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The Osborne Collection Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books is one of the world’s foremost historical collections of English-language children’s literature. Located in the Lillian H. Smith branch , the Osborne Collection holds over 80,000 items, including manuscripts, books, book-related art, archives, ephemera and book-related games. Our collection ranges from a 14th-century manuscript of Aesop’s Fables through medieval books of manners, moral tales of the Puritan era, 18th-century chapbooks and hornbooks to Victorian classics of fantasy, adventure, and school stories up to 1910. We also collect modern notable books published after 1910.

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Introduction This virtual exhibit presents a small selection of items taken from the Osborne Collection’s sixtieth anniversary exhibit, When Cinderella Went to the Ball: Five Hundred Years of Fairy Tales , held from September 12 to December 12, 2009. Celebrating one of children’s literature’s most enduringly popular genres, the exhibit progresses from a fifteenth-century Venetian wonder tale ( Historia di Lionbruno , 1476), through “classic” stories and collections by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and others, to today’s spin-offs, spoofs and “post-modern” interpretations.

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