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 be on view 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.

Take Heed! Writing Contest, March 15 to April 15

The ABCs of Your World 2023, March 1 through May 6

The Words and Ideas of Noah Webster: A Conversation with the Noah Webster House & Joshua Crandall, March 9 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.

Teens Take Over the Exhibition for April Fool’s Day, March 24, 4 to 6 p.m.

Meet the Author, Jr. | Jerry Pallotta, April 3 at 5 p.m.

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

Make Your Own Chutes and Ladders | Game On, May 20 at 6 p.m.


This exhibition programming is supported by the Connecticut Humanities.

All Pequot Library programs take place in person unless otherwise noted.


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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(203) 259-0346


Room Location
Perkin Gallery