Monday, March 19, 2012

COLLECTION #188: Vintage Childcraft Books

We had these wonderful Childcraft books in our home when I was a child. Our family's edition were either the 1949 or 1954 books, which look much like the earlier 1940s editions, but inside are much different. (The major revisions to the books seems to have occurred between the 1947 and 1949 editions).  My brother (who is a rat, a thief, a great guy), has our family books. I am left to scrounge around for individual volumes that I've picked up through the years at thrift stores and flea markets.

These "orange cover" books, seem to be the coveted editions, although my research hasn't led me to which of these copyright years is the most desirable. I suppose it is the ones you like the best! I have several of all of the editions, and two different editions of volume 6. The copyright dates of these 'orange' books are 1942, 1947, 1949, and 1954.

I LOVED these books as a child. I pored through each one until I'm sure the print was entirely rubbed off. (I slightly exaggerate), but the illustrations are burned into my memory in many happy ways.  I have to laugh... one story I loved to death, was Peter Rabbit.  I don't recall reading the original Beatrix Potter book as a child. When I started collecting her books in my twenties, the illustrations were only vaguely familiar. But when I looked at the Peter Rabbit story in my Childcraft book, the illustrations brought back a flood of memories! I thought I'd add it here, to show you how scary Old Mr. MacGregor was!

The earliest Childcraft books had twelve volumes, of which 9 were instructional and 4 were parent guides;  the later editions had 15 volumes.  There were also two oversized volumes: one on art and music, and the other on science and industry.

The oversized Art and Music, and Science and Industry books
An illustration from the Art and Music volume

Here are some further photos of these wonderful books!

This is one of those illustrations that brings back so many memories! I loved these illustrations!

This is the title page of my 1954 Volume 5, Life in Many Lands. It's the one I remember best.

These are the endpapers of the same volume 5 from 1947, but it is called Our Own Country and Foreign Lands

One of my favorite stories, Locked In, by Elizabeth Enright from Thimble Summer.

An example of the earlier, more simple illustrations from the 1947 edition.


Angela said...

I remember these books, we had some as a kid and I loved looking at them, then as we were a little order we had a more modern set but they were not as fun as the set of my mom's

Lorri said...

We had these too, my Mom may still have them. Drooling over them! :)

David Howard said...

I too grew up with these! I esp. loved vols 1 and 2, and used them with our daughters, hour after hour.

I'm looking to purchase two copies of vols. 1 and 2. Any ideas of where I can get them? Nothing as of now on Amazon or eBay.


Goldielover said...

My cousins had these, and I remember reading them when I was there on sleepovers. We had a different set by another publisher at home - Child Horizons, which I also spent many happy hours with. I managed to find a nice set of those on eBay last year at a very good price, too.

Anonymous said...

We had these at home too and I think my favorite was in the one above about life in many lands. My favorite story was "Darling Diliky Daliky Dinah." I would love to find these books.

cattfrancisco said...

We had these books at my house, too! I loved them! I remember this poem:

Once there was an elephant,
Who tried to use the telephant—
No! no! I mean an elephone
Who tried to use the telephone—
(Dear me! I am not certain quite
That even now I've got it right.)
Howe'er it was, he got his trunk
Entangled in the telephunk;
The more he tried to get it free,
The louder buzzed the telephee—
(I fear I'd better drop the song
Of elephop and telephong!)

and my second favorite poem was
"The Highwayman"

Diana said...

I still have a complete set of Childcraft books--#1-#15, and the supplement. I loved them as a child and love them still. The Highwayman was also a favorite of mine, along with Darling Diliky Dalikey Dinah, Nanette at the Chateau and so many others.
Just finished looking at them and had to look up some info on them when I found this site! Thank you.

rita said...

Thank you for the info and pictures. I think the set I grew up with was early 1960s. I adored these books, especially the stories and poems. Now I'm on a search for a set of the right vintage.

Paul & Carla said...

Another here who grew up with this late 40s set. Actually so did my husband, but neither of our mothers kept the set for some reason. When we had our own children in the late 70s we had a book dealer to find a set for us. Unfortunately that lovely first volume had been changed out for an earlier one with the same orange cover, but the poems and pictures were not the same and didn't match the rest of the (correct) books. Still, we loved them all over again. said...


I am looking for the poem of the couple that were in love and death came to them. It was in the book 3 of poems in the orange set. My sister had the books but got rid of them. Can you help.


Stefanie Eskander said...

Hi Debbie: Unfortunately my Childcraft books are currently in storage, and so I can't help you find the poem you are looking for. Perhaps you'll find someone else who has the volume you are looking for.

crabs4me said...

I just located it
Volume 2
The Highwayman by Alfred Noyes

Dale said...

I have a full set of the 1947 edition. No one in my family seems to be interested in them and I can't take them with me, so they are full sale. Condition is Good to Very Good.

Anonymous said...

I had just started thinking about selling my childhood set which is in great condition. I may reconsider and keep them at least a while longer. My 95 year old mom remembers when they bought them for us but of course cannot remember what they paid. Too bad. I was so lucky to have had them. And my kids were lucky too.

Anonymous said...

I'm nearly in tears looking at the page with the short poems on. I grew up in the 60's (England) and our volumes I think were cream and red, so probably later than yours. I loved them - there were also volumes intended I think for parents on 'child development and psychology' I learned a lot from those! My younger sister defaced those with the poems and stories in, and I think my mother threw them out - such a shame. I have found a version from 1973 which was on sale for just over £5, so I snapped them up. I am hoping they have the same stories, poems and illustrations in them.

Anonymous said...

I have the 1954 edition. I was born in 1962 but my parents bought them for my older siblings. Mine are still in pretty good condition. In volume 4 "Animal Friends and Adventures", my favorite story was The Little Old Truck.

Pepper said...

I remember the Peter Rabbit tale from a lone childcraft volume my grandmother gave me. She gave it to me in the eighties when i was a child. Even back then it was vintage. I think it belonged to her daughter who was a schoolteacher in the sixties. Anyway, the illustration pf the peter rabbit story is the same as yours. I remember also it jad the story of Dick whittington and his cat, snow white and rose red, rapunzel and gone is
gone. But mine had a gray cover and the childcraft label in silver.

Pepper said...

And the tin soldier ...

Cheri Farmakis said...

I have a full set available of the 1942 copyright editions. My friend who collected them passed away and we want to find a good home for them. If anyone happens to be looking for them please let me know. Volumns 1-14 in great condition. And also have the 1975 Editions 1-15 and Childcraft Annual 1975-1979.

Garol said...

Have you sold them? I just had my first grandchild and would love to read her these stories and poems! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi love reading the comments. I too am looking for a full collection if anyone wants to sell them to a good home. Look forward to hearing from you Heather