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"This is a uniquely important collection of historical children's books...."
--Charles, Prince of Wales
In 1944, researchers Peter and Iona Opie began a book collection to augment their now-famous studies in children's literature and lore. (The most famous of their works, perhaps, is The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book.) Even the most prestigious research centers in England lacked a comprehensive collection.
Over the next 40 years, the collection grew to an astonishing 20,000 titles. Upon Peter's sudden death in 1982, Iona began to seek a permanent home for the books. A national appeal led by Prince Charles successfully raised the necessary £500,000, half the collection's appraised value, for purchase by the Bodleian Library in Oxford. (Mrs. Opie donated half the value.)
Now UMI® brings The Opie Collection of Children's Literature on microfiche to scholars everywhere. Organized into units by book type, the collection is particularly valuable to students of literature, history, developmental psychology, linguistics, sociology, early childhood education, and related disciplines. Bibliographic access is provided for each unit, and a cumulative index is planned upon completion of the collection.
The collection preserves nearly 1,100 chapbooks, battledores (two or three-page primers), and card-covered toy books; 4,000 comics, children's magazines, and penny dreadfuls (Victorian serials for children); and 12,000 bound volumes of children's stories and nursery rhymes, books on games and amusements, picture books, movable books, reversible books, rag books, miniatures, and other items.
Some 800 titles included were published before 1800. Among the many rare titles included are:
This internationally acclaimed resource is one of the most prestigious collections of its kind.
The collection is available in 59 units; each unit can be sold separately. The units cover the following topics: