This first series features books from between the 1850s to 1881.
Books from between 1881 to 1904 will appear here later in the year.
Until the mid-18th century, children's books mainly consisted of moralistic or enlightening stories propagating the religious and ethical view that hard work and diligence determines a person's life. Little consideration was given to children's reading pleasure.
The focus in children's books gradually shifted from simple moral lessons to entertainment, with techniques of expression employed specifically for that purpose. Books carrying witty illustrations or exploring children's inner life also began to appear. The mid-19th century saw the development of girls' novels and narratives of family life.
This is part 7 of an 11-part series on children's books 1850s - 1881:
1878 My Mothers Picture Book:
1879 Merry Elves
published by Seeley, Jackson, & Halliday, London:
1879 The Children's Posy
published by Thomas Nelson & Sons, London, Edinburgh and New York:
Thomas Nelson is a publishing firm that began in West Bow, Edinburgh, Scotland in 1798 as the namesake of its founder. It is a subsidiary of Harper Collins, the publishing unit of News Corp. In Canada, the Nelson imprint is used for educational publishing. In the United Kingdom, it was a mainstream publisher until the late 20th century, and later became part of the educational imprint Nelson Thornes.
Thomas Nelson, Sr. founded the shop that bears his name in Edinburgh in 1798, originally as a second-hand bookshop. The firm became a publisher of new books and, as the 19th century progressed, it produced an increasingly wide range of non-religious materials; by 1881, religion accounted for less than 6% of the firm's output. In 1835 the shop became a company, first as Thomas Nelson & Son when William joined, and in 1839 became Thomas Nelson & Sons when Thomas Jr. entered the business.
William Nelson died in 1887, and Thomas Jr. died in 1892. They were succeeded by George Brown, Thomas’s nephew, who directed the company until Thomas III and Ian, Thomas Jr.'s sons, joined him and John Buchan as partners. Buchan, employed by the firm until 1929, dedicated his novel The Thirty Nine Steps to Thomas III (Thomas Arthur Nelson) in 1914.
1879 The Gem of All Picture Books
published by The American News Company, New York:
The American News Company was a magazine, newspaper, book, comic book, and postcard distribution company founded in New York City in 1864 by Sinclair Tousey (1818–1887). The company distributed exclusively through its national network of more than three hundred affiliated news agencies and dominated the distribution market in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. The company closed in 1957. In addition to distributing postcards, the company seems to have published and printed postcards as well and served as an intermediary for the publishing of postcards for smaller publishers. Most of the postcards were printed in Germany before the First World War and thereafter in America and France.