The AAS children’s literature collection includes over 24,000 titles, and is appropriately described as a comprehensive—indeed, the best—collection of books and pamphlets published for children and youth in British North America and the United States from the seventeenth century through 1900.
Although founder Isaiah Thomas printed many books for children, by the time Librarian Clarence S. Brigham arrived at the Society in 1908 only a few examples were extant at AAS. Thanks to Brigham’s tenacity, the children’s literature collection became world-class. Aiding him were a number of dedicated and astute collectors. They included Wilbur Macey Stone, James d’Alté A. Welch, Ruth E. Adomeit, Elisabeth Ball, and Herbert Hosmer. Brigham was also ably assisted by the bookman Benjamin Tighe.
These individuals often used the library for bibliographic research, occasionally funded major acquisitions, and generally supported the new field of study surrounding juvenile publishing. Stone wrote to Brigham after a research visit to Worcester, “It is always a great pleasure to sit in with you and talk about old juveniles etc. It is also very pleasing to me to see the Antiquarian Society so very much alive.”