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]

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1907 1st Edition Arthur Rackham Alice In Wonderland Lewis Carroll Colour Plates 1955 Tolkien 'lord Of The Rings' One First EditionArthur Rackham 1st Edition Thus Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens. J M BarrieThe Homecoming Of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, Tolkien Ltd Edition 271/300 Rare The Return Of The King By J.r.r. Tolkien First Edition 1955 With The No. 41876 Adventures Tom Sawyer Mark Twain *1st Ed.* (amer Pub. Co., Hartford) *nice*Antique Rare The Hobbit By J.r.r. Tolkien 1954 Second Edition 6th ImpressionAntique 1885 Original Oil On Canvas "mark Twain" Portrait Painting Unsigned Nice1955 Tolkien 'the Hobbit' Seventh Impression Rare The Two Towers By J.r.r. Tolkien 1st Edition 2nd Impression 1954-19555 Vol Set - Easton Press - Jrr Tolkien - Lord Of The Rings, Hobbit, SilmarillionTolkien - Lord Of The Rings Trilogy - Second Edition 1966 - Scarce28 Vintage Landmark Books Childrens Hardcover Books Hbdj - Estate Listing - Nr1927 Winnie The Pooh. 4th.edition. -a.a.milne- Illustrated By Ernest H.shepard.1962 J.r.r. Tolkien 'adventures Of Tom Bombadil' First Edition HbdwJ. M. Barrie Rackham Peter Pan In Kensington GardensRare 1927 First Edition Of Now We Are Six By A.a. Milne Illustrations By Shepard1857 Civil War Era School Primer Book Childrens Learning Grammar Antique Rare Rare The Fellowship Of The Ring By J.r.r. Tolkien 1st Edition 2nd ImpressionC1920 Alice In Wonderland Lewis Carroll Illustrated Charles Pear & T. H Robinson1926 Aesope's Fables Illustrated By Arthur Rackham Hardcover Book B271 PlVintage 1931 The Dial Press The Lewis Carroll Book 2nd Print Alice In WonderlandPirates Of Oz - Ruth Plumly Thompson - 1931 1st Edition - Excellent ConditionTolkien Society Mallorn No 12 1978 Includes Rare Poem By Tolkien Collectible1965 Lord Of The Rings Tolkien J.r.r. 2nd Second Revised Edition Box Set. EcVintage Nancy Drew Books Lot Of 21 Matte Covers VintageThe Hobbit 1st Printing Of 1966 Collector's Edition With Slipcase J.r.r. TolkienRare Lot Set Of 12 Vintage Antique Wizard Of Oz Book Set L.frank BaumTolkien Society Amon Hen Bulletin , 12 Early Issues From Dec 1978 .lotr Hobbit1927. A.a.milne. Now We Are Six. 2nd. Edition. - Winnie The Pooh -ernest ShepardAntique 1867 Mcloughlin Brothers Ny Mother Series Butterflys Ball Childrens BookLot 50 Bob Books Kids - Learn To Read! Sets 1,2,3,4,5. Includes Boxes Alice In Wonderland - Delightful Half Calf Rebind Of A 1929 Miniature Edition1840 Childrens History Cultures Customs People Of The World Antique School Book Rare Lot Set Of 12 Vintage Antique Wizard Of Oz Book Set L.frank BaumEaston Press Wizard Of Oz Collection 6 Vol. L. Frank Baum Illus/john R Neil Australian Published Walt Disney's Summer Parade Comic G.21 - Acceptable - 1954The Hobbit J.r.r. Tolkien - 1st Ed? 24th Print 1966 -$3.95 Lord Of The Rings LotWalt Disney Lot Books Cassette Tape Audio Children Homeschool Read Along Vintage1926 American Edition Winnie-the-pooh By A. A. Milne BookLot 18 Vintage Hardy Boys Books W/ 1-6, 41,43, 45-51, 53, 56, 57 Disney Little Golden Books Lot Of 9 Children's Hardcover BooksNow We Are Six, A.a. Milne, 1927, 1st/1st, First Edition1895 Alice In Wonderland Lewis Carroll Tenniel Victorian Binding Book AntiqueDorothy And Wizard In Oz Early Edition 19081883 Life On The Mississippi Mark Twain 1st Ed 2nd StateLot 23 Readers Digest The World's Best Reading - Dickens, Twain. Verne, DoyleAustralian Published Walt Disney's Summer Parade Comic G.20 - Acceptable - 1954Disney Animation The Illusion Of Life, Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas 1981 1st Ed Mr Tabby Cat * Childrens Hour * Watty Piper * Illustrated Color Plates (1929) The Lord Of The Rings J. R. R. Tolkien 1991 Centenary Illustrated By Alan Lee1885 Mcloughlin Bros A Peep At The Animal World Childrens Book IllustratedThe Fables Of Bidpai (1888) IllustratedAustralian Published Walt Disney's Jumbo Comic L.1 - Acceptable - 1958Vintage The Big Little Book Comic Mickey Mouse Pluto Walt Disney Whitman 1930s 3Jrr Tolkien The Hobbit Introduced For Schools By R S Fowler1809 Abrege De Toutes Les Sciences Et Geographie-childrens Science & Arts Book Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty - A Big Golden Book (1958)Vintage Nancy Drew Lot - Complete Set Of 56 Yellow Matte Hardcovers - KeeneAntique "yankee Doodle" Illus. Childrens Book Mcloughlin Bros. - 1880's?