Now published: Catalogue of the Cotsen Children's Library nineteenth century collections

19th Century Catalogue endpapers

More than 6,370 books in the Cotsen Children’s Library are now catalogued in the Library's newest publication, Catalogue of the Cotsen Children’s Library: The Nineteenth Century. Above are the endpapers from the 19th-century catalogue, designed by Mark Argetsinger. Photo by Princeton University Library staff


A two-volume, folio-size descriptive catalogue of more than 6,370 books in the Cotsen Children’s Library, “Catalogue of the Cotsen Children’s Library: The Nineteenth Century” is now available from Oak Knoll Press. Arranged both topically and alphabetically, the new catalogue joins a previous installment in the series, “Catalogue of the Cotsen Children’s Library: Twentieth Century.”

“It’s a virtual visit to this library for a panoptic look at the 19th-century children’s books in [Cotsen],” said Stephen Ferguson, Acting Associate University Librarian for Special Collections. “This is a structured, organized body of knowledge that you can page through and get a sense of the content of these books and their physical characteristics. . . You’ll get a sense from the illustrations of the different artistic styles of the period, the kinds of topics covered.” 

19th Century Catalogue

The new catalogue was published in two volumes, folio-size. Photo by Princeton University Library staff

Designed by Mark Argetsinger, the new catalogue consists of entries giving full bibliographic particulars, from detailed notes on contents, to bindings and previous owners, and includes over 270 color-printed illustrations, many full size. Despite both catalogues’ length, each volume (now a total of four) only includes a fraction of the books in Cotsen’s research collection, according to Curator of Cotsen Children’s Library Andrea Immel.

The larger project – to compile a multi-volume book catalogue of the Cotsen research collection – began as early as 1996 as the vision of Lloyd Cotsen, 1950 Princeton University alumnus and Charter Trustee Emeritus, Neutrogena CEO, and the benefactor and namesake of the library. “I think he had a real desire to educate people and show them through these books – these lavishly illustrated books – why he was passionate about education through pictures,” said Immel.

“We regard this as a contribution to historical bibliography,” Ferguson commented. “It’s a collection onto itself, and these descriptions are of interest to scholars, other collectors, and other owners of these books.”

In 2000, after the publication of the 20th-century catalogue’s first volume, Lloyd Cotsen addressed a letter to Ferguson, Immel, and others involved in the project in which he wrote, “You really made my dream a reality. It came out even better than I could have hoped. So, thank you on behalf of the Cotsen Family and myself.”

Since his passing in May 2017, his legacy continues through Cotsen Children’s Library, the extensive research collection, and these catalogues. “It started with Lloyd and what he wanted done with his collection,” said Ferguson. “Of course, he had the imagination to even start the collection and to take it from there.” The team will now begin working on the next installment: a catalogue of Cotsen’s books published pre-1801. 

For more information, visit Oak Knoll Press’s website

Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Library Communications Specialist and Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Library Communications Manager