About this Collection
This special collection presents children’s books selected from the General and Rare Book Collections at the Library of Congress. The collection includes classic works that are still read by children today, and lesser-known treasures drawn from the Library’s extensive collection of historically significant children’s books. The books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and free to read, share, and reuse however you’d like.
Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell, and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway.
The selections span many generations and topics, and reflect three general themes:
- Learning to Read: Materials produced to teach American children to read: ABC books, primers, and a wooden hornbook.
- Reading to Learn: Materials supporting classroom instruction in subjects such as mathematics, classical mythology, natural science, and the structure and function of the Unites States government.
- Reading for Fun: Materials to nourish the imagination: fiction, poetry, fairy tales and toy books.
As ever, if you have any questions or comments about this collection, or questions relating to materials for children more generally, please feel free to Ask a Librarian at the Library of Congress!
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 They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of different times.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.