Little Leather Library Series collection

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Special Collections and Archives

Little Leather Library Series collection

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The Special Collections & Archives reading room is closed, and all in-person (physical, face-to-face) services are suspended at this time. We are here to help! Please contact us to discuss how we can best serve you during this time.

Special Collections and Archives

Little Leather Library Series collection

You are here

Little Leather Library Series collection

Finding Aid

Prepared by Rhonda Rinehart, November 9, 2004; Additions made by Edith Serkownek, May 13, 2009. Last updated: February 2021


Inclusive Dates: 1915-1923
Extent: .50 cubic foot (2 flip-top boxes)
Physical Location: 11th floor


Historical Note: The Little Leather Library was a series of miniature (3" x 3 3/4"), abridged leather-bound volumes of famous speeches and works by classic literary authors. The leather covers were uniform in style and color. They appeared in a dark brown leather cover with a green patina and were stamped with the title and author's name printed inside identical floral borders. The series was founded around 1914, and was originally sold through the Woolworth's five-and-dime chain before being made available through mail order. Relatively inexpensive, these volumes were sold in boxed sets of 30 for $2.98. Millions of copies were sold by Woolworth's, and it is estimated that between 35-40 million volumes were sold by mail. The series continued to be sold until 1923. Series founder Albert Boni went on to start the Modern Library, another series of mass-marketed books showcasing contemporary European and American authors that is still in existence today.


Scope and Content: This small collection contains twenty-seven volumes, and includes speeches and letters from American presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Also included here are works by Robert Browning, Lewis Carroll, Washington Irving, Rudyard Kipling, William Shakespeare, and Alfred Tennyson. 

Acquisition Information: Some titles in this collection were donated by David Lesser.

Arrangement: This collection is organized alphabetically by author's last name, or title, if no author is identified.


Box 1
Folder -- Contents

  1. Barrie, J. M. The Tillyloss scandal.
  2. Browning, Robert. Pippa passes.
  3. Browning, Robert. Poems and plays.
  4. Burns, Robert. The poems and songs of Robert Burns.
  5. Carroll, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland. 
  6. Carroll, Lewis. Through the looking-glass and what Alice found there.
  7. Coleridge, Samuel T. The ancient mariner.
  8. De Maupassant, Guy. Short stories.
  9. Doyle, Arthur Conan. Sherlock Holmes.
  10. Drummond, Henry. The greatest thing in the world.
  11. Emerson, Ralph W. Essays.
  12. Emerson, Ralph W. Uses of great men.
  13. Fifty best poems of America.
  14. Fifty best poems of England.
  15. Fitzgerald, Edward. The rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. (copy 1 of 3)
  16. Fitzgerald, Edward. The rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. (copy 2 of 3)
  17. Fitzgerald, Edward. The rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. (copy 3 of 3)
  18. Gilbert, W. S. The "bab" ballads.
  19. Hale, Edward Everett. The man without a country.
  20. Hubbard, Elbert. A message to Garcia.
  21. Ibsen, Henrik. A doll's house.
  22. Ibsen, Henrik. Ghosts.
  23. Irving, Washington. Old Christmas.
  24. Kipling, Rudyard. At the end of the passage. (copy 1 of 2)
  25. Kipling, Rudyard. At the end of the passage. (copy 2 of 2)
  26. Kipling, Rudyard. Barrack-room ballads.
  27. Kipling, Rudyard. The man who was. (copy 1 of 2)
  28. Kipling, Rudyard. The man who was. (copy 2 of 2)
  29. Kipling, Rudyard. The phantom rickshaw. 
  30. Kipling, Rudyard. The vampire and other verses.
  31. Kipling, Rudyard. Without benefit of clergy.
  32. Lamb, Charles. Dream children and other essays.
  33. Lincoln, Abraham. Speeches and addresses. (copy 1 of 2)
  34. Lincoln, Abraham. Speeches and addresses. (copy 2 of 2)

Box 2
Folder -- Contents

  1. Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. The courtship of Miles Standish.
  2. Macaulay, Thomas Babington. Lays of ancient Rome. (copy 1 of 2)
  3. Macaulay, Thomas Babington. Lays of ancient Rome. (copy 2 of 2)
  4. Poe, Edgar Allan. The gold bug.
  5. Schreiner, Olive. Dreams. (copy 1 of 2)
  6. Schreiner, Olive. Dreams. (copy 2 of 2)
  7. Shakespeare, William. A comedy of errors.
  8. Shakespeare, William. King Lear.
  9. Shakespeare, William. Midsummer night's dream. 
  10. Shakespeare, William. The tempest.
  11. Shakespeare, William. Twelfth night.
  12. Stevenson, Robert Louis. A child's garden of verses.
  13. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  14. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Will o' the mill. (copy 1 of 2)
  15. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Will o' the mill. (copy 2 of 2)
  16. Tennyson, Alfred. The coming of Arthur. (copy 1 of 2)
  17. Tennyson, Alfred. The coming of Arthur. (copy 1 of 2)
  18. Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Enoch Arden and other poems. (copy 1 of 2)
  19. Tennyson, Alfred Lord. Enoch Arden and other poems. (copy 2 of 2)
  20. Tennyson, Alfred. Lancelot and Elaine. (copy 1 of 2)
  21. Tennyson, Alfred. Lancelot and Elaine. (copy 2 of 2)
  22. Thoreau, Henry David. Friendship and other essays. (copy 1 of 2)
  23. Thoreau, Henry David. Friendship and other essays. (copy 2 of 2)
  24. Tolstoy, Leo. The bear hunt and other stories.
  25. Washington, George. Speeches and letters. (copy 1 of 2)
  26. Washington, George. Speeches and letters. (copy 2 of 2)
  27. Wilde, Oscar. The Ballad of Reading Gaol and other poems. 
  28. Wilde, Oscar. The happy prince and other tales. (copy 1 of 2)
  29. Wilde, Oscar. The happy prince and other tales. (copy 2 of 2)
  30. Wilde, Oscar. Salome.