The Historical Children’s Literature Collection contains more than 80 images of variations on classic children’s tales. Made possible by a UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) grant, this collection is a collaboration with the Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections, UBC’s iSchool, and the Department of English Language and Literatures.

Particularly strong in chapbooks and early Canadian content, most of the selected books come from the Arkley Collection of Early and Historical Children’s Literature. The Arkley Collection, donated in 1976 by Stan T. Arkley, a member of UBC’s class of 1925, and his wife, Rose, comprises more than 12,000 Canadian, British, and American children’s books, serials, and manuscripts. The digitized collection contains only a small portion of the entire Arkley Collection, with potential for future growth. Among the chapbooks — small booklets containing stories or ballads aimed at the popular market and sold on the street by itinerant pedlars or “chapmen”— are a number of stories that many readers will recognize.

The first of these two versions of the Cinderella tale includes an “historical description of the cat”, for anyone who is otherwise unfamiliar with such exotic creatures.

The history of Cinderella, [1840]

Adventures of the beautiful little maid Cinderilla; or, the history of a glass slipper : to which is added, an historical description of the cat, [1825?]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also represented are somewhat lesser-known stories – such as this cautionary tale on the dangers of trying to please everyone …

Old man and his ass, [1840]

… and this collection of anecdotes where haggis regrettably appears but once.

The Scotch Haggis; a selection of choice bon mots, Irish blunders, repartees, anecdotes, &c, [between 1840 and 1857?]

In addition to children’s tales, the collection also contains instructional materials such as this 1885 speller.

Old aunt Elspa’s spelling, [1885]

To view these items and other treasures in the collection, please visit the Historical Children’s Literature Collection.

Since this April is National Poetry Month, we’ve gathered together selected poetry and related items from Open Collections for your enjoyment!

Our recently added Historical Children’s Literature Collection includes several poetry chapbooks. This chapbook, The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, includes beautiful engraved illustrations:

Roscoe, William. The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807.

 

Roscoe, William. The butterfly’s ball, and the grasshopper’s feast, 1807, p. 7.

 

Our BC Historical Books collection also contains several collections of poetry. Eric Duncan’s Rural rhymes and the sheep thief begins with the following disclaimer:

Duncan, Eric. Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896, p. 7.

 

Here’s the first page of the first poem from the book, “A mosquito song”:

Duncan, Eric. “A mosquito song”. From Rural rhymes and the sheep thief, 1896, p. 11.

 

If you’re interested in Japanese poetry, check out our One Hundred Poets collection. This collection contains 74 books and 20 different card sets relating to the poetry anthology Hyakunin Isshu 百人一首 (One Hundred Poets, One Poem Each). You can read more about the collection in this previous blog post.

[Kinoya Hisomaro ; illustrated by Utagawa Kunisada, Utagawa Kuniyoshi], [Nishikie chūiri hyakunin isshu], [1849].

 

You may also be interested in the utagaruta card sets within this collection. You can find them here, and check out our previous blog post to learn more about how this game is played.

[One hundred poets card sheets], [Meiji period [1868-1912]].

 

This month is a great time to seek out poetry readings. We found this photo of Allen Ginsberg reading at UBC in 1963:

UBC 1.1/11341-2. Holborne, Peter. Allen Ginsberg reading poetry at UBC. August 2nd, 1963. Allen Ginsberg reading poetry at UBC.

 

Finally, check out this adorable poem about a cat interrupting a game of croquet:

Playing croquet, 1875.

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