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The International Library of Children's Literature, a library specialized in children’s books, collects and preserves children's books published in Japan, as well as a wide range of works from abroad, including ones now regarded as classics.

One of the ILCL's special collections is the Winnington-Ingram Collection of Children's Books comprising works of children's literature of Great Britain from the 18th to 20th centuries.

Drawing on this Collection, this exhibition presents books representative of the 19th century, at the dawn of modern children's literature, to explore the origins of contemporary children's books.

This exhibition is a slightly rearranged digital version of the small exhibition held under the same title from October 5 to December 25, 2011, in the ILCL hall. This online exhibition is accessible to anyone anywhere in the world. We have taken special care to enable visitors to enjoy the contents of as many books as possible. Some of the exhibits are fully digitalized and viewable online, and additional information is provided on books that can be consulted cover-to-cover in the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL) or the Internet Archive

Let yourself be enchanted by the imaginary universe of children's books of the Victorian era, at the dawn of children's literature.

About this Exhibition

The Winnington-Ingram Collection of Children's Books comprises 1,157 children's books published from the 18th to 20th centuries. The Collection was initiated by the Venerable Edward Henry Winnington-Ingram, Canon Residentiary and Archdeacon of Hereford Cathedral, England, on the theme of Victorian moral and spiritual values.

Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901 is called the Victorian era. During this period, the British Empire dominated the world in political, economic and cultural realms on the strength of its prosperity brought about by the Industrial Revolution. The Victorian era bore witness to urbanization and industrialization, which largely modified the social environment surrounding children. At the same time, materialism and advances in science and technology unsettled traditional religious and ethical views.

Children's books were popularized during the Victorian era as part of the Sunday School Movement, which involved, among other activities, distributing pamphlets carrying moralistic stories written in simple English for the purpose of imparting knowledge of the Bible to children from poor families. As educational opportunities increased and spread, enabling children to choose books to read on their own, “entertaining and useful" stories gradually took over, giving birth to various literary genres responding to young readers' wider interests. At the same time, advances in printing techniques revolutionized illustrations of children's books and other aspects.

Modern children's literature was at its dawn in the Victorian era, with the turbulent shift toward modernization greatly influencing society as well as people's minds.


Year Events in Great Britain Cf. events in Japan
  Late 18th century Sunday School Movement commences  
1825 The world's first railway completed  
1833 Oxford Movement commences within the Church of England, aiming for faith revival and church reforms  
Slavery abolished within the British Empire  
Reign of Queen Victoria 1837 Queen Victoria enthroned  
1838 Chartism commences, with the working class demanding universal suffrage  
1840 First Anglo-Chinese War breaks out  
1850 Public Libraries Act enacted  
1851 The Great Exhibition held in Hyde Park, London  
    1853 Commodore Perry visits
1859 Evolution theory published in On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin  
1865 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  
    1868 Meiji Restoration
1870 The Elementary Education Act enacted (start of public education)  
1875 British government acquires controlling rights to the Suez Canal  
1877 India incorporated into the British Empire (title "Empress of India" given to Queen Victoria)  
1883 Treasure Island by R. L. Stevenson  
1884 Suffrage extended to farmers and coal miners  
1886 Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances H. Burnett  
    1894-1895 First Sino-Japanese War
1901 Death of Queen Victoria  

About the Winnington-Ingram Collection of Children's Books

The core of the Winnington-Ingram Collection is made up of children's books that the Venerable Edward Henry Winnington-Ingram, Canon Residentiary and Archdeacon of Hereford Cathedral in England, collected on the basis of their conformity with the moral and spiritual values of the Victorian era (period corresponding to Queen Victoria's reign from 1837 to 1901).

After he passed away, the Venerable Winnington-Ingram's daughter, Constance, inherited the Collection and expanded it by including classic children's books and picture books. Constance having worked as Vice President at Cheltenham Ladies' College, the Collection was later donated to Cheltenham Gloucester College, which added some materials while retaining it until 1994.

In 1996, the National Diet Library purchased the Collection in preparation for the opening of the International Library of Children's Literature. It is now one of the Library's special collections.

The Winnington-Ingram Collection contains a broad range of children's books: works by John Newbery, who was the first to publish books for children in 18th-century Great Britain, considered the birthplace of children's literature; English translations of stories by the Brothers Grimm and Andersen; representative 19th-century authors' works including fairytales, fantasies as exemplified by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, girls' novels, adventure stories and so forth, which largely expanded children's literary pleasures.

The Winnington-Ingram Collection, including additions made during the period Constance, held the collection and later, enables us to trace the evolution of modern children's literature in Great Britain from the 18th century to the early 20th century.

Who is the Venerable Edward Henry Winnington-Ingram?

 Venerable Edward Henry Winnington-Ingram (1849-1930)

The Venerable Edward Henry Winnington-Ingram was born on March 13, 1849, to the Reverend Edward Winnington-Ingram and Maria Louisa Pepys. He graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge University. From 1876 he served in several posts including Rector at Ribbesford, Worcestershire, England. In 1917, he was appointed to the office of Canon Residentiary at Hereford Cathedral.

In 1880, Constance Maud Winnington-Ingram (1880-1972) was born to the Venerable Winnington-Ingram and his first wife Elizabeth Ruscombe John-Anstice.

In 1898, the Venerable Winnington-Ingram was married to his second wife, Harriet Anne Bernard. He died on April 27, 1930 at the age of 81.

(Data: Burke’s peerage, baronetage & knightage: clan chiefs, Scottish feudal barons / editor-in-chief, Charles Mosley. 107th ed. Burke’s Peerage & Gentry, ©2003)