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Children’s literature

The Children’s Literature collection consists of more than 1,600 volumes, spanning from 1797 to the present. It contains 19th-century moral instruction stories, science books for children, general fiction and biographical stories. Most of the material is in English, but there are also books in German and French (see inventories of these below). The selection of late 20th-century pop-up books show the change in perception of the importance of the paper engineer's contribution to the finished work.

Many of the books in the collection are noteworthy for their illustrations, such as those by Arthur Rackham, Peter Spier, Beatrix Potter, Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Boutet de Monvel and the winners of the Randolph Caldecott Medal. Other books are winners of the John Newbery Medal, awarded annually since 1922 for excellence in writing for children.

The Children’s Literature collection began in 1944 with a donation by Rosemary Vincent Shaw, class of 1922, who was a librarian in New York City. It was considerably augmented by the gift from Fanny Reed Hammond of her son's books. The Hammond family has had a long-standing association with Mount Holyoke College. William Churchill Hammond Sr. was professor of music 1891 – 1936, and their son, William Churchill Hammond Jr., served as a trustee from 1951 – 1961.