Rees-Williams Collection of Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian Children's Books

Scope and Content

The York St John University collection of historic children's books consists of over 3000 volumes dating from c1780 to the 1920s.

The collection includes well-known 'classics' of children's literature, as well as a wide spectrum of adventure yarns, improving tales, annuals and now long-forgotten stories. The majority of books are children's fiction, however, a number are early text books, as well as fables and fairy tales, adventure yarns, nursery stories, religious and instructive works, annuals, and historical and biographical books. They represent a wide ranging picture of the writing for children in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

There are many well-known authors included in the collection including Mrs Molesworth, Mrs Sherwood, Lewis Carroll, J. M. Barrie, Charles Kingsley, Jules Verne, Robert Ballantyne, W. H. G. Kingston, Charlotte Yonge, Hesba Stretton, and G. A. Henty. Most of the books have decorated covers, are attractively bound and contain illustrations by artists, including the illustrations of Arthur Rackham, Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway and Walter Crane. They in generally very good condition, and retain their original colours.

Administrative / Biographical History

Collected by James Rees-Williams, a former St John's College Librarian in the 1970s.

Conditions Governing Access

Reference access upon request.

Other Finding Aids

All items are catalogued and searchable in the Library's catalogue:

York St John University Library Catalogue - Rees-Williams Collection

The University has published a content warning and position statement on the collection which is available on their website:

Content warning and position statement

Appraisal Information

Arrangement is as follows:

  • STORIES 1
  • STORIES 2
  • STORIES 3
  • STORIES 4
  • POETRY
  • HISTORY
  • MYTHS
  • INSTRUCTION
  • SCIENCE
  • ANNUALS