The special collections contain many historical children's books as well as a other material relevant to the history of childhood and education. The Library is especially celebrated for its holdings of 18th and 19th-century chapbooks (cheap, popular pamphlets sold by itinerant traders, and often used by children). Most of these are to be found in the internationally important Robert White Collection.
The Wallis Collection contains material designed for the instruction of children. The Crawhall Collection include items such as the children's ABC books which were illustrated with woodcuts by Joseph Crawhall. The important Bradshaw-Bewick Collection contains several books designed for children and illustrated with woodcuts by Thomas Bewick, the Newcastle-based master of the wood-engraving.
The Library also holds a remarkable collection of old school libraries, built up by schools in the north of England since the sixteenth century.
The Butler Collection, created by Marty Thwaite and Joan Butler, both librarians for Hertfordshire Library services, was jointly acquired by the University Library and Seven Stories: the National Centre for the Children's Book, and is held in the University's Robinson Library. It contains an enormous variety of children's books, and books about children's books, dating from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries.
Find out more about the children's literature special collections at the University Library website.
Since the 1970s, most UK publishers have sent copies of every children's book they publish to Booktrust, so that these books may be inspected and researched by the public. The Booktrust Collection is now housed in Newcastle University Library.
The University Library also houses some of the archive accumulated by Seven Stories: the National Centre for the Children's Book, Newcastle's nationally important centre for children's books. Since 1997, Seven Stories: the National Centre for the Children's Book has been forming a collection of manuscripts and artwork by British writers and illustrators for children, from the period 1945 to the present day. This is the first time that any UK institution has set out systematically to collect this work. Find out more at the Seven Stories: the National Centre for the Children's Book website.
The Hockliffe Project was established by Dr Matthew Grenby, now in the Children's Literature Unit in Newcastle University's School of English. The Project was centred around the Hockliffe Collection of early British children's books held by De Montfort University. The Hockliffe Project website is a major resource for the study of early children's literature, providing full digitised images of many pre-1840 texts along with bibliographical, contextual and critical essays.
The Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne holds substantial collections of both historical and modern children's books. More information can be found at Lit and Phil website.
Read about other Newcastle University facilities and resources.