Past exhibition: Bescribbled, Nibbled, and Dog-Eared: Early American Children’s Books

From 07/09/2014 to 12/31/2014

“It is quite normal for a bouncing bibliophile of twelve months to teethe on the hard board corners of, for instance, a copy of Cinderella,” wrote Dr. A. S. W. Rosenbach (1876—1952). As one of the first serious collectors of American children’s books, Rosenbach knew that pristine survivals of such books were rare and prized. But they were also fascinating windows into American history, education, and literature. Taking up a collection begun by his uncle, Moses Polock, Dr. Rosenbach bought and sold these tiny books dating from 1682 to 1836, making an historic donation of 816 children’s books to the Free Library of Philadelphia in 1947 and assisting other collectors in refining their own holdings. This exhibition explores the history of these early children’s books from the religious tracts of Puritan printers to the adventure novels of the 19th century, while introducing visitors to Dr. Rosenbach’s passion for these dog-eared gems.