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Wonder book
Title : Wonder book Wonder book View More Images
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Creator : Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
Source : A wonder-book for girls and boys
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : G. Routledge & Sons
Date of creation : 1868
Additional Creator : Unitarian Church children's library
Format : Book
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Unitarian Church, Adelaide
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Description :

The Children's Library of the Unitarian Church in South Australia was established in October 1859 'in the hope of exciting a taste for reading among the younger members of the congregation', and is believed to be the first children's library in Australia. It opened with 109 books and 21 subscribers. The Library was not originally a Sunday School library - it preceded the foundation of the Unitarian Sunday School by two years. Some books were professedly religious books, but the greater number were believed to 'combine amusement with instruction'. The Library was in use for 110 years.

Catalogues of the Library were issued every few years, and books in the collection might be re-numbered as books were removed or added to the Library. Hawthorne's Wonder book first appeared in the 1869 catalogue as number 342. It was the same number in the 1877 catalogue, but by the time the catalogue was issued in 1893, it was re-numbered to 267.

Hawthorne's Wonder Book for girls and boys was published in 1851 in Boston, US, and in England. Hawthorne retold a number of the classic Greek myths in a 'deliberately gothic and romantic' style and using a contemporary American setting at a New England country house with a group of children. Hawthorne took liberties with the standard versions of the myths which caused some issues with classical scholars. However, this did not offend the young readers and the Wonder book ... was re-issued many times well into the 20th century.

Coverage year : 1859-1969
Region : Adelaide metropolitan area
Further reading :

Carpenter, Humphrey. The Oxford companion to children's literature, Oxford [Oxfordshire]; New York: Oxford University Press, 1984, see: Nathaniel Hawthorne, p. 243

Unitarian Christian Church (Adelaide, S. Aust.). Children's Library. Catalogue of the Children's Library, Adelaide: Printed by Andrews, Thomas, & Clark, 1877

Unitarian Christian Church (Adelaide, S. Aust.). Children's Library. Catalogue of the Children's Library, 1893, [Adelaide: The Church], 1893 (Adelaide: Whillas & Ormiston, Printers)

Wineapple, Brenda. Hawthorne: a life, New York: A.A. Knopf, 2003

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