About the Images

The homepage banner rotation features images selected from the University Library System’s Special Collections Department, including the Nesbitt and Darlington Collections

Alice in Wonderland

By Lewis Carroll, with illustrations by John Tenniel. New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1866.
PR4611 .A4 1866b
Darlington Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections, page 91

Lewis Carroll’s groundbreaking story continues to delight and engage.  Alice offered a female main character in stark contrast with those of the time period--aggressive, inquisitive, and undaunted by the sometimes harsh and ridiculous behaviors of those around her. Though the works are often illustrated, the girl and the Wonderland created by Sir John Tenniel remain definitive, influencing artists into the present day.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

By Robert Browning, illustrated by Kate Greenaway. London and New York: George Routledge and Sons, 1888.
821.8 B885 pg
Nesbitt Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections, page 62

Kate Greenaway’s lyrical images of children in pastoral settings caused a great sensation in their day.  Working with acclaimed engraver Edmund Evans, her first effort, Under the Window, quickly sold out the 20,000 book run. In addition to selling a phenomenal number of books and almanacs, her throwback Regency garb became so popular that the French termed it “Greenwayisme”—an example of Britain setting a fashion trend!

The Travels of Babar

Jean de Brunhoff; translated from the French by Merle S. Haas. New York: Random House, 1934.  
PZ7 >B828428 Tr 1934 
Nesbitt Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections, page 47

French painter Jean de Brunhoff created the world of Babar from a little bedtime story his wife told to their young sons. Debuting in 1931 to an enthusiastic reception, it was quickly followed by a half-dozen tales.  Sadly, de Brunhoff died of typhoid at 37 and only after World War II did son Laurent de Brunhoff resume writing and illustrating.  Interestingly, Babar is one of a handful of adult main characters. The books have been animated, merchandized, and translated into many languages.

The Other Side

By Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E. B. Lewis. New York: Putnam’s, 2001.

This simple and powerful picture book about segregation in pre-Civil Rights American makes ingenious use of book construction.  Simple text and beautiful watercolors, combined with artful use of the book’s gutter, together create a poignant story of childhood, friendship, amid real and perceived barriers.

Tom, the Piper's Son

[London]: March, 12, Webber Street, [between 1849 and 1868]
dPZ6 .T592 1849z

Nesbitt Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections "And caused the sleepy pigs…" [Front cover]

This hand-colored English chapbook depicts a well-known 19th century nursery rhyme about a mischievous piper.  Representative of a great many chapbooks, this publication consists of a single folded page, was cheaply produced, and designed in both topic and dimension to appeal to children.

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth. New York: Scribners, 1981.
PZ7.S8482Tr 1981
Nesbitt Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections "All day he hung…" (unnumbered plate after page 2)

A pupil of Howard Pyle, another revered children’s book illustrator, N.C. Wyeth was a talented artist known also for his portraits and landscapes, popular advertisements, posters, and magazine illustrations.  He is most known, however, for his work in children’s book illustration, a career launched in 1911 with the masterful Treasure Island.

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth. New York: Scribners, 1981.

Sing a Song for Sixpence

By Randolph Caldecott. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1860.

The Queen of Hearts, page 14 In 1877, when visionary engraver Edmund Evans teamed up with Royal Academy member Randolph Caldecott, the world of children’s books was forever changed. Caldecott is credited by many as ushering in the age of the modern picture book. As Maurice Sendak eloquently expressed, Caldecott “devised an ingenious juxtaposition of picture and word, a counterpoint that never happened before.  Words are left out—but the picture says it.  Pictures are left out—but the word says it.”

Sing a Song for Sixpence

By Randolph Caldecott. London: George Routledge and Sons, 1860. 

The girl taking tea.

Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

By J. M. Barrie with illustrations by Arthur Rackham. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906
PR4076 P47 1906
Nesbitt Collection, Hillman Library Special Collections

Arthur Rackham, a celebrated artist of the Golden Age of British Book Illustration (roughly 1900 to the advent of World War I), created a lavish nuanced technique that utilized advancements in printing technology. He used multiple media in succession: sketching and blocking in pencil, moving on to india ink, then applying layers of color until the desired saturation of pigment was achieved.  Often employing a muted palette, his renderings were sublimely imaginative, ranging from the whimsically ethereal to the darkly fantastic. His remains popular, captivating new generations of admirers, including

Guillermo del Toro who cites Rackham as the inspiration for The Faun Pan's Labyrinth and what he informally calls "The Rackham Tree" in Hellboy.