Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- II: -- THE HUMANITIES


The holdings of later nineteenth- and early twentieth-century children's fiction are extensive. The William T. Adams stories, written under the pseudonym of Oliver Optic, are complete, and there are substantial runs of the Horatio Alger series, G.A. Henty, Martha Finley, L. Frank Baum, and many others. The Arents Collection of Books in Parts holds a first edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, dedicated by the author to his mother, and a series of proofs for illustrations of the work.

The Berg Collection supports the general holdings of the Research Libraries with a number of first editions of classical children's literature, many in multiple copies. For example, the Berg Collection copy of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) is one of a small number of located copies of the first edition withdrawn because of the dissatisfaction of the artist and author with the printing of the pictures. The collection also has seven copies of the second edition, dated London, 1866, and three copies of the earliest American edition of the same year. Two copies of the London, 1866 edition are presentation copies; one to Alice Pleasance Liddell, the original Alice, bound for her in blue morocco with her initials; the second inscribed to her sister, Lorina Charlotte Liddell.

The holdings of twentieth-century children's literature in the Research Libraries are selective. More complete collections of children's fiction in English are to be found in the Central Children's Room of the Branch Libraries. Nonfiction holdings roughly parallel fictional holdings in scope and extent.

Picture Books

Kate Greenaway is perhaps the best-represented great children's book illustrator of the late nineteenth century. The Prints Division has a complete set of her Almanacks (London, 1883-97, except 1896, not published), and 10 of the 13 issues of the French Almanach de Kate Greenaway (Paris, 1885-86, 1888-95). The Arents Collection of Books in Parts, in addition to a complete set of the Almanacks, owns several other Kate Greenaway picture books. The Arents Collections also have all the Randolph Caldecott Picture Books published from 1878 to 1885. In the Spencer Collection are many books illustrated by Arthur Rackham, Walter Crane Edmund Dulac, and others. Russian picture books in the Slavonic Division number some 350 items and range from the late 1920s to the present. The Research Libraries do not attempt, however, to collect children's picture books except on a very limited basis, and then primarily for their artistic or typographic interest. The most complete holdings of picture books are located in the Central Children's Room of the Branch Libraries.