Posts Tagged ‘Classic books’

I have a guilty pleasure. I love children’s literature; the older, the better. There are some wonderful digital collections online and you will find treasures there. The New York Public Library has an excellent collection of children’s literature links (full-text sites and sceondary literature). Of particular note in its historical children’s lit section is the full text collection at the University of Florida. The Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s literature (BLHC) is simply wonderful. I found books there that my mother had read as a child and, because she had saved many of them, I also read them as a child. One of the reasons I like these older works is that I so love the illustrations in them. Here are some examples from books held in UF’s Special Collections and digitized by them:Beauty and the Beast, ca. 1880




These two are from one of several different versions of Beauty and the Beast that are available.





Here is an illustration from a book that may sound familiar: Sara Crewe, or, What happened at Miss Minchin’s :


This book was also published under the title: The Little Princess. Indeed, a movie (more than once) has been made of it. Can you recall which famous child star played Sara? 

Of course, I found many more titles I had never heard of. One such that caught my attention is called Strangers from the South and Other Stories (ca 1877).  kiddy-lit3-strangers-from-the-south-and-other-stories

It illustrates nicely one problem that we do need to keep in mind– these books reflect the attitudes and beliefs of their era which are not always acceptable to us anymore. This one is a good example of that.

There are other sites that contain classic children’s literature and many of these are found listed at the New York Public Library site. Nineteenth-Century Children and What They Read has a small collection (scroll down to get to the list of texts) of mostly pre 1850 titles. children’sbooksonline.org is another wonderful site

Aesop’s Fables are available and some have audio.

American Folklore, despite its name, has everything; and some of it has audio. There are holiday stories, tall tales, nursery rhymes, and much more.

Finally, the Fairrosa Cyber Library of Children’s literature has a very nice collection of classics, fairy and folk tales and more. Some are plain text; others are HTML. Unfortunately, the site does not appear to be as well maintained as one would like. I noted several broken links, which is always annoying. 


I would be very interested to hear, if any of you find an old forgotten favorite.


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The Library History Round Table was alerted by a member some months ago that Google had scanned many library classics. A fellow member has followed up and made many of the titles available through his own Google “My Library” page.  My library for the Library History Buff brings together some amazing titles, e.g. The very first issue of Library Journal, Traveling Libraries by Frank Avery Hutchins (1902), A Library Primer by John Cotton Dana (1920), Simplified Library School Rules: Card Catalog, Accession, Book Numbers by Melvil Dewey (1904), and many more. Do check this out; I have not even begun to indicate adequately how many interesting titles are there.


Some of the titles are not full text because of lingering copyright issues. Most that I have actually clicked on are.

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