The Library of Congress has just digitized dozens of rare children’s books and is now giving them away for free online. The books comprise of American and British titles and the entire initiative was done to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week.
The library website goes on to describe the collection by saying: “The books in this collection were published in the United States and England before 1924, are no longer under copyright, and free to read, share, and reuse however you’d like.”
“These selections and related materials are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives and beliefs of different times.”
The oldest book in the digital collection is A Little Pretty Pocket Book, which is considered to be the first book written specifically for children. It was originally published in 1744 by John Newbery, the pioneering English bookseller who is credited with carving out a market for children’s literature. The Library of Congress’ edition was printed in 1787.
“Highlights of the collection include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell, and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway.”
Michael Kozlowski has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.