Antique and Vintage Childrens Books

It wasn’t until the 18th century that books were written specifically for children. Before that, children read books intended for adults, such as Aesop’s Fables, Gulliver’s Travels, and The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.

Children’s books grew popular in London in the mid-1700s, and included moral stories, religious hymns, didactic literature, and poetry. As children’s books boomed, their variety expanded: from alphabet books to pop-ups and movables to fantasy, adventure, and history.

Although fairytales gained popularity with Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, they were considered inappropriate for children through most of the 19th century. Instead, children’s stories tended to focus on a moral, reminding children to behave. They often had a strong Christian message, as parents wanted to ensure that their children would be “saved” if they died young.

Early children’s books mostly lacked pictures, with the exception of occasional black and white woodcuts. In the mid-1800s, printing technology improved, and bold, colorful imagery gradually became as important as the text. Many children’s books had different illustrators for each printing run.

Three of the most notable children’s book artists in England at this time were Kate Greenaway, Randolph Caldecott, and Walter Crane. They created the illustrations for toy books, which featured full-page illustrations and were larger than regular books.

Popular children's stories have tended to evolve over time – for example, there are multiple versions of well-known stories such as Cinderella. Some notable (and collectible) children’s book authors include Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, Frank Baum, Hannah More, John Harris, Juliana Horatia Ewing, Edward Lear, Beatrix Potter, and William Darton.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves

Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves

This great blog, by an anonymous mom in Texas, is an ongoing bibliography of hundreds of vintage childrens books, c… [read review or visit site]

Baldwin Library of Childrens Literature

Baldwin Library of Childrens Literature

If you’re interested in collectible childrens books, check out this special digital collection from the Universit… [read review or visit site]

Google Book Search

Google Book Search

Want to do one quick search and pull up the mother lode of vintage books? Try Google Book Search, a database filled… [read review or visit site]

Bookscans.com

Bookscans.com

Bruce Black's gallery of paperback book covers from the 1940s and 50s. With help from numerous contributors, he's a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

55 Classics ~ Treasure Island Dracula Mark Twain Jungle Book Macbeth Pb Lot L4881938 The Hobbit J.r.r Tolkien Colour Illustrated Lord Of The Rings Antique BookThe Colophon 1931 Part Five Signed David B. Milne PrintNancy Drew Secret Of The Old Clock Ws Dj Blank Eps 4 Glossies 1931 B-71876 Adventures Of Tom Sawyer By Mark Twain, 1st Edition, 2nd PrintingFirst Edition 1928 - The House At Pooh Corner - A A Milne - Winnie The Pooh The "pop-up" Pinocchio: Illust. By Harold Lentz~ Blue Ribbon Books, 1932. The Lost King Of Oz Wizard By Frank Baum Hc Vg 1925 First EditionA A Milne / E H Shepard Now We Are Six 1st First Edition 1927 - Winnie The PoohA A Milne The House At Pooh Corner 1st First Edition 1928 Winnie The Pooh1986 'the Talking Mother Goose Fairy Tales" Bundle (190)1876 The Hunting Of The Snark Lewis Carroll Alice In Wonderland First Edition! Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens Barrie Rackham 1st Deluxe 1912 50 Plates Nr FineArthur Rackham - Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens - 1910 1st Ed - J M BarrieScarce First Edition - Peter And Wendy - J M Barrie - 1911 - 1st Print Peter PanLot Of 14 Vintage Childrens Nancy Drew Hardback Books Carolyn Keene AcceptableLord Of The Rings Tolkien ~ Red Book Of Westmarch ~ Leather BoxedJack Bechdolt The Cartoon Seattle's Successful Men 1911 Plus 4 Hardbacks - RareLot Of 16 Dana Girls Mystery Stories (nancy Drew), #1-16, 1952-1961 (hc/dj)The 1,000,000 Pound Bank Note, First Ed. Mark Twain BookVintage 1961 Winnie The Pooh Set Of 4 Pooh's Library Hardback Books W/ Jackets!!81 Kids' Book Lot For Grades 2-4, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade Ela, Classroom Library Lot Of 25 Vintage Hardy Boys Books Blue Spine Matte Cover Fair To Good Left Behind -the Kids- Series Pb Lot Of 35 By Jenkins & Lahaye, TyndlekidLot Of 43 Hardy Boys Hardback BooksAntique Alice In Wonderland / Looking Glass Book Macmillan 1881 Lewis Carroll Vg*estate* Vintage 1946 Lewis Carroll 2 Volume Alice In Wonderland Hardcover Set Giant Nancy Drew Hardcover Lot, 59 Hard Covers!Huge Childrens Chapter Book Lot Of 60 Accelerated Reader Ar 4th 5th Grade Level J.r.r.tolkien Poems And Stories De Luxe Edition Boxed Near FineMiniature Book: Mark Twain Compliments The Presidents Wife, Pub. Bromer, 1984Lot Of 100+ Assorted Childrens Books Golden Books Disney Dr Seuss And More1905 Cinderella & Sleeping Beauty L Frank Baum Oz Christmas Stocking Series 1stLot Of 51 Nancy Drew Case Files Free ShippingHalloween Michael Ya The Scream Factory Horror Novel Tie In Rare Book Movie KidsNancy Drew The Clue Of The Tapping Heels 1939c-3 Nice1930 Secret Of The Old Clock Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene Illustrated Tandy BookWinnie The Pooh By Aa Milne Uk 12th Edition Methuen & Co 1933 Nice BookOriginal 1916 Vogue, Art Nouveau Cover Only, The Childrens NumberMark Twain Roughing It Easton Press Mint Condition Leather 1972The Lord Of The Rings By J. R. R. Tolkien 50th Anniversary Edition Still Sealed!"tom Sawyer " By Mark Twain 1884Rachel Ray Kids CookbookLot 14 Hardy Boys Books 1931 - 19621788 Fables John Gay All 68 Complete With 68 Woodcut Engravings Illustrated Hardy Boys Books Lot Year 2003 Era Great ShapeLot Of 15 Vintage Childrens Story Books From 1940's- 1950's - Old Library BooksVtg Random House Wizard Of Oz Pop-up Book W/ SpectaclesNancy Drew Fold And Mail StationeryThe Silmarillion - J.r.r.tolkien (1st Edition)18 Of The Hardy Boys 2-6, 26-29, 34-41 & 54 Hardback By Franklin W. DixonHitopadesa, Hitopadesha, Vishnu Sarman, Sanskrit Fables, 1848,francis JohnsonThe Yellow Knight Of Oz (1930/illustrated) Thompson, Founded On L.frank BaumBook Lot 30 Leveled Reader Kids Books Level Pre-k K 1 Step Into Reading FirstMixed Lot Of 44 Sweet Valley High Twins Kids Svu Francine Pascal Teen BooksRare Pewter Lot Of 3 Comstock Creations Alice In Wonderland Ultra Fast ShippingVintage Lot Of (80) Fantasy Paperbacks - First Ed. Mercedes Lackey Jrr TolkienLa Fontaine's Fables Illus. Gustave Dore Lot 30 Leveled Reader Kids Books Levels 1 2 Step Into Reading GirlsLot 30 Leveled Reader Kids Books Levels 1 2 Step Into Reading Boys Dk Science Ad