Children's Books

Edith Wetmore Collection

In the 1950s, Miss Edith Wetmore, of Newport, gave the Library her collection of some 1,850 early children’s books in 20 languages. Among the highlights of the collection are a 15th century manuscript written in Germany and illustrated with many small illustrations relating to the Bible, a unique copy of a Latin grammar printed in 1499, and the rare first edition, first issue, of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

During the same period Miss Wetmore also gave the Library a collection of some 400 illustrated books, a collection of books designed by Bruce Rogers and a collection of books printed at the Peter Pauper Press. The books designed by Bruce Rogers and the Peter Pauper Press books were added to the Updike Printing Collection. The collection of illustrated books is particularly strong in livres d’artistes, among which are books illustrated by Bonnard, Matisse, Picasso and Rouault, as well as others. Several of the books in this collection are beautifully bound. The collection also contains some fine examples of private press books printed by the Ashendene Press, the Golden Cockerell Press, the Cranach Presse of Weimar, Germany, and the Gregynog Press of Wales.