Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Children's Literature collection (18th-20th C.)


Cardiff University Library holds several collections related to children's literature, including book collections ranging from the 18th-20th century, a collection of Welsh children's journals, and a collection of children's comics.

The Victorian era Children's Literature collection is extensive. The late 19th century saw a new conception of childhood as a distinct age, with its own needs and interests, and consequently an increase in the number of books specifically dedicated to children. The collection contains a cross-section of children's literature in the 19th century, with a wide variety of rare illustrated books, booklets, and almanacs, by authors such as Randolph Caldecott, Kate Greenaway, Mary Howitt, and Mary Martha Sherwood.

Special Collections and Archives also holds a children's comics collection, which comprises sets of annuals of most of the comics published by Hulton Press, including Eagle, Girl, Dan Dare, and Swift. The Eagle was conceived by Reverend Marcus Morris (whose large, currently uncatalogued archive is also held), in order to compete with American comics. In cooperation with the artist Frank Hampson, he devised a magazine for boys, which comprised comic strips and articles, and sold the idea to Hulton Press, which published the first issue in 1950. The last issue was published in 1969, and then the magazine reappeared from 1982 to 1994 (issues of this latter version are also held). The collection also includes: annuals of Girl (1951-1964), Eagle's sister title aimed at girls; annuals of Swift (1954-1961), a junior companion to the Eagle; collected editions of Dan Dare, Eagle's leading character; issues of the Eagle Times, a journal published by the Eagle Society and dedicated to the memory of Eagle (the publishing date of the items held range from 1989-2008); and other items related to comic series.

The Salisbury collection includes a collection of Welsh children's journals, dating from the 19th-20th century. Holdings include almost complete sets of Cymru'r Plant, Trysorfa y Plant, Y Winllan, Antur, and Telyn y Plant.

Related to the collections is a modern 20th century children's literature collection, held in Cardiff University's Arts and Social Studies Library. The collection includes anthologies of children's literature and short story collections, and illustrated books by British authors, including Arthur Ransome, Charles Hamilton, and J. R. R. Tolkien. Particularly noteworthy is a section of folk and fairy tales books, which includes collections by Andrew Lang and Ruth Manning-Sanders.

Date range: Victorian children's literature collection: 19th-20th century, plus some items from the Cardiff Rare Books from the late 17th century. Welsh children’s journals: 19th-20th century. Children's comics: 20th century.

Significance: Significant in Wales and the United Kingdom.

Size: Victorian children’s literature collection: c. 900 volumes. Welsh children’s journals: c. 300 items. Children’s comics: c. 50 collected volumes. 20th century children's literature collection: c. 1200 volumes.

Languages: English, Welsh.

Keywords: Children's literature, Victorian period, children's books, children's comics, children's magazines, British comics, illustrated books, Wales.

Notes: The Victorian era children's collection was deposited by Cardiff Public Library with the University in the 1980s.