Selected Special Collections
Big Little Book Collection
Popular children's books, mid-twentieth century
The Big Little Book Collection contains a variety of children's books in special formats that were received through copyright deposit in the 1930s and 1940s. Most numerous are the "Big Little Books" and "Better Little Books" issued by the Whitman Publishing Company, a subsidiary of the Western Printing & Lithographing Company (now Western Publishing Company) of Racine, Wisconsin. Measuring 4 1/2 by 4 by 1 3/8 inches, the Big Little Book presents stories based on comic strips, movies, radio shows, and children's classics and typically matches each page of text with a full-page, black-and-white illustration. Among the 176 Big Little Books and 73 Better Little Books, the the collection are volumes featuring Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, Little Orphan Annie, Mickey Mouse, Tom Mix, and Tailspin Tommie. The collection, totaling 534 items, includes editions from other American series such as the "Big Big Books" and "chubby Little Books" as well as a few foreign publications.