British Children's Books from the Ingalls Library Collection
  • Title page, recto. Greenaway, Kate, 1846-1901. Language of flowers. London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1884. Rare Books. Call No. NC815 .G74 1884, IML 986151.
  • Facing the title page, "And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose…" by Arthur Rackham. In Moore, Clement Clarke, 1779-1863. The night before Christmas. London: G.C. Harrap, 1931. Rare Books. Call No. PS2429.M5 N56 1931, IML 986148.
  • Page 43, "Laura would call the little ones…" by Arthur Rackham. In Rossetti, Christina Georgina, 1830-1894. Goblin market. London: George G. Harrap, 1933. Rare Books. Call No. NC242.R33 R67 1933, IML 986149.
  • Page 21, "Beneath the lilies;tall, white garden lilies; the Princess slept, a charmed sleep away…" In Greenaway, Kate, 1846-1901. Under the window: pictures & rhymes for children. London, New York: George Routledge & Sons, 1879. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8.3.G75 U53 1879, IML 986150.
  • Page 23, "The Mole begged as a favor to be allowed to unpack it all by himself; and the Rat was very pleased to indulge him." In Grahame, Kenneth, 1859-1932. The wind in the willows. New York: Limited Editions Club, 1940. Rare Books. Call No. NC242.R33 G73 1940, IML 986147.
  • Unnumbered plate, "The Hind in the Wood." In Crane, Walter, 1845-1915. Beauty and the beast picture book: containing Beauty and the beast; The frog prince; The hind in the wood. New York: Dodd, [n.d.]. Rare Books. Call No. ND497.C73 A4 1900z, IML 986144.
  • "The Baby's Own Alphabet," page 6: "Q, R, S." In Crane, Walter, 1845-1915. Bluebeard's picture book, containing Bluebeard, The sleeping beauty, and Baby's own alphabet. London: Lane, 1899. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8 .C73 1899, IML 986145.
  • Page 25, "Once more he stept into the street, and to his lips again laid his long pipe of smooth straght cane…" by Kate Greenaway. In Browning, Robert, 1812-1889. The pied piper of Hamelin. London, New York: Frederick Warne, 1888. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8.3.B82 P13 1888, IML 986146.
  • Page 43, "[Merlin] went to mysterious places in the woods, and gathered strange herbs in the dark of the moon." by Arthur Rackham. In Evans, C. S. (Charles Seddon), 1883-1944. The sleeping beauty. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1920. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8.E92 S54 1920, IML 986141.
  • "The Three Jovial Huntsmen," page 14: "They hunted, an' they hollo'd, an' the next thing they did find was a bull-claf in a pin-fold…" In Caldecott, Randolph, 1846-1886. R. Caldecott's collection of pictures and songs. London, New York: Frederick Warne and Co., [n.d.]. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8.3 .C127 1887, IML 986142.
  • "Hey Diddle Diddle," page 10: "And the dish ran away with the spoon." In Caldecott, Randolph, 1846-1886. R. Caldecott's second collection of pictures and songs. London, New York: Frederick Warne and Co., [n.d.]. Rare Books. Call No. PZ8.3 .C127 1887, IML 986143.
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British Children's Books from the Ingalls Library Collection

The earliest illustrated children's book, Orbis Pictus, (The World in Pictures) by John Amos Comenius, was published in 1658. Early children's books were used for teaching religious and moral lessons with their sparse illustrations reflecting the somber texts. John Newberry's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, published in 1744, was the first English children's book that abandoned the didactic writing style and focused instead on pleasure reading. Toys were included to promote the books—pincushions for girls and balls for boys.

It wasn't until later in the century (1880–1900) that the "golden age of children's literature,"1 began. English artists such as Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott , Kate Greenaway and Arthur Rackham illustrated what have become classic children's books.

Walter Crane (1845–1915) is most famous for his association with William Morris. He was a member of the Arts and Crafts Society and the Art Workers' Guild where he designed decorative objects. Crane began illustrating children's books in the 1870s. Among the children's book he illustrated were Flora's Feast, A Flower Wedding and Sleeping Beauty.2

Caldecott (1846–1886) was a pivotal character in children's book history. His career as a children's book illustrator began accidentally in 1877 when he was asked by the British printer, Edmund Evans, to illustrate two Christmas books, The House that Jack Built and The Diverting History of John Gilpin. Ironically, Evans had previously worked with Walter Crane, but that year, Crane was unable to illustrate Evans' holiday publications.

Kate Greenaway's (1846–1901) endearing and enduring illustrations for children's books continue to delight contemporary readers. Her first book, Under the Window, published in 1879, immediately sold-out and was reprinted in a second edition of 70,000. Perhaps the most well-known Greenaway book is The Language of Flowers, 1884, which is included in the Ingalls Library Rare Book Collection.3

Arthur Rackham's (1867–1939), first book illustrations were published in 1893. He illustrated for children's magazines, including Little Folks and St. Nicholas and in 1905 Washington Irving's, Rip van Winkle. His output was prodigious including classic titles such as The Wind and the Willows, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, The Sleeping Beauty and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

The importance of children's book illustration is reflected by two prestigious awards presented annually: the Kate Greenaway Medal (British) and the Caldecott Medal (American). The awards are presented to artists for the most distinguished children's book illustrations that year.

1. Lundin, Anne H. "The Reception of Children's Books in England and America, 1880–1900." The Library Quarterly 64, 1 (Jan. 1994), p. 30.

2. The Dictionary of Art. "Walter Crane." v. 8, pp. 121–122.

3. The Dictionary of Art. "Kate Greenaway." v. 13, p. 615.

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