May 9, 2019

Library of Congress releases digitized version of Rare Children’s Books Collection

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The Library of Congress celebrated the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week this year by launching a digital version of their Rare Children’s Books Collection. The Library of Congress website reports, “Children’s Book Week began when Franklin K. Mathiews, librarian for the Boy Scouts of America; Frederic G. Melcher, editor of Publishers Weekly; and Anne Carroll Moore, Superintendent of Children’s Works at New York Public Library, joined forces to promote high standards in books for children.”

The Library of Congress is hoping to attract attention of children, parents, and teachers. Although the books are old, the Library of Congress believes the books still have to power to bring joy to the people that read them, just as they did many years ago. The Library of Congress does, however, take a moment to share the following important message,

These selections and related materials are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these books, which may contain content offensive to users.

Here are a few interesting highlights from the collection:

Cover image of The Book of the Cat: with facsimiles of drawings in colour. Published by Fredrick A. Stokes Co. in 1903.

 

Page 27 of The Book of the Cat: with facsimiles of drawings in colour. Published by Fredrick A. Stokes Co. in 1903.

The notes section of The Book of the Cat on the Library of Congress website shares fun facts about the book. For example, this book was made with no page numbers and was printed on one side of the leaf only.

 

Cover image of Denslow’s Humpty Dumpty published by G.W. Dillingham Co. in 1903.

 

Page 9 of Denslow’s Humpty Dumpty published by G.W. Dillingham Co. in 1903.

Denslow’s Humpty Dumpty shares an exciting new (to me) version of the popular nursery rhyme, wherein a farmer’s wife boils Humpty Dumpty so he will be harder to crack. The notes section for this book shares that Denslow’s books were rewritten to remove “all coarseness, cruelty, and everything that might frighten children.”

The Slant Book published by Harper & Brothers in 1910 is shaped like a parallelogram and fits its shape into the storyline.

 

The Slant Book published by Harper & Brothers in 1910.

The cover page reads, “This uphill work is slow indeed. But down the slant–ah! Note the speed!” The baby in the carriage appears throughout the book rolling uncontrollably through town because of the slant.

Explore more of the children’s book selections on your own here.

 

 

Christina Cerio is the Direct Sales Associate and Publishers Assistant at Melville House.

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