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Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books is one of the world’s foremost historical collections of English-language children’s literature. Located in the Lillian H. Smith branch, the Osborne Collection holds over 80,000 items, including manuscripts, books, book-related art, archives, ephemera and book-related games.
Our collection ranges from a 14th-century manuscript of Aesop’s Fables through medieval books of manners, moral tales of the Puritan era, 18th-century chapbooks and hornbooks to Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure, and school stories up to 1910. We also collect modern notable books published after 1910.
The Canadiana collection of books, including early manuscripts of children’s picture books
Unique items, including:
Florence Nightingale’s childhood books
Queen Mary’s collection of royal children’s books
The Pettingell Collection of Periodicals and Penny Dreadfuls
Original manuscripts by H.G. Wells, Walter Crane, Catharine Parr Traill (who wrote the first home-grown Canadian children’s novel), Susan Cooper, Brian Doyle, Kenneth Oppel, Art Slade and other notable authors.