Libraries & Collections at Rutgers: Special Collections and University Archives: Rare Books:

Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection




Introduction

Housed in Special Collections and University Archives, the Rutgers University Libraries Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection consists of over nine hundred children's books. The books forming the bulk of the collection were issued mainly between 1801 and 1900 and measure 10 centimeters or less in height. They are generally bound in paper wrappers and are of miscellaneous provenance. Most titles were published in America, although some British publications are included here as well. The collection includes religious tracts, toybooks, primers, catechisms, alphabets, hymns, songbooks, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, miniature books and wordless picture books, among other popular genres, and reflects the growth and development of American book illustration and wood engraving. The Collection also includes some advertising formally imitative of children's books and evidently directed at children. The Collection constitutes an important part of the early and rare children's books in the Rutgers University Libraries.

Many similar and related materials (both cataloged and uncataloged) are collocated in Special Collections and University Archives. Pre-twentieth century children's books of various sizes have been catalogued into the Library Catalog, at the item level, and may be accessed using a standard catalog search. Of these materials, rare and early children's books published in New Jersey are housed in the 'Sinclair NJ' and 'Sinclair NJ-X' collections, and rare and early children's books published elsewhere are housed in the Libraries' rare, or 'X,' collection. A collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century chapbooks, chiefly British, amassed by the eminent twentieth century bibliographer and entomologist, Harry B. Weiss, are also housed in Special Collections and University Archives as is a collection of miniature children's books, many of which were donated by Alden Jacobs, Class of 1940.

The Finding Aid for the Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection mounted on the Special Collections and University Archives Web, and the collection level record mounted in the Library Catalog, represent only a significant part of the chapbooks in the Children's Chapbook Collection.

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Images from the Children's Chapbook Collection

The following titles (and linked images) have been chosen for their intrinsic beauty and historical interest. Although publishers did occasionally use lithography and intaglio processes, wood engraving served as the usual method for reproducing illustrations. The extent of its utility and ubiquity in nineteenth century children's book publishing may be inferred from the fact that no other method is represented in the Rutgers Collection of almost one thousand titles. Although we have privileged the work of well-known artist/engravers, such as Alexander Anderson, John H. Hall, William Howland, Robert Roberts and Thomas Bewick, we have also provided a few images rendered by anonymous engravers produced after 1870 as examples of chromoxylography--printing in color by means of multiple wood blocks. Most of the items in the Children's Chapbook Collection were published earlier than 1870 when publishers such as the McLoughlin Bros. produced their inexpensive picture books in increasingly larger sizes. Similarly, since the Collection contains many more American publications than British, we have provided only a few representative images from British chapbooks.


  • "Mary and her neighbors"
    The Folly of Finery; or, History of Mary Lawson.
    New-York: Published by Daniel Cooledge, Bookseller, 322 Pearl Street., [between 1833 and 1837?]
    (engraved by Alexander Anderson)
  • "Mary caught in the rain"
    The Folly of Finery; or, History of Mary Lawson.
    New-York: Published by Daniel Cooledge, Bookseller, 322 Pearl Street., [between 1833 and 1837?] (engraved by Alexander Anderson)
  • "Children tormenting Old Edward"
    Old Edward. New-York: Published by Daniel Cooledge, Bookseller, 322 Pearl Street., [between 1833 and 1837?] (Engraved by Alexander Anderson)
  • "Blacksmith shop"
    Old Edward. New-York:
    Published by Daniel Cooledge, Bookseller, 322 Pearl Street., [between 1833 and 1837?]
    (engraved by Alexander Anderson)
  • "Lost in a storm"
    Little Lessons for Little Learners. In Words of One Syllable.
    New Haven. : Printed and published by S. Babcock, 1840
    (Engraved by Alexander Anderson?)
  • "Supine milkmaid"
    Aikin, John. The Farmyard Journal.
    Cooperstown: H. & E. Phinney., 1844.
    (Engraved by John H. Hall)
  • "Bird of prey and hens"
    Aikin, John.The Farmyard Journal.
    Cooperstown: H. & E. Phinney., 1844
    (Engraved by John H. Hall)
  • "Native Americans"
    D.P. Kidder, The little collector, or, "I wish to be useful in some way."
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1848]
  • "Good children"
    "Pretty Stories for Good Children" The Four Seasons and Other Books For Young Children
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1848]
    (Engraved by Phineas Annin).
  • "Tropical beach"
    "The Hymn-Book" The Four Seasons and Other Books For Young Children
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1848]
  • "Home"
    Home.
    Boston: Sold by All Booksellers, [ca. 1850]
  • "Sister and brother"
    Recollections of Elizabeth.
    [New York]: American Tract Society, [between 1848 and 1858]
  • "Unstable wealth"
    "Bread Cast Upon the Waters" Russian Boy &c
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [between 1848 and 1858]
  • "The moon"
    Address To a Child &c
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [between 1848 and 1858]
    (Engraved by Robert Roberts)
  • "The kindly gentleman"
    "The Wanderer" Dialogue Between A Brother and Sister, and Other Books for Young Children
    New York : Sunday-School Union, [between 1848 and 1858]
    (Engraved by Robert Roberts?)
  • "Girl with cat"
    The Little Folks' Delight. [New York]: Robinson's, [ca. 1875-1880]

Images from the Children's Chapbook Collection that are Printed in Two Colors

  • "B"
    The Picture Alphabet. In Prose and Verse.
    [New York]: American Tract Society, [ca. 1855]
  • "C"
    The Picture Alphabet. In Prose and Verse. [New York]: American Tract Society, [ca. 1855]
  • "Cover"
    Mother Goose Old Style.
    [New York]: McLoughlin Bros Publishers, New York, [ca. 1860] (107K)
  • "Cover"
    Cross Child. Young America Series.
    [New York]: McLoughlin Bros. New York, [ca. 1870]
  • "The Dunce"
    Disorderly Girl. Young America Series.
    [New York]: McLoughlin Bros. New York, [ca. 1870] (82K)

British Chapbooks

  • "Entertaining"
    The Merry Andrew; or, The Hours of a Fair.
    Wellington (Eng.): F. Houlston and Son [ca. 1820]
  • "Watching the show"
    Holiday Entertainment; or, The Good Child's Fairing.
    Glasgow (Scotland): Lumsden and Sons [ca. 1820]
    (Engraved by Thomas Bewick?)
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Related Web Resources

The Related Web Resources includes linked references to digital materials, maintained at Rutgers and elsewhere, relevant to the study of early children's literature and wood engraving. In this selection we have placed a link to the online catalog of the American Antiquarian Society, whose comprehensive holdings and detailed catalog descriptions of American children's literature of this period will be of significant value to many of the students and scholars using the Rutgers University Libraries Children's Chapbook Collection.

  • The John DePol Collection
    - Reference material for twentieth-century wood engraving: Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University
  • Children's Books
    - Select pictures from the Marion S. Carson Collection, American Treasures of the Library of Congress: IMAGINATION