapbooks [see image above], and the Museum of English Rural Life has a example of a hornbook (MERL 52/344).
Our collections relating to children's books are of interest to students and researchers studying English literature, but also students and researchers in typography, history and art history.
Our collections can be used to support teaching and learning at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and for school groups.
Other collections relating to children's books
- Brock Collection of the work of the illustrator H.M. Brock
- Papers of Gwendoline Courtney, a novelist for children and teenagers
- Crusoe Collection of editions of Daniel Defoe's novel
- Archive of Darton & Harvey, the leading 19th century children's book publishers
- Gaberbocchus Press Collection
- The John and Griselda Lewis Collection (Box: Group XI : 3 Juvenile) contains examples of children's ABC and picture books, comics and magazines (both whole books and loose pages), together with examples of Victorian and early twentieth century Christmas cards and postcards and other ephemera for or featuring children
- Records of Ladybird Books
- Letters of Arthur Mee, who started the Children's Newspaper, the first newspaper published for children
- Marie Neurath Collection of educational books for children
- The Royle Collection contains some additional archival and book material relating to Kathleen Hale
- Papers of Ian Serraillier, novelist and poet, and author of The Silver Sword
- Wizard of Oz Collection of editions of L. Frank Baum's children's novels, including copies of the first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- Papers of Nan Youngman, an artist interested in art education
The library of the Museum of English Rural Life also contains a number of children's books and examples of teaching resources relating to the teaching of farming and agricultural issues and history.
Some examples of our children's books on farming and agriculture were featured in our exhibition Come to the farm : children's books on farming.
Other University collections
Our holdings complement the collections relating to children's books held at the Department of Typography and Graphic Communication.
The Lettering, Printing and Graphic Design Collections held in Typography have many examples of children’s books, including those produced by Marie Neurath and the Isotype Institute from the late 1940s to the 1970s; books for the teaching of reading in the twentieth century, including those of particular typographic interest, such as the use of the initial teaching alphabet in the 1960s and bilingual reading books.
The ephemera collections also contain examples of educational material that relates to reading in context.
For more information about the 'Isotype Revisited' research project, click here.
Researchers can also contact Professor Sue Walker for more information about the collections held in Typography.
The Teaching Practice Collection, held at the University Library, contains recent children’s fiction and non-fiction, a range of text books to GCSE level, music scores and multimedia items including kits, scientific models, realia and picture sets.