About the Exhibit
childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers
Pluck’d in a far-off land.
These lines conclude Lewis Carroll’s introductory poem to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and describe Carroll’s vision of children’s literature: it is the stuff that dreams are made of, making childhood magical and reminding adults of forgotten mysteries. Such was not always the view of children’s literature, and the exhibit of children's literature from the Victorian era, drawn from the collection of historical children’s literature in the Tampa Library's Special & Digital Collections, charts the varieties of reading material available to young people during the 19th century. The titles exhibited here range from religious tracts and school books to fairy tales and penny dreadfuls. Click on each image to see a larger version.