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Rare Book and Special Collections Division



The Domestic Sphere
Children's Literature
Advice Books
arrow graphicFinding Rare Children's Books
Religion and Spirituality
Reform Efforts
Women in Popular Culture
Collections Formed by Women
Literary Works



Finding Rare Children's Books

To search for a specific title in the Juvenile Collection, a reader needs to check three separate places. Search the online catalog first. Records of all children's books cataloged after 1982 are online. A card file in the Rare Book Reading Room covers titles cataloged between 1974 and 1982. Most of the collection, however, is described in a two-volume guide published in 1975. Children's Books in the Rare Book Division of the Library of Congress (Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975; Z1038.U5 U54 Rare Bk Ref) is arranged by author and date of publication.

Marian Carson's Children's Books

Collector Marian S. Carson's special interest in children's literature brought to the Library of Congress a splendid gathering of nearly three hundred rare and fragile children's books and games, printed primarily in Philadelphia and New York during the first half of the nineteenth century. Dame Partlet's Farm (Philadelphia: Johnson and Warner, 1810; PZ6.D178 1810 Carson) celebrates the ability of a widow to use her outstanding reading skills and her industry to provide for her children and share with the poor.

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Marmaduke Multiply. Boston: Munroe and Francis, 1839. Rare Book & Special Collections.

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Through charming verse and delightful engravings, Disastrous Events Which Attended Joe Dobson (Philadelphia: William Charles, 1813; PZ6.D57 1813 Carson) recounts the results of a husband's bet that he can do more household work in any day than his wife can do in two. Switching roles for a day, Joe Dobson suffers calamities while milking, spinning, cooking, and washing, whereas his wife successfully completes her work at the plow and the mill and returns to cook dinner as well.

The Little Girl's Own Book by Lydia Maria Child (Boston: Carter, Hendee, 1835; GV1204.998 C55 1835 Carson) describes games and amusements specifically for girls. The Diligent Girl as Lady of the House (Germany: 187-?; GV1203.C235, box 3, no.1 Carson) is a game, printed in English, Italian, French, and German, that reinforces domesticity as well as language proficiency.

The American Toilet by Hannah Lindley Murray (New York: Imbert's Lithographic, 1827; BJ1531.M86 1827 Carson), a particular treasure in the Marian S. Carson Collection, was directed at the training of modest young ladies. Each page is illustrated with an item from a lady's dressing table, part of which is actually a hinged paper flap. Each instrument of vanity lifts to reveal a virtue, such as the breast pin that opens to reveal “charity.” “Virtues—Juvenile literature” and “Toy and movable books—Specimens” will help the reader find books on this subject and in this genre.

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