Okay, before I add another I-am-overwhelmed-and-so-happy syllable, here’s the direct link to this treasure trove of 6,000 historical children’s books for free.
I looked up Howard Pyle first of all. I have Pepper and Salt in hardcover, but there’s something about seeing this 1885 book digitized and available from cover to cover that’s really quite wonderful.
They even included the spine!
“We can learn much about how a historical period viewed the abilities of its children by studying its children’s literature,” says the Open Culture article that brought all this to my attention (a couple years late, though it’s always possible I read this and subsequently forgot).
It’s the University of Florida’s Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature that’s responsible for the over 6,000 digitized mid- to late 19th century titles.
Let’s just glimpse inside this one, shall we? It’s a crisp, clear layout with a couple different ways to flip through the pages.
I decided to look up guinea pigs, but my goodness!
This is from “Lays For Little Ones.” I’m not quite sure if I want to know what’s really going on. . .
However, it’s not lost on me that there is a snail in this picture. It just goes to show that snails and guinea pigs have an unexpected connection beyond my own books!
Here’s the main link again. You can filter by publisher, publication date, genre, topic, geographic area, and language.