Friday, August 22, 2014

Beautiful Book #5

An Illustrated Comic Alphabet by Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon. 1859 manuscript. Toronto Public Library, 1966.

Considered Canada's first picture book, An Illustrated Comic Alphabet was drawn by Sarnia school teacher Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon in 1859 during her years in Canada West. Her manuscript predates the dawn of the coloured picture book in England by about 20 years and anticipates the work of Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway and Randolph Caldecott. The manuscript which is owned by The Osborne Collection of Early Children's Books at the Toronto Public Library was published for the first time in a facsimile edition in 1966. 

Its legacy is not only its own beautiful mark on the world but the establishment of the Canadian Library Association's Amelia Frances Howard Gibbon Award for excellence in illustration. A list of winners since its inception in 1971 can be found here:

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