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Special Collections & Archives logo : Children's Books

SC&A includes manuscripts and archives, medieval to modern; early and finely printed books, and science fiction collections.


Children's books

SC&A houses more than 7000 pre-First World War children's books from the former Education Library, including gifts from the collections of May Rathbone and the Gregson Institute.

Pictorial binding of The Christmas Child by Hesba Stretton. Ref: Juv.487.42

Hesba Stretton (author of Jessica's First Prayer) is one of a group of 19th and early 20th writers whose prolific - and almost complete - output can be found in the children's collection.

Others include R.M. Ballantyne (The Coral Island), Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden), the boys' adventure story writers G. Manville Fenn and G. A. Henty, A.L.O.E. (the evangelical writer and missionary Charlotte Maria Tucker), the educationalists Mary Martha Sherwood and Sarah Trimmer, and Charlotte M. Yonge.

Periodicals in the collection include The Monthly Packet (edited by Yonge), Aunt Judy's Magazine, and many Christmas annuals. Early school textbooks, including American imprints and material on physical education, sit alongside manuscript exercise books, particularly early 19th century mathematics books, books on the history of education (especially in Liverpool), and adult education material.

Oldham collection

This collection (bought in 1973) is notable for tracts and chapbooks, books illustrated by Walter Crane (who was born in Liverpool) and Kate Greenaway, and also fairy tales, legends and myths.

Osborne reprints

A small collection of reprinted items from the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections of early and modern children's books in Toronto Public Library.

Dale pamphlets

Nearly 300 pamphlets, mostly on educational subjects, collected by Sir Alfred Dale, Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool University 1905-1919.

Manuscripts and More blog posts
Children's collection highlights

Walter Crane's Flower Wedding (1905)

Walter Crane's Flower Wedding (1905)

Part of the complete series of Walter Crane flower books in the Children's Book collection. SPEC JUV.509:12

The Appletree c.1850

The Appletree c.1850

A miniature (6.5 by 10.5 cm) children's chapbook. Priced at 1d (one penny), it contains short moral tales with illustrations. SPEC JUV 369.

1915 Rosebud Annual

1915 Rosebud Annual

Formerly Rosebud: a monthly magazine of nursery nurture and amusements (1881-1914); from 1915 to 1925 Rosebud Annual. This copy has been decorated with a child's drawings of reindeer. SPEC JUV 674

Illustration for the first serial story in Chums

Harry Paget the hero in 'For Glory and Renown'

Illustration for the first serial story in Chums (1892-1941), a weekly story paper devoted to tales of heroism and adventure across the British Empire. The first issue sold 100,000 copies. SPEC JUV 695

Related SC&A collections

The Noble collection includes 19th century illustrated books, and the Literary annuals collection has juvenile versions of titles such as Forget-me-not and The Keepsake.