Cover design for The Night before Christmas. Watercolor, pen and ink, gouache, ca. 1888. American Antiquarian Society, Gift of Herbert H. Hosmer, 1978.

Free admission (all visitors, all hours)

The Grolier Club is heralding the Winter holiday with the exhibition Radiant with Color & Art: McLoughlin Brothers and the Business of Picture Books, 1858-1920. More than 200 vibrantly colored children’s illustrated picture books, drawings, watercolors, and ephemera are on view.

The exhibition focuses on the accomplishments and technological innovations of McLoughlin Brothers, the influential late 19th century children’s book publishing firm. Rising from the gritty printing district of lower Manhattan, the McLoughlin Brothers embraced cutting edge technologies like chromolithography, creative branding techniques, and competitive business tactics.

Based upon the impressive collections of the American Antiquarian Society (AAS), a national research library and learned society located in Worcester, MA, the exhibition documents the variety of juvenile imprints created by the McLoughlin Brothers, and surveys the broad influence and appeal of this under-studied publisher of illustrated children’s literature. Drawn from the impressive archive of McLoughlin Brothers artwork and picture books held at the AAS, the exhibition delves into the early history of American juvenile literature publishing during the period from 1858 to 1920, using the production and merchandising practices of McLoughlin Brothers to explore the serious business of entertainment for children.