Sly as a Fox

You know what ensures that children’s books stay in good condition? Keeping them away from children. That’s why Mr. George M. Fox’s collection, which contains more than 2,000 early British and American children’s books, looks so pristine. Donated to the S.F. Public Library in 1978, the collection consists of books older than 130 years, but they have never before been on view for the public to enjoy. The books normally live under lock and key in the Marjorie G. and Carl W. Stern Book Arts and Special Collection Center, but the SFPL is exhibiting more than 80 picture books in "Educate! Amuse! And in Colors! Selections from the George M. Fox Collection of Early Children’s Books." The collection exemplifies 19th century printing, including color wood engraving, hand-colored images, and chromolithographs. Highlights include toy and moveable books from the famed workshop of Edmund Evans, whom legends Randolph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway entrusted with their work. The opening celebration includes a lecture today by Laura E. Wasowicz, curator of children’s literature from the American Antiquarian Society, who discusses color printing in McLoughlin Brothers: 19th-Century Entrepreneurs and Innovators of the American Picture Book.
Dec. 15-March 10; Sat., Jan. 5, 2 p.m., 2012

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