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Libraries Literature and Letters

Early Children's Books

What's in our collection?

We have amassed a sizeable number of children's books including non-fiction, story books and picture books. The former librarian of the Reference Library, Hilda McGill, herself a published author, compiled a list of such material dispersed in the library's holdings including children's books from as early as the seventeenth century.

The collection contains around 1000 items, 650 of which are pre-1850, the rest 1850-99. The earliest item is "A short dictionary for children, Latin and English" from 1602 and the collection is designed to exemplify the many changes which have taken place in the education and amusement of children by way of books

This is not strictly a special collection in so much as there never has been a concerted effort on the library's part to collect this material nor has any extant collection been acquired.

Where can I find them?

A printed catalogue is available in the Central Library Search Room.

Items are available for use in Central Library search room with at least one day's notice, request to view books in the search room.

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