The Cotsen Children's Library

The Cotsen Children's Library is a unit within the Department of Special Collections at the Princeton University Library, focusing on the print, visual, and material cultures of childhood from the 15th century to the present day.

Our Historical Collection of Rare Children's Books

The Cotsen Children's Library is a major research collection of rare illustrated children's books, manuscripts, ephemera, writing books, games, maps, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the 15th century to the present day in over forty languages. The collection has major holdings of materials in the English, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Russian, Scandinavian languages. Also represented are Albanian, Arabic, Korean, and North American indigenous languages.

Cotsen Collection Highlights

Highlights of the Cotsen collections include: an early-Coptic Christian schoolbook; medieval manuscripts; incunables; two scrapbooks assembled by Hans Christian Andersen; drawings by Edward Lear, K. F. E. Freyhold, and Samuil Marshak; many of Beatrix Potter's famous picture letters; early editions of the fairy tales of Madame d'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, and the brothers Grimm; one of the largest collections of children's books published by John Newbery and his successors; Soviet Constructivist children's books; American dime novels; moveable books; jigsaw puzzles; and educational playing cards.

Cotsen Library was founded through the benefaction of children's book collector Lloyd E. Cotsen Princeton class of '50, charter trustee emeritus.

Cotsen Virtual Exhibitions

In addition to Cotsen collections available as part of Princeton's Digital Library itself, Cotsen's Virtual Exhibitions showcase additional illustrative and graphic materials, for instance: Tigers, Kites, Pere Castor's activity books, Leo Politi's Los Angeles, Beatrix Potter, and other other wonderfully visual items.