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Identifier: GB 4

Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection


  • Majority of material found within 1780-1946, 1801 and 1900


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.


2.6 Cubic Feet (6 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box)

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged by place of publication then by publisher.

Related Collections

Children's Miniature Books Collection, 1802-1993

Early Miniature Books Collection, 1727-1925

Harry B. Weiss Chapbook Collection, 1767-1945

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.

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.

Early Illustrators of Children's Books Reference for historical children's literature, including American--Kay E. Vandergrift, SCILS, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Bernarda Bryson Shahn Etchings

Nineteenth Century Children's Literature From the Nineteenth Century Programme at the British Library, edited by J. Barr.

Listing of Engravings & Engravers Articles From the History Buff' Reference Library.

American Antiquarian Society Children's Books Collection at the American Antiquarian Society.

World of the Child Two Hundred Years of Children's Books An Exhibition at the Hugh M. Morris Library: The University of Delaware Library Special Collections Department, curated by Iris R. Snyder.

Children's Books Select pictures from the Marion S. Carson Collection, American Treasures of the Library of Congress: IMAGINATION.

Guide to the Nineteenth Century Children's Chapbook Collection
Edited Full Draft
Michael Joseph and Silvana Notarmaso
February 2017
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Revision Statements

  • March 2009: Items listed as n.d. changed to undated, per DACS
  • September 2009: revised coding to add encoding analogs to some elements per the EAD report card