Alphabets, Bedtime Stories, and Cautionary Tales: Children’s Books and the Shaping of American Identity

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The 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the emergence in England and America of new attitudes toward children and education at the same time that America was casting off its royal authority. The result was a booming market of print materials that, for the first time, contained text and illustrations geared toward a young audience. This exhibition draws from Pequot Library’s extraordinary Children’s Historical Collection to explore how children’s books published in the years following American independence reflect the changing political, economic, and social climate of the young nation.

This exhibition will run from Feb. 18th to May 6th, 2023.

Related events:

Opening Reception: Saturday, February 18 at 3:00 p.m.
Featured speaker: Cecily Dyer, Special Collections Librarian

Bedtime Stories with Children’s Librarian Jane Manners (Zoom), Feb. 22 at 6:30 p.m.

Lecture | Prudence Crandall: Race and Reform in Early Connecticut, Feb. 23 at 6:30 p.m.

The New England Primer | A Conversation with Dr. Kyle Roberts and Laura Wasowicz, March 30 at 5:30 p.m.

Debate and Controversy: Youth Literature in the Twenty-first Century, April 13 at 6:00 p.m.


This exhibition programming is supported by the Connecticut Humanities.


February 18 @ 10:00 am
May 6 @ 6:00 pm
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720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT 06890 United States
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Room Location
Perkin Gallery