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Libraries & Collections

The National Collection of Children's Books project brings together the records of the children's books held at Trinity College Library; the Church of Ireland College of Education Library; the National Library of Ireland; Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street; and, Cregan Library, St Patrick's College, Drumcondra (DCU). Further details below.

The following information was compiled by Dr Ciara Boylan and Dr Ciara Gallagher. Although not intended to be a comprehensive detailing, the information is designed to present researchers and those with an interest in children's books with an overview of the collections and to highlight a number of avenues for exploration.


Trinity College Library Dublin


The Pollard Collection of Children's Books – TCD

The Pollard Collection of Children's Books is a significant collection containing over 10,000 books ranging from 1570 to 1914 amassed over a twenty-year period by Mary 'Paul' Pollard, the former keeper of early printed books at Trinity College Dublin. 8,996 records are available on the NCCB catalogue; the remaining books in the collection have not yet been catalogued. The particular collection interests of Pollard include books published before 1914; books by Irish writers or with an Irish imprint; and books written for girls. Though the books in the Pollard Collection come from a variety of different sources some details of a general provenance and the impulse behind the collection remains evident in the notes on particular books, some of which have been included in the catalogue. 2,000 books have been acquired to complement the Pollard Collection since its bequest to TCD library in August 2005.

According to the NCCB catalogue, there are 7,370 records for the date range 1800 to 1900 in the Pollard Collection. The first half of the nineteenth century (1800 to 1850) returns 2,948 records. An emphasis on moral tales remains prominent, and religious works are significantly represented. Books published in the late-eighteenth century, particularly works by Maria Edgeworth (1768-1849), are available in a range of editions; the collection also contains a small number of Edgeworth's books in French, German, Italian, and one in Irish published in this period. Publications by Mrs Sherwood are also significantly represented and continue a well-established lineage of evangelical writing for children. The Pollard Collection contains an early edition of one of Sherwood's most important works The History of the Fairchild Family, holding a second edition of the work published in 1818, the same year as its first publication. Renowned American author Samuel Goodrich, better known by his pseudonym Peter Parley, and a seminal figure in American children's literature, is also well represented in this chronological section of the collection.

The most expansive part of the Pollard Collection covers the period 1850 to 1900. In this period, the NCCB catalogue provides a figure of 4,451 records. These titles include the most prominent and popular of the period and represent the trajectory of the first Golden Age of Children's literature (1865 to the outbreak of WWI); the rise of the adventure novel associated with the rise of imperialism; and, a new focus on girls' novels towards the end of the nineteenth-century, including the emergence of the 'new girl' – akin to the 'new woman' in fiction toward the end of the century. In relation to this new emphasis on girlhood, other works from outside the now well-known circle of active writers, which included Rosa Mulholland and L.T. Meade, emerge. Examples include works by Elizabeth Lysaght and M.M. Bell. There is also a focus on works for younger girls, by authors such as Mrs George Cupples and Alice Corkran. Works from this period in the collection also indicate a focus on works printed in the US for and about girls, including Home Heroines (Edinburgh: William P. Nimmo, [1867]) by American author T.S. Arthur and Bread Upon the Waters by American author Mary E. Bradley (London: John Morgan [1862]).

In terms of Irish publications, the Pollard Collection demonstrates the wider availability during this period of tales that specifically engage with issues of Catholicism, which comprise the largest section of Irish imprints of the period, many published by Dublin-based publisher James Duffy. It also reflects more broadly a part of the Irish literary scene that was increasingly shaped by religious ideologies, particularly conversion in the post-Famine era. Other variations on religious issues emerge in James Greer's Three Wee Ulster Lassies; or, News from Our Irish Cousins (London, Paris & New York: Cassell & Company Limited, 1883), which engages with girlhood and religious difference, and Tales and Stories by Brother James (Dublin: James Duffy and Co, 1864), which explores gender in relation to Catholicism. These publications emerge alongside the development of the first Golden Age of children's literature seen in British children's literature. Frederick Marryat, R.M Ballantyne, W.H.G. Kingston, and G.A. Henty are also represented in the collection.

The Pollard Collection also contains a considerable number of educational texts, many from the pre-1800 period. Amongst these are interesting 'gendered' texts, such as Priscilla Wakefield's Introduction to Botany (Dublin: printed by Thomas Burnside, for Messrs P. Wogan, P. Byrne, J. Milliken, J. Rice, B. Dugdale, J. Gough, P. Moore, and George Johnston, 1796), which is gendered to the extent that the study of botany was seen particularly suitable for girls: the two 'characters' that appear in the text are young sisters. More explicitly gendered are instructive moral texts such as Francis Lynch's A New Year's Gift; Containing Admonitions to Young Ladies (Dublin: printed by R. Cross, 1792) and Charles Allen's The Polite Lady: or, A Course of Female Education. In a Series of Letters, From a Mother to her Daughter (Dublin: printed for J. Exshaw, in Dame-Street, H. Saunders, in Castle-Street, D. Chamberlaine, in Smock-Alley, and J. Potts, in Dame-Street, 1763). There are a significant number of religious texts, including Youth Instructed in the Grounds of the Christian Religion (Dublin: printed by T. McDonnel, 1798), by the Irish Augustinian William Gahan, a polemic against the atheistic works of Voltaire, Rousseau and Paine, and published in the year of revolution in Ireland. Works of applied education are also in evidence, ranging from a work of elocution that addresses Irish 'mispronunciation' – John M'Crea's The new pronouncing spelling book (Dublin: printed for the author, by Brett Smith, [1790]) – to Youth's General Director, or Hoey's New Instructor (Dublin: printed by James Hoey, 1751), a text that covers practical instruction in subjects such as book-keeping and letter-writing for young men.


Pollard Schoolbook Collection – TCD

The Pollard Schoolbook Collection holds 568 titles; Trinity College Library purchased the collection from Pollard in 1985. Very detailed catalogue records were created for the entire collection, providing a wealth of information on, for example, printers and publishers, booksellers, binding and provenance. The earliest holding is a 1648 copy of Thomas Godwin's Romanae Historiae Anthologia Recognita et Aucta: An English Exposition of the Roman Antiquities (London: printed by Robert White, for Henry Cripps) and the most recent, Composition Made Easy (Aonach Urmhumhan [Nenagh]: Foilseacháin na Scol, [c.1955]). However, books from the nineteenth century form the bulk of the collection (414 texts).

The collection is primarily focused on the formal study of subjects, with the dominant subjects recorded in the catalogue being English language, Latin, Mathematics, French, and Geography. There are, therefore, few texts concerned with moral education. One notable feature is the small number of works on religion, despite the importance of religious texts, including the Bible, in education. There is a notable Irish focus to the collection and as such works printed or published in Ireland dominate, with 357 of the texts published in Dublin. The main strength of the collection lies in its historic Irish-published holdings. The largest output from a 'single author' comes from the Commissioners of National Education, with 88 titles, followed by the Christian Brothers, with 28 titles. The Christian Brothers' texts span The Literary Class-Book (Dublin: printed and published by W. Powell, 1840), a work that attracted considerable attention for its nationalist content, to Christian Politeness and Counsels for Youth (Dublin: M. H. Gill & Son, 1946), the twentieth edition of an etiquette and behaviour text. In this way, the collection showcases two different aspects of the Brothers' educational enterprise.

The full range of the Board of Education's publishing activity is also represented, from works composed and published by the Board, to texts such as Belfast-born naturalist Robert Patterson's Introduction to Zoology (Belfast: Simms and McIntyre. London: Longman & Co, and Simpkin & Co, 1869). The collection includes well-known educational texts with long and distinguished publishing histories, such as Lily's Rules Construed (London: printed by S. Buckley and T. Longman, 1740). Rarer texts also appear such as Mrs. S.M. Shearman's Plain Sewing and Knitting: a Manual for Teachers ([Dublin]: The Educational Company of Ireland Limited, [c.1915?]), and The Land of Long Ago: Conversational Lessons Introductory to History ([Dublin and Belfast]: Educational Co. of Ireland Ltd., [1915?]).

The catechetical 'question and answer' format can be found in many books in the collection, such as A New History of England, by Question and Answer (London: printed. Dublin: re-printed by and for G. Faulkner, 1733) and A Short But Comprehensive System of the Geography of the World, by Way of Question and Answer ([Northampton (Mass.)]: Published by Simeon Butler, Northampton. Greenfield, printed by J. Denis, 1811). The dialogue format was also common as in Andrew Baxter's Matho: or, the Cosmotheoria Puerilis, a Dialogue. In Which the First Principles of Philosophy and Astronomy are Accomodated to the Capacity of Young Persons (Dublin: printed for John Smith, Abraham Bradley, and George Faulkner, 1742). There is rich provenance information as many textbooks are decorated with signatures, annotations and markings.


General Catalogue (Children's Books) – TCD

There are 208,157 records from Trinity College Library's main collection in the NCCB catalogue. These records are marked with a juvenile audience tag. These holdings range from the sixteenth century to the twenty-first century, but are primarily concentrated on the period from the mid-twentieth century onwards. There are 130,431 records up until 1999, and 77,726 from the twenty-first century, demonstrating a huge increase in the first decades of this century. The extent of the holdings is largely due to the library's status as legal deposit library, but also reflects an ongoing interest in and commitment to acquiring works of juvenile literature.



Church of Ireland College of Education Library


Kildare Place Society Collection – CICE

The Church of Ireland College of Education Library houses the records and publications of the Kildare Place Society (KPS); the KPS publications collection numbers 185 items. The Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland, better known as the Kildare Place Society, was founded in 1811. In 1855, the training college of the KPS was taken over by the Church Education Society of the Church of Ireland. In 1969 the college moved from Kildare Place to Rathmines, becoming the Church of Ireland Training College, before coming to be known as the Church of Ireland College of Education (CICE). Many of the books are beautifully bound, as they were originally used as display copies in the library of the KPS. The earliest KPS publication dates from 1813 and the latest is an 1884 edition of the Dublin Spelling Book Part I. The printed output of the KPS falls into two categories: textbooks and 'Library Books'. The textbooks include editions of the Dublin Reading Book and Dublin Spelling Book, which were based on the Lancastrian system of education used in KPS schools and represent the first Irish attempt at an organized reading scheme for the children of the poor. An example of a gendered textbook is A Concise Account of the Mode of Instructing in Needle-work (Dublin: Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in Ireland, 1833), which aimed to impart practical and vocational life-skill to the daughters of the Irish poor attending KPS-supported schools.

The Society established a 'Cheap Book Society' in 1816 as part of its educational efforts to produce inexpensive texts for children and adults. This publishing drive was, to a very significant degree, designed to compete with, and undermine, the market in cheap chapbook literature. There was a focus on secular and useful content in the Library Books, and the list of titles includes travel narratives, natural history, poetry, and didactic fiction. Many of the titles were re-workings of existing texts, such as The History of Prince Lee Boo (three editions), Robinson Crusoe (seven editions) and Sarah Trimmer's History of the Robins (two editions). The list of travel literature is notable, with a series of 'Travels in…' texts, and accounts of shipwrecks and dangerous voyages. There are also numerous works of natural history in the collection covering plants and animals. The Society also published original works by Irish authors, such as Abigail Roberts, Mary Leadbeater and Martin Doyle (the pseudonym of Rev. William Hickey), all of which are represented in the collection. The KPS supported a high standard of printing and illustration within its books and the texts include many good examples of woodcut illustrations.

The KPS was committed to the principle of providing non-denominational education and though there was, therefore, an emphasis on useful, secular reading materials, as noted above, religion is also a key theme. This is evident in texts such as Lessons Selected From the Historical Parts of the Old Testament: for the Use of Schools (Dublin: Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland, 1824), the editions of Sturm's Reflections on the Wisdom, Power, and Goodness of God, and also in the reading selections included in the Dublin Reading Book and Dublin Spelling Book and the Christian moralising contained in the didactic fiction. Crucially, however, the KPS aimed to exclude explicitly denominational content from such texts. The Irish-English Primer (Dublin: Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland, 1823) a rare text, which implicated the Kildare Place Society in proselytizing activities, is included in the collection.


Schoolbooks Collection - CICE

The Schoolbooks Collection contains 5,665 texts in total. The focus is on materials to support national school curricula. The bulk of the collection (4,362 texts) is made up of texts published between 1900 and 2013, with the second half of the twentieth century particularly well represented. The collection also holds historic texts. The earliest is a 1679 sermon by Edward Pelling, and there are 26 texts published between 1700 and 1799. The 826 texts published between 1800 and 1899 include texts by the Commissioners of National Education and the Christian Brothers and some examples of rare schoolbook holdings, such as Home Lesson: Adapted to the Results' Programme of the Irish National Schools by M. Harbison, Head Master Newtownards Model School (Belfast: Mullan, William, & Son, 1878). The section of the collection published in the twentieth century also includes rare texts such as The A.B.C. of Temperance: a Catechism Based on the Scheme of Instruction Contained in the Government Syllabus (London; Belfast: Richard J. James, [191-?]). However, for the most part, the collection contains texts that were used widely in schools from English readers to history, geography, mathematics and science textbooks. There are a considerable number of texts published outside Ireland. For example, there are 531 texts published in London between 1900 and 2013, reflecting the fact that the collection is not limited to Irish texts alone, even in the period after independence. Some of religious works available reflect the constituency of the college, which educated teachers for Church of Ireland schools and schools under the management of Protestant denominations – with texts such as A Primer of the Church of Ireland: For the Use of Schools (Dublin: Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1900) and How We Differ From Rome: a Catechism of Elementary Instruction (Dublin: Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, [193-?]) appearing in the collection.


Bartlett Puffin Collection – CICE

There are 1,042 books in this collection, which represent a substantial portion of the seminal Puffin Story Book series published by Penguin from 1941 onwards. Allen Lane, a founder of Penguin, established the series for children, and the works were published in paperback alongside their adult paperback imprint. This publishing in paperback marked an important departure for the publication of children's books in Britain and elsewhere from the mid-twentieth century and, to some degree, changed the status of the paperback novel for a child readership. Puffin's first editor was Eleanor Graham; the second editor was Kaye Webb. The books in the series are numbered, and the works held in CICE run from PS1 to PS1199 with few interruptions. 778 titles were collected by Jan Bartlett, after whom the collection was named. The library at CICE acquired many of the missing titles throughout the years. The collection begins at PS1, Barbara Euphan Todd's Worzel Gummidge, or, The Scarecrow of Scatterbrook, PS2, 3, and 4 are missing, and the collection resumes again at PS5, Will James's Smoky, and continues almost uninterrupted to PS1199.

Classics of children's literature are well represented throughout the series, particularly near the beginning of the series – Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was published twice in the course of the series by two different editors, and was first included at PS35 (1948), while Through the Looking Glass: and What Alice Found There was included at PS44 (1948). These titles were later combined and published at PS169 as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; and Through the Looking Glass (1962). Works by R.L. Stevenson, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and E. Nesbit all feature in the early part of the collection. In addition to this, works that were later to become classics of children's literature were published in the Puffin Story Book series soon after their initial publication. One example is Mary Norton's The Borrowers, first published in 1952 and published by Puffin in 1958 at PS110. The Puffin Book series also published a number of Puffin Originals, including Clive King's Stig of the Dump (1963).

Another notable feature of the early part of the Bartlett Puffin Collection is a focus on novels that describe and engage with empire and imperialism in some way. For example, a book by Robert Gibbings, an author of Irish background, Coconut Island presents quite a typical colonial adventure narrative in some respects. This book was initially published in 1936, and then republished by Puffin in 1945 (PS19). Of further significance is the acknowledgement of children's literature emerging from authors of formerly colonised countries; this is noted early in the series with the publication of Gay-Neck: the Story of a Pigeon (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1944) by an Indian author who later moved to America, Dhan Gopal Mukerji.

Novels reflective of 'Irishness' in various ways also occur in the early part of the collection. L.A.G. Strong's Mr Sheridan's Umbrella (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1949) is a complex novel, written by an author of part-Irish background, and the second in the series to feature Irish characters. Set in the Regency period in Brighton and London, it tells the story of two young boys who help to save the famous Irish playwright and politician Richard Brinsley Sheridan from potential trouble when a caricature of the Royal family, drawn by Sheridan, goes missing. Patricia Lynch's The Grey Goose of Kilnevin (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1951) and Strangers at the Fair (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1949) are only four books apart in the series, at PS51 and PS55 respectively, and mark the beginning of a more traditional exploration of Irishness. In both these titles, there is an emphasis on wandering, travelling, and marginal groups of people, such as travellers, ballad singers, and travelling salespeople. The next text of explicit Irish interest at PS164 is a republication of Oscar Wilde's A Happy Prince and Other Stories (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964), which contains a lengthy and detailed introduction by Irish actor and author Micheál Mac Liammóir.


Juvenile Literature Collection – CICE

The Juvenile Literature Collection contains over 11,500 items. Part of this collection is of Irish interest, and includes books in English published in Ireland, written or illustrated by an Irish author or illustrator, or of specific relevance to Ireland. This element of the collection spans the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The oldest text of Irish interest from this collection is E.M. Wilmot-Buxton's Old Celtic Tales(London: Harrap, 1909). A century later, Ancient Folk Tales of Ireland(Kildare: Hawk Hill Publishing, 2009) based on the stories collected by Douglas Hyde and illustrated by Paul Bolger, represents a continued interest in Irish folklore and mythology. The collection also holds a substantial number of publications of Irish interest from the 1960s and 1970s, and particularly the period from the 1980s onwards.

Well-represented authors include Eilís Dillon, Meta Mayne Reid, Patricia Lynch, Sineád de Valera, Madeleine Polland, and Walter Macken. Works by Patrick Duggan and Bríd Mahon represent an important focus on the travelling community in Ireland, but with differently weighted emphasis. Publications from the 1980s demonstrate a renewed focus on Irish myth and legend. There is also evidence of the re-publication of what may be considered as Irish classics, such as Frances Boland's adaptation of Frances Browne's classic book Granny's Wonderful Chair(1856) as An Irish Granny's Magical Chair(Dublin: Mercier Press, 1984), in addition to an Irish imprint of Patricia Lynch's The Turf-Cutter's Donkey, originally published in 1934 (Portlaoise: Brogeen, 1984), and the first English-language translation of Pádraig Ó Siochfhradha's Jimeen, first published in Irish in 1921 (Dublin: O'Brien Press, 1984). One of the notable features of texts from the late 1980s and early 1990s in the Irish interest section of this collection is an increasing focus on place, landscape, and the nonhuman world. From the 1990s onwards the increased number of historical novels is also apparent. This collection also holds a significant number of books in the English language, not specifically related to Ireland. Again, children's literature publishing in the English language throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is well represented. From the 1980s onwards, international children's books of merit were acquired by the library – picture books are particularly well represented.



Cregan Library, St. Patrick's College, Drumcondra (DCU)


Junior Collection - SPD

There are 10,935 titles available in the library's main collection, entitled the Junior Collection. Most of these titles, some 10,698 were published between 1950 and 2013. There are 8,938 titles from the period 1980 to 2013, which highlights a particular concentration. This collection represents the library's main holdings for its student teachers and the students from the MA in Children's Literature programme, as the holdings were accumulated for these students. As a library policy, all children's books published in Irish language are acquired. The Irish language is substantially represented in the Junior Collection: there are 1,243 items in Irish in this collection.


Junior Special Collection - SPD

There are 425 titles in the Junior Special Collection. Various library staff members and staff from academic departments in the college acquired these works. The oldest dated work in the collection is Maria Edgeworth's The Parent's Assistant, or Stories for Children Vol 1 & 2, (Dublin: John Cumming, 1829); the most recent work in the collection is Duncan Crosbie's Life in an Irish Castle: the Journal of a 17th Century Castle in Times of Peace and War (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2007). There are a number of rare works from the nineteenth century included in the collection, in addition to works by authors such as Charles Kingsley, Lewis Carroll, and Captain Mayne Reid. There are 201 works that are classified as being published from 1900 to 2000, though this number is likely to be much larger, as many of the works in the collection from the twentieth century are not dated or have not been verified. Irish writers such as Sineád de Valera and Eileen O'Faoláin are well represented; the majority of the titles by de Valera are in Irish. The collection contains some rare and important texts from the beginning of the twentieth century, often around the period of the Irish Literary Revival, or which interact with Irish myth and legend in various ways, including work by Alice Furlong, A. Ruby Jackson, Charlotte Dease, Kitt Cavangh, the Marchioness of Londonderry, and John Hannon. Titles by Una Ní Cathill and Anne Casserley represent a slightly later example of Irish children's literature published outside of Ireland.

Towards the mid-twentieth century, there is a renewed focus on an Irishness expressed through folklore and folk figures, such as leprechauns and fairies. Some of these texts also invoke Irish myth and legend. Furthermore, the works that represent the mid-twentieth century in this collection are significant in terms of their publication history. The collection has a substantial number of texts from Irish publishers during the 1940s, such as Parkside Press, G & C Productions, and Mellifont Press (publishing in London and Dublin). The Parkside Press and Mellifont Press each published a series of children's books – Parkside Children's Series and Mellifont Press Children's Series – of an almost identical format, producing books that were softbound, 32 pages in length, and that used the same design with different colour schemes. A number of authors contributed to both series, making it likely there was a connection between the two. Furthermore, from a letter written by Martin J. McManus of the Parkside Press to The Bell in 1948, it can be deduced that the publisher was an avidly Irish publisher. Though, as yet, no specific information could be found about the Parkside Children's Series, it can be suggested that this series was an effort to promote Irish publications for a juvenile audience – further asserted in the markers of Irishness that feature throughout the Parkside Children's Series.

The collection also has a minor but nonetheless notable focus on picture books and illustrated works. It contains a number of Rosamund Praeger's works from the early twentieth century, a rare work illustrated by Chloe Preston also from the early twentieth century, c.1912-13, and works by Kathleen Hale (mid-twentieth century). It reveals an interest in some of the most influential picture-book creators of the twentieth century.


Patricia Lynch Collection - SPD

The Patricia Lynch Collection has 64 works, including various editions of a number of texts. The collection contains all Lynch's work, except her first published book The Green Dragon. The collection includes the complete Brogeen series, and there is a first edition of each work available. The first dated book by Lynch in the collection that was published in Ireland is an Irish-language work Eibhlín agus Séamus (Baile Átha Cliath Oifig an tSoláthair, 1942). The most recent dated text in the collection is a 1995 republication of The Dark Sailor of Youghal (Dublin: Poolbeg Press, 1995), which was first published in 1951 and demonstrates a new wave of activity in the publication of Lynch's material during a decade that was important for the publication of Irish children's literature.


Padraic Colum Collection - SPD

The Padraic Colum Collection contains works by Colum for adults and children, and includes texts such as A Boy in Eirinn (London: Dent, [1916]), illustrated by Jack B Yeats, and The Children of Odin (New York : Macmillan, c1920). It also includes some rarer children's books by Colum, such as The Big Tree of Bunlahy: Stories of My Own Countryside (New York: Macmillan Company, 1933). The most recently published book for children in the collection is The Six Who Were Left in a Shoe (New York: McGraw Hill, [1968]), illustrated by Joseph Schindelman.


Cathal Ó Sándair Collection – SPD

This collection contains some of the work of Irish language activist and prolific writer for children, Cathal Ó Sándair. There are 23 items in this collection with publication dates from 1945 to 1957.


Schoolbook Collection - SPD

The Schoolbook Collection emanates from relatively recent collection development policies, having been acquired as a historical collection of schoolbooks by means of purchase and donations. Dr. Vanessa Rutherford, of University College Cork, contributed a significant donation of 547 items. The collection holds 4,484 titles, covering both primary and secondary level, though primary-level texts dominate to a significant extent. Over half are textbooks for studying the Irish language, with the other principal subjects covered being English, history, religion, mathematics, geography and science. Within these subjects, there are numerous Irish-language textbooks. While dates are only available for approximately half of the collection, most of it spans from the late nineteenth century to the first half of the twentieth century, with the period 1920 to 1950 particularly well represented. Therefore, a key strength is the concentration on the period after independence and before the 1971 curriculum was introduced; both critical junctures in Ireland's educational history.

The collection holds multiple examples of twentieth-century English reading schemes and history textbooks, with the key theme being Ireland and nationalism. Many of the English readers published for national schools after independence, influenced by a particular strain of Irish nationalist thought, pitted economic and social modernisation (industrialism, capitalism, urban life) against an ideal of a rural society characterised by rugged health, deep spirituality and rustic simplicity. Rural Reader for Irish Schools. Part II (Dublin, M.H. Gill and Son, [1940]) is an interesting text in this regard as it distils such concerns into a reading book focused solely on rural life. Many other readers published between the 1920s and 1950s reflect this antipathy to a version of modernity readily associated with Britain. From the 1960s some of the English readers such as Fact and Fancy: Intermediate Book (Dublin: Educational Co. of Ireland, [1963]) begin to reflect the new economic orthodoxy. This trend is also notable in the history textbooks that, from the 1960s, are often seen to emphasise Ireland's evolving modernity in the form of the opening up of her economy and social changes – a text such as J.J. Feeney's A History of Ireland Part II (Dublin: Educational Co. of Ireland, [1964?]) being indicative of this trend.

Religion is also a key theme, with 274 religion texts, most of them Catholic, including 18 texts authored by the Christian Brothers; a number of saints' lives; and 4 works published by the Catholic Truth Society of Ireland. There are a number of copies of Archbishop Michael Sheehan's Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine (Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1926), a standard secondary school text until the 1960s, alongside rarer works such as The Catholic Child's and Youth's Bible History: Adapted to the Use of Junior and Senior Grades in Primary and Higher Schools (Belfast: P. Quinn & Co., [1898]) by the Sisters of Mercy, Downpatrick. While the English readers, post-independence, often refer to Ireland's innate spirituality, the history textbooks are often more explicit on this point, tracing a history in which the Gael clung faithfully to his/her religion in the face of brutal oppression and violence. However, texts written from an opposing perspective also exist in the collection, such as Henry Patton's History of the Church of Ireland (Dublin: Association for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1929), which defends the Church of Ireland's ancient lineage. The collection contains a number of history textbooks written from a unionist perspective, such as Constantia Maxwell's A Short History of Ireland (Dublin: The Educational Company of Ireland, [1914]).

The only explicitly gendered text in the collection is the Girls Reading Book (Dublin: Alex. Thom & Co., 1885) published by the Commissioners of National Education. However, it is worth noting the prevalence of mothers in English readers as purveyors of information and moral instruction, such as in Browne and Nolan's National Readers Fourth Standard (Dublin: Browne and Nolan, 1905). In questioning how gender roles were portrayed and gender stereotypes employed in English textbooks, it is worth considering that both boys and girls appear in the readers, which were gender neutral in terms of readership.

The use of illustration in textbooks is a notable feature that evolved over the course of the twentieth century in particular. Certain illustrators have contributed repeatedly to textbooks: notably, Eileen Coghlan, Karl Uhlemann, G.E.O. Morrow, Arthur Donnelly, K. Maidment, Geo Monks and Joseph A. Cotes. The heavily illustrated Ireland Three: Union to Present Day (Dublin: The Educational Company of Ireland, Ltd., 1972) is an exemplar a new departure in the use of illustrative materials in textbooks from the 1970s onwards. There is rich provenance information as many items are evidently former textbooks and are decorated with signatures, annotations and markings.



Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street


Children's Book Collection - DCLA, Pearse Street

There are 779 books in the Children's Book Collection held at Pearse Street Library. The collection was established through a re-allocation of material from other collections in the library, and from a decision to group related non-contemporary children's resources together. The physical items remain within their collections, but the Dublin City Library and Archive's catalogue allows grouping under the heading Children's Book Collection. The Divisional Librarian in the Dublin and Irish Collections, Máire Kennedy, noted that the material within the Children's Book Collection does not come from one single source. Some of the material that now forms part of the Children's Book Collection was originally part of the Dix Collection, which consists of "700 books and pamphlets, mainly 17th and 18th century Dublin and Irish imprints" donated by the Irish bibliographer E. R. McClintock Dix. More of the material was moved from the Gilbert Collection, "John T. Gilbert's valuable library of mainly 17th and 18th century books and manuscripts relating to Dublin and Ireland" (see dublincity.ie). The remainder of the items in the Children's Book Collection were donated or acquired by Dublin City Public Libraries.

The earliest dated text in the collection is Daniel Defoe's The Whole Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe… (Dublin: printed for George Golding, in High-Street; and Isaac Jackson, in Meath-Street, booksellers, 1744), followed by Defoe's The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Being the Second and Last Part of His Life, and of the Strange Surprising Account of his Travels Round Three Parts of the Globe, Written by Himself (Dublin: printed for George Golding, in High-Street; and Isaac Jackson, in Meath-Street, booksellers, 1745). One of the collection's strengths is its focus on editions, variations and interactions with Robinson Crusoe. Another focus visible throughout is numerous editions, adaptations, abridgements, and interactions with Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Though there are many texts of historic interest in this collection, there is a concentration on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century texts in particular. There is a focus on moral stories and instruction from the early nineteenth century, including rare works such as Dorothy Kilner's Short Conversations or, an Easy Road to the Temple of Fame; Which All May Reach Who Endeavour to Be Good (Dublin: printed and sold by John Rice, College Green, 1800?), which is of added interest as it comes from the library of Mary Leadbeater, an author who also published work with the Kildare Place Society. The Children's Book Collection also contains a number of works by Leadbeater, including the popular The Pedlars (Dublin: printed by Bentham and Hardy, Cecilia-St., 1826), in addition to the earlier Anecdotes Taken From Real Life, for the Improvement of Children, by Mary Leadbeater, with Appropriate Engravings (Dublin: printed and sold by John Shea, Childrens' Ware House, no. 42, College Green, 1809), inscribed by the author on the title page with the words "Eliza Leadbeater, from her mother"; and a rare copy of the 1807 book The Happy Villagers. Embellished by an Engraving (Dublin: printed by J. Shea, Childrens' Book Ware-house, 42, College Green, 1807), which is not available in the other NCCB libraries. Another important text from this period in terms of moral stories is an anonymous story The Ball Room Window: A Tale (Dublin: printed for Richard Moore Tims, 85, Grafton Street, 1824), which is cited in A Guide to Irish Fiction 1650-1900 and is not available in other libraries participating in NCCB.

One of the collection's main strengths is its focus on L.T. Meade. There are 163 records for L.T. Meade in the Children's Book Collection, and the earliest is White Lillies and Other Tales, published in 1878. The collection also holds a substantial amount of material from authors writing about girlhood during the late nineteenth century, and includes the works of writers such as Rosa and Clara Mulholland. A notable strength of the collection is its focus on illustrated works and picture books. The collection contains a number of rare texts written by Rosamund Praeger from the beginning of the twentieth century onwards. The works of Randolph Caldecott, Richard Doyle, and others represent the development of the picture book and illustrated work from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, some of which are rare texts. This includes Jack the Giant Killer (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1888), illustrated by Richard Doyle, which was created in 1842 but appears to have been published after his death. It is reproduced in high quality facsimile (as indicated in the publisher's note on the book).


Chapbook Collection – DCLA, Pearse Street

The Chapbook Collection contains 108 texts. There is some overlap with the Children's Book Collection and the Schoolbook Collection, with 45 texts tagged as both Chapbook and Children's Books, for instance. Most of the Chapbook Collection texts are fictional works, though some are textbooks. A considerable number are Kildare Place Society 'Library books', for example A History of Useful Arts and Manufactures (Dublin: printed by A. O'Neil, 1822) or Animal Sagacity (Dublin: printed by W. Espy, 1824). Rare chapbooks include Grace Lindsay, or one day's experience (Dublin: printed by Bentham and Hardy, 1826); Grandmother's Stories: vol. 1 Comprising The old Harper (Dublin: printed by J. Barlow for P. Wogan, W. Porter, 1800); and, The Children of Sorrow: A Tale. By a Member of the Committee of the Juvenile Deaf and Dumb Association (Dublin: printed by P.D. Hardy, 1830). A number are works of moral and practical improvement, aimed at a labouring class audience (both child and adult); for example, Husbandry Moralized: or Pleasant Sunday Reading for a Farmer's Kitchen (Dublin: sold by William Watson, [c.1818]). There are also works by well-known nineteenth-century female 'improvement' authors such as Sarah Trimmer, Hannah More and Selina Martin. Other texts are representative of the popular chapbook market in fantastical tales and stories, such as The Arabian Nights Entertainments (Dublin: printed by C.M. Warren, n.d.). The collection contains 5 texts published in Belfast, 8 published in Dundalk, and over 70 published in Dublin. The Contrast: or, Poverty and Riches published in Dundalk by Joseph Parks represents a good example of the provincial chapbook trade held in the collection. This short tale is part of an eight-volume set, boxed together as 'Park's Juvenile Library'. It forms part of the Dix donation to Pearse Street Library from the National Library of Ireland, as do a number of the chapbooks held in the library.


Schoolbook Collection – DCLA, Pearse Street

There are 1,334 individual items in the Schoolbook Collection, though there is some overlap between the Schoolbook, the Chapbook and Children's Book Collections. The collection includes both primary and secondary level textbooks and contains almost exclusively Irish published textbooks. Over 1,000 of the texts are English-language with 307 Irish language texts. The earliest text is a first edition of the Irish dramatist and educator Thomas Sheridan's A Course of Lectures on Elocution (London: printed by W. Strahan, for A. Millar, R. and J. Dodsley, T. Davies, C. Henderson, J. Wilkie, and E. Dilly, 1762). The collection is dominated by twentieth-century holdings, and one of the key strengths is the number of contemporary textbooks from the period after the curriculum was revised in 1971. Textbook authors, such as Mairéad Ní Ghráda, Stephen Gwynn and Elenor Butler published a number of textbooks during this period. There are some rare texts in the collection, such as A Text-book of Citizenship (Belfast: Educational Company of Ireland, [1930]), a civics text written for Northern Irish pupils.



National Library of Ireland


General Catalogue (Children's books) – NLI

The National Library of Ireland does not have a discrete collection of children's texts, and as such it was necessary to extract texts using particular markers: for the most part relevant subject headings, which would identify children's texts amongst the library's holdings. This strategy is reliant on texts having been catalogued to a particular level (for example, that records would include subject headings) and as such cannot be said to represent the complete children's texts holdings of the NLI, but rather to represent the best identifiable set. This targeted extraction of children's books records from the NLI's catalogue produced 13,097 texts designated as children's books. The oldest text is a 1540 copy of Charles Estienne's Seminarium: et Plantarium Fructiferarum Praesertim Arborum (Parisiis: Ex Officina Roberti Stephani Typographi Regii), and there are 94 texts published before 1799 (a number of the earlier works are in microform format). The holdings increase considerably as the decades advance, with the vast bulk of the collection – some 11,299 texts – published between 1900 and 2013. Notably, 5,215 of these were published between 2000 and 2013, and a significant portion of these works are in the Irish language (802 in total). This trend suggests that more recent children's books are being tagged consistently as such. There is a notable Irish focus to the collection, with over 7,000 texts published in Dublin alone. Provincial Irish publishing is also well represented across the centuries.

The NLI's general holding of children's books increases from the beginning of the nineteenth century onwards, and literary texts are well represented throughout this decade. Religious and moral tales feature substantially in the holdings from the first part of the nineteenth century. During this period travel narratives are also present, and work by popular authors such as Mrs Sherwood, Hannah More, and Sarah Trimmer feature. Though there is not a specific emphasis on Dublin imprints, they are well represented in this period. There are a number of volumes of poetry for young audiences featured during this period, including The Bee: A Collection of Poems Designed Chiefly for the Young (Dublin: printed by J. Jones, 1824), Poems, Selected from the Works of Approved Authors (Dublin: printed by W. Epsy, 1825) and Selections from the Poems of William Wordsworth, esq; chiefly for the use of schools and young persons (London: Edward Moxon, 1831). Other interesting titles include Peter Parley's Tales about Ireland and the Irish (London: Darton & Clarke, [1848?]) and A Picture-Book Without Pictures by Hans Christian Andersen (London: David Bogue, 1847).

From 1850 onwards, a focus on boys' books is notable: Clever Boys of Our Time and How they Became Famous Men: Dedicated to Youths and Young Men Anxious to Rise in the World (London: Darton [1855?]) and Men Who Have Risen: a Book for Boys by James Hogg and illustrated by C.A. Doyle (London: J. Hogg [1859?]) are just some examples. After the 1880s, there was a marked increase in the number of books published that targeted girl readers. These include works by LT Meade, Rosa Mulholland, Katharine Tynan and Mrs J Sadlier. The NLI's holdings of children's books increases dramatically from the mid-twentieth century. There are 4,909 books in the period 1950 to 2000. Significantly, the work of seminal Irish-language children's writer Cathal Ó Sándair is well represented in this period, with 79 items recorded. The NLI also has substantial holdings of Martin Waddell's (1941-) work, and the work of Irish artist and children's book illustrator P.J. Lynch (1962-), including some of Lynch's original drawings for Fairy Tales of Ireland, compiled by W.B. Yeats (London & Glasgow: Collins 1990). The Eilís Dillon Papers, c. 1950-1995, are also held at the NLI.

The NCCB data extraction from the NLI has also made it possible to search for children's literature from the Stephen Griffin Collection, "an ongoing donation from Mr Stephen Griffin, at present numbering some 4,000 items, reflecting the history, experience and printed output of the Irish-American diaspora" (see nli.ie). According to the NCCB catalogue, there are 221 children's literature titles in the Griffin Collection. The juvenile literature in the Griffin Collection provides a significant insight into publishing activity in the U.S with a particular Irish interest from approximately the early nineteenth century onwards. Some of the earliest titles in this collection are by Maria Edgeworth, including an edition of Frank (Boston: Munroe and Francis, 18--), and Almeira; a Tale of Fashionable Life (Bridgeport [Conn.]: Printed and sold by Lockwood & Backus, 1811). Some of the material, particularly the early material, comes from various religious associations including the Presbyterian Publication Board, The American Tract Society, and The American Sunday School Union. From mid-nineteenth century onwards, more Catholic printing presses can be noted, including the Catholic Publication House, New York; D & J Sadlier, New York; Edward Duignan, New York; Benziger Brothers, Chicago. Works of fiction by Mrs J. Sadlier and Cecilia Mary Caddell, published by Irish publishers D & J Sadlier can also be found in the Griffin Collection. The work of Padraic Colum is well represented with nine titles, seven of which were published in New York up until the end of the 1920s. Juvenile works in the collection become less frequent as the twentieth century progresses, though specifically Irish themes are represented, as can be found in texts such as Across the Sea from Galway ([1975]) by Leonard Everett Fisher, and Child of War (New York: Holiday House, c1984) by Mary Ann Sullivan.

As a legal deposit library, the NLI has acquired extensive holdings of modern Irish-published educational material. Some of the educational texts form part of donated collections such as the Griffin Collection and Dix Collection. E.R. McClintock Dix, who had a particular interest in the history of Irish printing, donated this latter collection, consisting of over 8,000 books and pamphlets. Some good examples of educational texts from the Dix Collection representing provincial Irish printing include The New Spelling Primer for Beginners printed in Monaghan by John Brown in 1798 and An Introduction to Geography (Newry: Printed by Alexander Wilkinson, 1816). Certain genres might be identified as particular strengths of the collection. The collection has the largest selection of works authored by the Christian Brothers texts across all five libraries, 155 in total, along with 84 by the Commissioners of National Education, and 82 by the Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor of Ireland. Therefore, the collection is a very rich recourse for the texts used in formal educational settings in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are rich holdings of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century advice and conduct literature. These include gendered texts such as the Irish author Elizabeth Hamilton's Letters, Addressed to the Daughter of a Nobleman, on the Formation of Religious and Moral Principle (London: printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, 1814) and John Gregory's A Father's Legacy to His Daughters (Newry: Printed for James Mayne, in Market-Street, 1775). On the other side of the gender divide there are works aimed at boys such as A Father's Present to His Son (Dublin: W.F. Wakeman, 1833). Religion is also a key theme. For example, there is a strong collection of religious prayer books, missals and catechisms from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, many of them published in Ireland.