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Children's and Young Adult Literature

SDSU Special Collections

These entries describe historical primary source collections available for research in Special Collections at the SDSU Library. Special Collections houses unique archival and manuscript collections, rare books and manuscripts, and graphic/ephemera collections.

Print Collections

General Printed Materials 

In the library catalog, try searching keywords like girl*boy*child*juvenile, story,nursery rhymepicture bookchapbook, or fairy tale. A general subject heading to browse is Illustrated Children's Books--Specimens.

Toy and Movable Books 

A particular strength of our collection is pop-up, toy, and movable books. Many of these were donated by SDSU children's literature professor Alida Allison or collector Horace Dodd. Recent additions include late 19th century and early 20th century "dissolving view" toy books, related to our Peabody Magic Lantern Collection. Search Toy and Movable Books as a subject in the library catalog, and limit to Special Collections.

Fables and Fairy Tales 

Keywords like fable or fairy tale searched in the library catalog, limted to Location = Special Collections, will yield many examples in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.  Also try searching for the German "Märchen" and the French "contes," as well as authors GrimmPerrault, and Aesop.

Boys' Adventure Series 

Popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, boys' adventure series books are well represented in Special Collections. Search in the library catalog for author names like Horatio Alger, Victor AppletonG. A. Henty, or Hezekiah Butterworth.


Special Collections holds a number of works by L. Frank Baum, the author of the classic Wizard of Oz and the popular subsequent series. Searh "Oz" or "L. Frank Baum" as keywords in the library catalog and limit your search to Special Collections.

Children's Periodicals 

Most periodicals for children held by Special Collections were produced from 1840-1930. Titles include John Martin's Book, Chatterbox, and St. Nicholas. Try keyword searching words like child*, girl*, boy*, or juvenile, and limiting to Serials and Special Collections in the library catalog.

Textbooks for Children 

Our textbook collection is strong in primers, readers, spellers, and other textbooks produced between 1800 and 1920, including the popular McGuffey readers and other series. Search in the library catalog by keyword (suggestions include elocution, geography, or arithmetic) then limit by date range and to Special Collections. Or browse the library catalog by call number, beginning in PE1117 .A1.

Graphic and Ephemera Collections

Edward Gorey Collection 

During his lengthy career, Edward Gorey illustrated more than 100 of his own books and more than 60 by other authors. His characteristic style, which mixes humor with horror and mystery, is widely recognized by readers of all ages. Special Collections holds an extensive collection of Gorey’s drawings, proofs, and collaborations with other authors.  A selection of the  Edward Gorey Collection is cataloged in the PAC. 

Manuscript and Archival Collections