University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Cambridge > "Containing Chaos: Curating the Historical Children's Books at the Cotsen Children's Library."

"Containing Chaos: Curating the Historical Children's Books at the Cotsen Children's Library."

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Abstract

The Cotsen Children’s Library at Princeton University is a major historical collection of rare illustrated children’s books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the 15th century to the present day in over thirty languages. The collection has important holdings of materials in the English, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, and Russian languages. Among the collection’s treasures are an early-Coptic Christian schoolbook; medieval manuscripts; two scrapbooks assembled by Hans Christian Andersen; drawings by Edward Lear, K. F. E. Freyhold, and Samuil Marshak; many of Beatrix Potter’s famous picture letters; early editions of the fairy tales of Madame d’Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, and the brothers Grimm; one of the largest collections of children’s books published by John Newbery and his successors; Soviet Constructivist children’s books; American dime novels, moveable books; jigsaw puzzles; and educational playing cards. The talk will provide an informal introduction to some of the jewels in the collection and will reflect on the delights and challenges of curating some of the world’s most precious early children’s books and toys.

Bio

Andrea Immel is the Curator of the Cotsen Children’s Library and a leading specialist in early children’s literature. She has published numerous books and articles on the subject, including, most recently, Childhood and Children’s Books in Early Modern Europe, 1550-1800 (2013) and The Cambridge Companion to Children’s Literature (2010). At the Cotsen, Andrea organizes academic programs and exhibitions, acquires new materials, oversees the unit’s publications, and assists scholars doing research in the Cotsen collection. Andrea received her Ph.D. from the Department of English at University of California, Los Angeles, with a specialization in 18th-century English Literature. She earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature at Occidental College (Los Angeles), and an MLS degree with a specialty in Rare Book Librarianship from Columbia University’s School of Library Service. Andrea has worked at the Huntington Library in San Marino, CA; the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York; and the Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK. She was personal librarian to Lloyd E. Cotsen before moving with his collection to Princeton.

This talk is part of the Centre for Research in Children's Literature at Cambridge series.

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