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1999-2000 Visiting Fellows

Jill Shefrin

Independent Scholar
Fellowship Report

I am writing to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with the materials in the Cotsen Children's Library. My field is 18th - and 19th -century educational games for children published by members of the book and print trade in London. This material is largely undocumented and my work has taken me to a number of different rare book libraries and museums as I attempt to track down the more unusual items. My projected publication is bibliographical and I am preparing detailed descriptions, not only of each game, but of each edition and variation. The opportunity to examine the games in the Cotsen Library was particularly valuable to me because the large number enabled me to examine different items together, making bibliographic comparisons between editions and identifying anonymous illustrators. The broad range of the games (by subject, chronologically, etc.) also enabled me to further my historical analysis. There are relatively few collections with this wealth of holdings of educational games and the visit was crucial for my research. The Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books in Toronto and the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood in London are amongst the few institutions with comparable holdings of these games. I have now examined over 500 games including those in the Cotsen Library. Besides the games, I was also able to examine a number of publisher's advertisements and some geography textbooks for children during my visit.

At the same time I was preparing an essay on 18th -century dissected (jigsaw) puzzles and other early geographical toys which has since been published by the Cotsen Occasional Press. This project was complemented by my games research in the Library.

I would like to thank the Friends of the Princeton Library for their support for my work.


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