Author Archives: Laura Wasowicz

About Laura Wasowicz

Curator of Children's Literature, American Antiquarian Society

The Acquisitions Table: Little Marian

Little Marian. Philadelphia: American Sunday-School Union, [ca. 1853-1857]. 

The American Sunday-School Union was a pioneer in the use of the shaped book format and chromolithography, competing directly with secular firms including McLoughlin Brothers. Little Marian serves as a sequel to the Pilgrim’s Progress-inspired children’s book Little Marian’s Pilgrimage, issued by the ASSU ca. 1852. The earlier ...

The Acquisitions Table: Bobby’s Teeth


Sarah E. Chester.  Bobby’s Teeth.  New York: American Tract Society, ca. 1873. (Swallow Stories.)

This cute chromolithographed label of a little boy decorates the cover of a humorous tale about little Bobby, who according to the book’s narrator, has teeth as “white as snow” and “even as a row of pins.” Unfortunately, Bobby uses his teeth ...

Christmas Comes of Age in Carolyn Wells’s Christmas Alphabet

Christmas Alphabet 1

Although Clement Clarke Moore is now recognized as the celebrated Christmas poet, early twentieth-century writer Carolyn Wells (1862-1942) expanded on Moore’s vision of Christmas as a season of wholesome family-centered celebration in her Christmas Alphabet. Issued by New York picture book publisher McLoughlin Brothers in 1900, the Christmas Alphabet weaves evocative verse and gorgeous full-color ...

The Acquisitions Table: Daisy’s Death


Aunt Fanny (Frances Barrow). Daisy’s Death. Buffalo: Breed & Lent, ca. 1866-1872.

Frances Barrow (1822-1894) authored some thirty books in the “Aunt Laura” and “Aunt Fanny” series, published in miniature format by Breed, Butler & Co. and its successor, Breed & Lent. Daisy’s Death is about Daisy, an older cat who has kittens, although she is ...

The Acquisitions Table: A Present for the Young


A Present for the Young. New York: D. Waugh and T. Mason for the Sunday School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church, 1833.

This wonderfully detailed hand-colored wood engraving is the frontispiece to A Present for the Young and illustrates the role of the family as the epicenter of literacy and civilization. Note the family gathered around ...

The Acquisitions Table: Aladdin


Aladdin.  Cincinnati: Peter G. Thomson, ca. 1877-1889.

Although McLoughlin Bros. dominated American picture book publishing in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, they were not without worthy competitors; among them was Peter Gibson Thomson (1851-1931).  This lusciously chromolithographed version of Aladdin sports a marvelous palette of colors and shades, and was probably the work of ...

The Acquisitions Table: Afternoon Tea


Afternoon Tea: Rhymes for Children. New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons; London: Frederick Warne and Co., ca. 1880.

This delicate color-printed illustration of children at play is taken from a book of children’s poetry published jointly in New York and London by the England-based houses of Thomas Nelson and Sons and Frederick Warne.  Both publishers were ...