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printing for the people: Fun

Walker Library / Special Collections / Printing for the People

Just for Fun

Printing presses churned out law books, collected sermons, directories, and reports but not all printed matter existed primarily as a means of accessing information. Leisure reading developed alongside rising literacy rates and publishers catered to a constantly growing market for novels, poetry, and children’s books. By the nineteenth century, even members of the working classes could purchase a cheap, sensationalist broadside or inexpensive chapbook for their children. Magazines, gift books, paper toys, and games also demonstrate the expansion of print into the realm of entertainment. The materials shown in this section of the exhibit, while drawn from different collections within our holdings, demonstrate the important, persistent bond between print and leisure.