Museum Collection

British Children's Books from the Ingalls Library Collection

The earliest illustrated children's book, Orbis Pictus, (The World in Pictures) by John Amos Comenius, was published in 1658. Early children's books were used for teaching religious and moral lessons with their sparse illustrations reflecting the somber texts. John Newberry's A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, published in 1744, was the first English children's book that abandoned the didactic writing style and focused instead on pleasure reading. Toys were included to promote the books—pincushions for girls and balls for boys.

Bookplates from the Ingalls Library Collection

"Do you want these bookplates?" inquired Mr. Langdon Warner in a letter dated 12 October 1917. He wrote from the Pennsylvania Museum, where he had just assumed the directorship, to his colleague Frederick Allan Whiting, then director of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Warner continued, "We have no collection here, and F.G. Hall the artist may one day be famous." It is with this gift of nine bookplates that the collection of ex libris at the Cleveland Museum of Art was initiated.

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