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The Osborne Collection encompasses the development of English-language children's literature, ranging from a 14 th -century manuscript of Aesop's fables through 15 th -century traditional tales, 16 th -century school texts and courtesy books, Puritan works, 18 th -century chapbooks, moral tales and rational recreations, Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure and school stories, up to 1910 the end of the Edwardian era. The Collection is enriched with the Lillian H. Smith Collection of modern notable English-language books and with Canadiana materials that together illustrate the links between the early and modern books, and provide a rich resource of our vibrant Canadian heritage, preserved for future generations. From the initial gift of 2,000 books, donated by British librarian Edgar Osborne in 1949, the Osborne Collection has grown, through purchase and the generosity of many donors, to 70,000 items. The Collection now includes book-related art and games, archives, and ephemera and draws visitors and researchers from around the world. Since 1966, the Friends of the Osborne and Lillian H. Smith Collections have supported the Collection through publications, lectures and fundraising for special projects and important works the library could not otherwise acquire. Introduction to Movables If you turn up the folds of this magical book, And at its strange pictures attentively look, You will conjure odd scenes which you ne'er saw before, And which at each turn will amuse more and more. Transforming Performers , Dean and Son, . The history of movable books for children dates from the mid-18 th century, but movable features are known to have been used in adult books and prints reaching back five centuries earlier. Books of astronomy, for example, have used rotating disks to illustrate changing night skies since the 14 th -century. Perhaps the greatest encouragement to the development of movable books for children occurred through changing attitudes about learning through amusement and play, a trend encouraged from the 18 th -century. The movement towards entertaining literary fare for children is reflected in the evolution of the movable book, from simple lift-the-flaps to creations as sophisticated as the technology and markets of the day allowed. The books exhibited in this display are arranged by date, and include many of the names and publishing houses that figure prominently in movable book history. Some of the modern items, recently acquired, have been carefully preserved from their year of publication. Some of the older books have fared less well through the years. When looking at these worn treasures, one is reminded that children once owned and played with them, and did not always pay attention to the many pleas for gentle handling the books contain. This exhibit and its accompanying catalogue have been made possible through the generous support of the Donner Canadian Foundation, and are dedicated to its Director, Mr. Allan Gotlieb. We are deeply grateful for this grant that enables us both to meet the needs of our research community, and to provide pleasure and excitement to all, including the very youngest visitors.
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