Author Archives: Laura Wasowicz

About Laura Wasowicz

Curator of Children's Literature, American Antiquarian Society

Santa and the Christmas Tree in Nineteenth-Century American Children’s Books

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Although we might think of Santa and an evergreen Christmas tree as inevitably wedded in nineteenth-century children’s book illustration, that was not necessarily the case.  Until about 1840, New Year’s Day was favored over Christmas as the family-appropriate winter holiday in the young American Republic, particularly in New England, where the descendants of the Puritans ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Adventures of Teasing Tom and Naughty Ned with a Spool of Clark’s O.N.T. Cotton

?The Adventures of Teasing Tom and Naughty Ned with a Spool of Clark’s O.N.T. Cotton. New York: F.B. Patterson, 1879. Books printed as advertisements were frequently directed at children, as is the case of this chapbook hawking Clark’s cotton thread. Not only do Tom and Ned play hooky from school, but they use a spool of ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Flower People

Mann, Mary Peabody.  The Flower People. Boston: James R. Osgood & Co., 1875. First published in the early 1840’s, Mary Peabody Mann’s The Flower People introduced the study of botany to children under the guise of conversations between a girl named Mary and various plants.  In this case, Mary is speaking to a leaf that she ...

The Acquisitions Table: Sketches from Nature

Brown, Frances.  Sketches from Nature, for My Juvenile Friends.Cleveland: Mrs. H.F.M. Brown; Cincinnati: Longley Brothers; Boston: Bela Marsh, 1858. This is a remarkable collection of short stories that were clearly the product of the reformist press that flourished in Boston, Cincinnati, and Cleveland shortly before the Civil War.  Although the wood-engraved illustrations look quite conventional--here is ...

The Acquisitions Table: Blossom and Fruit

Blossom and Fruit. A Choice Collection of Hebrew Texts for Jewish Public and Private Instruction=Tsits u-Feri. Compiled and published by Julius Katzenberg.  New York: Industrial School, Hebrew Orphan Asylum, 1882. AAS certainly has Hebrew texts geared to Christian divinity students, but this text is geared to the needs of Jewish children and youth.  AAS has just ...

The Acquisitions Table: Bible Characters

Bible Characters, Instructive and Entertaining Compiled for the use of Young Children (3rded) on a sheet with History of Haman and Mordecai compiled by a Friend to Youth. New York: Mahlon Day, 1837.  This single sheet printing shows the way in which multiple-page books were laid out (or composed) during the nineteenth century. Such sheets ...

Adopt-a-Book 2013: Fires and Trains

The AAS curatorial team is just delighted by the response to our 6th annual Adopt-a-Book event, with over half of the selected “orphans” already adopted by generous supporters.  Thank you!  Below, please find one of the few titles for children still available from the online catalog as well as a railroad map from the cartography ...

The Acquisitions Table: Juno on a Journey

Abbott, Jacob. Juno on a Journey.The Juno Stories.New York: Dodd & Mead, ca. 1870. Jacob Abbott’s Juno was among the first female African American protagonists of a children’s book series.  In this book, Juno is enlisted to take a little white boy named Georgie on a train journey by the boy’s father.  During this early fictional ...

The Acquisitions Table: The Encyclopedia of English Grammar

Hall, William.  The Encyclopaedia of English Grammar: Designed for the Use of Schools.  Wheeling, Va.: John B. Wolff, 1849. Like newspapers, textbooks were frequently among the earliest imprints issued in regional outposts like Wheeling, Virginia (later West Virginia).  Such is the case with William Hall’s Encyclopaedia of English Grammar, which was first copyrighted in nearby Ohio.  ...