Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): Children's Literature and Childhood

Carroll, Lewis, and Mabel Lucie Attwell. Alice in Wonderland: by Lewis Carroll; Pictured by Mabel Lucie Attwell. London; Paris; Berlin; New York; Montreal: Raphael Tuck & Sons, Ltd., [1910?]. Nineteenth Century Collections Online.
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Explore children's literature from around the world during the nineteenth century

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Children’s Literature and Childhood documents the growth of children’s literature during the nineteenth century and provides legal and sociological texts to contextualize this growth. Included are texts from Europe, Asia, and North America. In its focus and range, this collection opens an array of compelling subjects for research and teaching. Social, moral, economic, and political questions are reflected in children’s literature universally, making it a particularly rich trove for academic study. Additionally, intricate illustrations and children’s book texts from North Africa are included, as well as full-text, fully searchable content from a broad range of primary sources.

Multidisciplinary in nature, Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Children’s Literature and Childhood provides insights into societal values, interests, and education of the nineteenth century and supports the growing academic interest in this time period. Among the many topics included are:

  • immigrant children
  • racial and gender socialization
  • myths of childhood
  • children and religion
  • the changeling in Victorian literature of childhood
  • fairy tales and realism
  • conception of childhood
  • acculturation of children
  • death in children’s fiction

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: Children’s Literature and Childhood includes content from archives and university, public, and national libraries, having been developed for use at academic and research libraries. Included is content from the U.K. National Archives, which features material on child welfare and reform, education, juvenile health, and juvenile crime and detention; the British Library, which includes monographs related to education as well as fiction and a selection of periodicals for children; and the Hine Collection of photographs, which depict child labor in America. We continue to work with the University of Florida, the American Antiquarian Society, and others to provide a full picture of nineteenth-century children’s literature and the social construction of children worldwide.

Collections in this Archive

  • Childhood in the Nineteenth Century: Records from the Home Office
  • Child Welfare and Reform: Records from the Ministry of Health and Department of Health and Social Security
  • Education in the Nineteenth Century: Records from the Department of Education and Science
  • Growing Up in America: Children’s Literature of Immigrant Communities
  • The History of Education: Education and Social Issues
  • The History of Education: Education of the Handicapped
  • The History of Education: Psychology
  • Juvenile Crime and Detention: Records from the Prison Commission
  • Juvenile Journalists: Selected Amateur Newspapers
  • Learning and Leisure: A Selection of Children's Literature from the British Library
  • Selected Titles from the Children’s Collection at the American Antiquarian Society
  • Selections from the Baldwin Library Collection of Historical Children’s Literature

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Additional Details

Subjects Covered
  • English Language and Literature Studies
  • Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
  • English
  • Social Studies
  • Liberal Studies
  • Sociology

Brochure [PDF]

Advisory Board

Nineteenth Century Collections Online has been crafted with the expert guidance of an international advisory board in order to ensure the program fulfills the needs of students, professors, and researchers.

Advisory Brochure [PDF]

Term Frequency

Researchers can now easily see the frequency of search terms within sets of content to begin identifying central themes and assessing how individuals, events, and ideas interacted and developed over time.

Term Clusters

By grouping commonly occurring themes, this tool reveals hidden connections to search terms — helping scholars shape their research and integrate diverse content with relevant information.


Integrate content from complementary primary source products in one intuitive environment to enable users to make never-before-possible research connections.

Reviews & Testimonials

“The British Library is delighted to be partnering with Gale Cengage Learning to provide access to some of our rare and unique holdings from the 19th Century via the innovative Nineteenth Century Collections Online platform. NCCO's options for search and navigation through rich content from many libraries and archives opens up some of our vast collections in ways never possible before.”

Simon Bell, head of strategic partnerships and licensing, the British Library

“The ranges of sources of all this material boggled my mind. Yes, some of it is from mainstream publications, but so much of it was from rare, hard-to-find sources that I gained an appreciation for the time and effort it's taken to assemble these vast digitized collections.”

Library Journal

“The scope of this digitization project makes it a significant research resource for both scholars and undergraduates. There are several benefits to this scope: the sheer size of the collections; the geographic range including comparative materials from various cultures; and the variety of types of documents including a significant amount of unpublished material . . . . The new platform tools developed for NCCO are impressive and should be useful to scholars as well as students. These include the browse features for 'Exploring Collections,' the search within results features, text analysis tools, and sophisticated image viewing tools.”

eDesiderata, Center for Research Libraries

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