Early American Children's Books

The Free Library's interest in historical children's books was established in 1947 with the gift by A.S.W. Rosenbach of his personal collection. Ranging in date from 1682 to 1836, the gift included 816 volumes and encompassed the full spectrum of books produced for children. Later gifts by others, in addition to a vigorous acquisitions policy, have augmented the collection to some 13,000 volumes and extended the chronological scope well into the second half of the 19th century, particularly to include children's books produced in the frontier settlements of the United States.

Digital Collection

Featured Item

Image from A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Molly…BEING a new Attempt to teach CHILDREN the Use of the English Alphabet, by Way of Diversion printed in Worchester, Massachusetts, 1787.

Early American Children's Books iconic image


Rare Book Department:
Third Floor, Central Library

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Tours of the department are available Monday through Friday at 11 a.m., or at other times by prior arrangement.



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