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Instruction books for children

Special Collections has a strong collection of children's books in the areas of literature, health, education, sports and recreation and science. Books such as Gulliver's Travels, Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird are now considered children's books, although children were not the authors' intended audience. Many of the science fiction titles in the collection were originally aimed at an audience of young boys but are more widely read today.

Educational materials in the collection include items from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries. They include primers which are simple books for teaching children letters and prayers, as well as books on math and science. In early America, books for children imparted religious and moral instruction and a code of social behavior no matter the academic subject. Illustrations were an important component of the books as a way of holding the child's interest and strengthening the lessons.

Children's books have recently become of interest to scholars studying the history of information literacy and the development of the book culture in the early years of the United States. Since children's books are heavily illustrated, they also are used to document changes in the technology of printing.

The First Six Books of the Elements
of Euclid
  • Little Harry's Ladder to Learning. New York: Leavitt & Co., ca. 1800.
  • The Uncle's Present, a New Battledoor. Philadelphia: Published by Jacob Johnson Philadelphia, 1810.
  • Marmaduke Multiply's Merry Method of Making Minor Mathematicians, or, The Multiplication Table. London: Printed for J. Harris and Son, 1816-17.
  • Oliver Byrne.
    The First Six Books of the Elements of Euclid, in which Coloured Diagrams and Symbols are used instead of Letters for the greater ease of Learners. London: W. Pickering, 1847.

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