Toy and Picture Books
The historic toy book collection at USF charts the development of picture book publication in the United States. In the early days of American children’s literature, the term “toy book” referred not to pop-up books or the inclusion of movable parts but rather to books intended for entertainment and amusement instead of instruction. With a wide range of titles produced by the McLoughlin Brothers publishing firm forming the core, USF’s collection features many lovely examples of black and white illustration, hand-colored illustration, and chromolithography. The collection covers a wide array of subjects, ranging from nursery rhymes and folk tales to counting books, tales about animals, and original stories. Earlier titles in the collection tend to be pirated American editions of classic British publications for children, including the famous works of Kate Greenway, Walter Crane, Randolph Caldecott. By the end of the century, however, American children’s literature tended to feature the work of American authors, such as Thomas Nast, Palmer Cox, and Howard Pyle.