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Chapbooks, Hornbooks, and Children's Literature in Archives and Special Collections

Archives and Special Collections holds a variety of materials of interest to scholars researching 19th and 20th century youth literature and educational materials.

About Archives and Special Collections

The mission of Archives and Special Collections is to collect, preserve, and provide access to archival and printed materials that support the research and instructional needs of students, faculty, national and international scholars, and the general public.

Related Resources


Archives and Special Collections offers a variety of resources pertaining to 19th and 20th century children's literature.

Chapbooks, also refered to as toybooks, are cheap books sold by chapmen, or peddlars, who traveled to rural villages and farmsteads selling the pocket-sized booklets from the 16th century to the 19th century. The books, which often featured morality tales, traditional folklore, rules of etiquette, and adventures stories, were most popular in England and Scotland during the 18th century, but also enjoyed popularity in the United States during the 19th century.

Hornbooks are primers for children, often displaying information such as the alphabet, numbers, and religious text. Mounted on a wood, bone, or leather paddle, young students slipped lessons printed or written on sheets of paper in between the paddle and a thin sheet of horn or mica. Popular during the the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, hornbooks were used by pupils in England and later, in the United States.

Children's literature in Archives and Special Collection range from fairy tales and fantasy to religious tales and myths. The materials span the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Use the tabs above to explore books, digital collections, and artifacts from Archives and Special Collections as well as the University Libraries General Collection and Educational Resources Collections.

Twin Travelers in South America

Twin Travelers in South America was written by Mary Wade and published circa 1918.

View the entire book.