Evolution in children's science books: Recommendations and library collections, 1863-1956

Kathleen McDowell, Caroline Nappo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evolution has remained a controversial topic for children in the United States since the 1925 Scopes Trial brought the issue to the national stage. Children's science trade books in public library children's collections were important sources of information about evolution. This analysis draws on the Main Street Public Library (MSPL) database of the collections of five small Midwest public libraries from the 1890s to the 1960s. Using this and other historical sources, this article explores and analyzes trade books about evolution that were published and recommended to young people from 1863 to 1956. Knowing which books were recommended for libraries, which were collected by Main Street libraries, and how often evolution appeared in these books provides a lens for understanding how this literature characterized evolution for young readers over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-674
Number of pages21
JournalLibrary Trends
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 18 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences


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