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]

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    

Lot Of (2) L. Frank Baum-easton Press-the Wonderful Wizard Of Oz &the Road To OzLot Of (2) L.frank Baum-easton Press-leather-ozma Of Oz, & Marvelous Land Of OzLot Of(2)l. Frank Baum-easton Press-the Emerald City Of Oz &dorothy & The WizardLord Of The Rings And Hobbit By Tolkien Easton Press 4 VolsCats At Play Childrens Illustrated Book Louis Wain Arthur Rackham Book 1st RareThe Hobbit 2nd Edition (7th Impression) 1955 J R R Tolkien Dust WrapperVintage 1926 "winnie The Pooh" First Edition - By A. A. Milne1907 First Edition - Alice In Wonderland - Lewis Carroll - Illustrated RackhamAlice In Wonderland Lewis Carroll C1918 2nd Edition Illustrated Margaret TarrantNo.1 ~ Wonderful Wizard Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Geo M HillLot Of 5 Vintage Wizard Of Oz Books ~ Frank L. Baum ~ From Estate, No ReserveNow We Are Six - A.a. Milne - First Edition 1927 - 1st Hardback Book - Rare1819 Anti Western Emigration Comic Cartoon Illustrated American Pamphlet TaleVintage Set Of Hardy Boys Books (1-38) Mostly In Dust Jacket 1950's EditionsNo.6 ~ Emerald City Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & BrittonThe Hobbit By J.r.r. Tolkien First Edition, Second Impression, Reprinted 19461909 1st Edition The Road To Oz By Wizard Author L Frank Baum Vtg Hardcover BookTolkien, J. R.r. ~the Hobbit~ (oversized) Easton Press 1st EditionNo.8 ~ Tik-tok Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton ~ Wizard Of OzMark Twain The American Claimant & The 100000 Bank Note From Estate Nancy Drew Hardcover Book Lot.No.2 ~ Marvelous Land Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & BrittonThe Runaway Caravan By Nancy Drew Author Mildred A. Wirt With Dust Jacket24 Hardy Boys Books Vintage Vgc Tweed Hard CoverNo.14~ Glinda Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Lee ~ Wizard Of Oz1872, Roughing It, Mark Twain, Hartford Connecticut, American Publishing CompanyNo.5 ~ Road To Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton ~ Wizard Of OzNo.4 ~ Dorothy And The Wizard Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton1871...folio..bewicks Select Fables...full Deluxe Morocco Leather3 Vintage Little Golden Books Emerald City Of Oz, Road To Oz, Tin Woodman Of OzRare Vintage Alice In Wonderland Pop Up Book Cellophane Window Vojtěch KubaštaLeft Behind The Kids - Complete 40 Book Set - Tim Lahaye Christian Series 1-40No.7 ~ Patchwork Girl Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & BrittonNo.9 ~ Scarecrow Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton ~ Wizard Of Oz1772 ..fables By The Late Mr Gay..fine Full Calf BindingOld Vintage Book The Hobbit Or There And Back Again Jrr Tolkien Illustrated HbLot 6 Childrens Board Books Dr. Seuss Foot Book Ear Book Hop On Pop Fox In SocksNo.12~ Tin Woodman Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn By Mark Twain - Easton Press Leather Edition 1994Nancy's Mysterious Letter - Carolyn Keene - Nancy Drew # 8 - 19321607 Aesopi Fabulae -aesop's Fables- Woodcuts Greek-latin Vellum, No Copy In UsaPirates Of Oz - Ruth Plumly Thompson - 1931 1st Edition - Excellent ConditionThe Adventures Of Tom Bombadil By Jrr Tolkien Uk 1st/1st Hb - No ReserveHistory Of Middle-earth: The War Of The Jewels Pt. 2 : The Later Tolkien 1994Nancy Drew The Secret Of Red Gate Farm 1931 First EditionDungeons & Dragons Cartoon Show Bk 1 Tower Of Midnight Dreams By Margaret Weis No.3 ~ Ozma Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Britton ~ Wizard Of Oz1948 Magic Beano Book Rare Childrens English Annual Comics Dc Thomson Color WwiiHistory Of Middle-earth Morgoth's Ring Pt. 1 Later Silmarillion Vol. 10 TolkienLot Of 13 Goosebumps Stine Book Of Nightmares Coville Scary Kids Chapter Books Coleco 1986 Toy Fair Toy Catalog Rambo Sectaurs Cabbage Patch Kids 1910 Carroll's Alice In Wonderland Book Mamillan's Pocket Classics 175 PagesHistory Of Middle-earth: Sauron Defeated : The History Of The Lord End TolkienNo.13~ Magic Of Oz ~ F. Baum ~ 1st Edition ~ Reilly & Lee ~ Wizard Of OzLarge Exclusive Collection Of Wizard Of Oz Books By L. Frank BaumJrr Tolkien The Hobbit 3 Vol. Comic True First EditionsThe American Claimant Complete Mark Twain 1924 Harper And BrothersCharlie And The Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl First Edition Knopf Oompa-loompaHuckleberry Finn Mark Twain Easton Press 100 Greatest Books Illust. ExcellentThe Hobbit Hardcover With Slipcase J.r.r. Tolkien Hmco