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    

Lot 16 Sets Flash Cards Learn Alphabet/numbers/colors/phonics Kids Preschool KEaston Press 8 Vol Set Tolkien-lord Of The Rings/hobbit/silmarillion+3 Early VolJ.r.r. Tolkien - The Two Towers - Uk 1st/1st 1954 Lord Of The Rings Originalv/gFirst Edition The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz By Frank Baum Copyright 1899 Arthur Rackham Alice In Wonderland Lewis Carroll Early Edition 13 Colour PlatesA.a. Milne Winnie The Pooh Decorations 1st Ed 1926 Ernest Shepard Bright CopyLot Of 50 A Little Golden Vintage Walt Disney Classic Children Kids Books #u88J.r.r. Tolkien Lot Of : Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, + The Hobbit & Silmarillion!The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, Tolkien - 1st Uk Edition, Later ImpressionsVintage Little Golden Book Lot - Little Black Sambo, Mother Goose, Disney More! Rare! 1883 1sted Life On The Mississippi Mark Twain Pre- Civil WarOriginal Arthur Rackham Peter Pan Portfolio 1912 Fallen Leaf Fairies Dancing*zenescope Grimm Fairy Tales - Oz J Scott Campbell Print* J.r.r. Tolkien The Hobbit Houghton Mifflin 1973 Hardcover Collector's EditionLot Of 33 Rainbow Magic Fairies Weather Jewel Pet Chapter Kids Books #v31Rackham Signed First Us Edition: 1913: Mother Goose, The Old Nursery Rhymes:J R R Tolkien The Silmarillion Lord Of The Rings Limited Edition Box Set Inc CdLot Of 30 Dr. Seuss Mixed Children Kids Learn To Read Picture Books Cat Hat#v26Tolkien The Two Towers First Deluxe Edition (hobbit Middle Earth Related)Lot Of 50 Little Critter Mercer Mayer Mix Picture Homeschool Kids Books #v56Lot Of 50 A Little Golden Vintage Walt Disney Classic Children Kids Books #v17Nancy Drew Mystery Book Collection, Hardback, 30's And 40'sComplete Works Of Mark Twain 22 Volumes Antique Old 24 Samuel Clemens 1911 First Edition "the Sea Fairies" By Frank Baum, The "wizard Of Oz" Author!!1950 Whitman Little Black Sambo Childrens Book Vintage Tell A Tale Trixie Belden Lot Of 22 Paperbacks #17-34, 39, 2, 4, 15 Vintage Kids MysteryMark Twain Huckleberry Finn 1st Edition 1885 First Edition WebsterThe Silmarillion J.r.r. Tolkien 1981 Rare Hardback From Guild Publishing LondonLot Of 41 Mixed Set Of Nancy Drew Books - Reading Set 1883 Life On The Mississippi By Mark Twain James Osgood & CoRare! 1897 A Tramp Abroad Mark Twain Illustrated Samuel L. ClemensEaston Press A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court By Mark Twain LeatherJ.m. Barrie's Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens Pictures By Arthur Rackham - 1929Lot Of 30 Dr. Seuss Mixed Children Kids Learn To Read Picture Books Cat Hat#u89Dave Ramsey Rachel Cruze Smart Money Smart Kids Book Finances Planning Debt FreeDisney Pixar The Art Of Finding Nemo Hc Book Mark Cotta Vaz *zenescope Grimm Fairy Tales - Oz Ebas Eric Basaldua Print*The Hobbit By J.r.r. Tolkien - Hardback - 1997 VersionLot Of 29 Value Tales Childrens Books Valuetales Biographies HomeschoolVintage Lot Of 13 Nancy Drew Mystery Series Carolyn Keene FrontisRare Vintage Four Wheels To Carry Us Childrens Pop Up Book Czechoslovakia 1964 !Lot Of 36 Berenstain Bears Children Kids Stan And Jan Picture Series Books #v47Nancy Drew #1 + #2 W/dj's. White Spines. Hidden Staircase/secret Of Old Clock Vintage 1961 Winnie The Pooh Book - A.a.milne H/cLot: 72 Kids Chapter Books,3rd 4th 5th Grade,ar,newbery,scholastic,teacherAlice In Wonderland And Through The Looking Glass Early Vintage Edition CarrollMixed Lot Nancy Drew Books ~ 37 Books ~ Very Good Condition VgcTolkien The Two Towers 1961 (hobbit Middle Earth Related)Our Caravan C. 1940 Old Childrens Illustrated Book Caravans Raymond Sheppard1867 Victorian Childrens Color Illustrated Scrapbook Book Abcs Trade Cards RareLot Of 39 Junie B Jones By Barbara Park Mystery Kids Chapter Books #u26Lot Of 50 The Baby Sitters Club Scholastic Kids Chapter Books #v18Vintage Winnie-the-pooh Book By A. A. Milne 1961 Edition1915. The. Scarecrow. Of Oz By. L.frank. Baum Published The Copp,clark CoUncle Wiggily And Alice In Wonderland 1918 By Howard Garis, Edward BloomfieldTolkien The Return Of The King 1963 (hobbit Middle Earth Related)Ozma Of Oz By Baum, L. Frank And Neill, John R. Published By Easton Press 1989Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Lot Of 8 Childrens Book Lot Excellent!Exrare Jessie Willcox Smith Mother Goose 1st 1918 Wonderful Color Plates Wow!!Lot Of 60 Cliffs Notes (shakespeare, Twain, Orwell, Dickens, Etc.)