The Mysterious Neue Jugendführer and Müller’s Buchhandlung

Cotsen 7636299

Above is a most mysterious print (a loose end that turned up during our recent temporary office move). My best guess is that it is uncut proof for the conjugate frontispiece and title page for the book Der neue Jugendführer [The new youth leader]. As the title page points out this book was published “In Müller’s Buchhandlung” (In Müller’s Bookstore) in Pest, Hungary. The lengthy subtitle makes clear that this book is an instructive (and well illustrated) polyglot primer: Der neue jugendführer : ein nützliches, und angenehmes A.B.C. = Buchstabier und Lese = bilderbuch fur die Jugend, mit 128 Abbildungen, nebst Deutsch, Französischen, und Ungarischen benennungen [The new youth leader : a useful, and pleasant A.B.C. = spelling and reading = picture book for the youth, with 128 illustrations, besides German, French, and Hungarian designations].

Curiously, however, there seem to be no surviving copies of such a title. So how can this be the title page for the “Zweite Auflage” [second edition]? Perhaps it’s as simple as concluding that the work was never published. Yet compounding the conundrums around the title is that since this is the neue jugendführer, one might expect to be able to locate the original Jugendführer. But again, no dice (to be pedantically clear, however, there are works containing “Jugendführer” in the title, but most are later than the above print and published by different publishers in mostly German cities).

“Title page” for closer examination, notice the absence of a publication date

While attempting to date the item I was able to locate a paltry few other works published in Pest by “Müller’s Buchhandlung” or “Joseph Müller’s Buchhandlung” from 1818 to 1823. All of these seem to be adult titles, mostly dealing with history and religion. After this time “Müller’s Buchhandlung” seems to move around a bit with titles appearing in Albendorf, Poland and Lucerne, Switzerland) Then again, Müller is a pretty common German last name and there are a number of bookshops and publishers operated by Muellers throughout the German-speaking world.

So maybe the “frontispiece” will yield some helpful information?

“Frontispiece” of Müller’s bookstore

The hand-colored etching (with engraving) ostensibly depicts the real Müller’s bookstore in Pest. The caption gives voice to the imploring youngster: “O, Mutter, ich bitte dich, nehme mir den Jugendführer!” (O, Mother, I beg you, take me to the youth leader!). Hard to make out above, the illustration is signed: “Perger del.” on the left and “Lehnhardt sc.” on the right. So, given the rough dates above, the illustration was “delineavit” [designed by] either Sigismund Ferdinand von Perger (1778-1841) or his son Anton Perger (1809-1876). The “sculpsit” [engraving by] Lehnhardt, was as close to an attribution as I could find.

Unfortunately, we might never know more about Müller, his bookstore, or his Jugendführers. But clearly, enigmas abound at the Cotsen Children’s Library, and it’s always fun to see what we can discover.

For other Cotsen forays into the (more recent) bookstore world, check out this post by Jeff Barton about some notable bookstores on the Pacific Northwest:
On the Road with the Cotsen Library, or, Some Independent Bookstores Are Alive and Well

another by Andrea Immel about a famous bookstore in LA:
Tour The Last Bookstore in Los Angeles

and last but not least, Minjie Chen’s about bookstores in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi

Notes of a Summer Traveller 2



Call for papers: Border-Crossing in Children’s Literature

The Second International Symposium for Children’s Literature &
The Fourth US-China Symposium for Children’s Literature

June 14-16, 2018
Cotsen Children’s Library, Princeton University

The International Symposium for Children’s Literature, first held in 2012 as the US-China Symposium for Children’s Literature, was born at an exciting moment in children’s books and reading in China. Imported/translated picture books and juvenile literature, along with parent-child shared reading practice, were increasingly introduced to rising middle-class Chinese families and rejuvenated the creation of domestic works. The symposium has become an important venue where leading scholars from China, USA, and an expanding list of countries exchange the latest research on children’s literature, fertilizing the field with inquiries that cross national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries.

The Cotsen Children’s Library is proud to host the Second International Symposium for Children’s Literature in 2018. Cotsen is a special collection of international historical children’s materials housed within Princeton University Library. It is one of the few institutions, outside East Asia, that house a sizeable and growing research collection of Chinese, Japanese, and Korean books, magazines, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, games, and toys for children’s entertainment and education.

The Second International Symposium for Children’s Literature seeks to facilitate interchange of ideas on new issues in children’s literature research between scholars from East and West. We are particularly interested in two thematic areas.

(1) Children’s literature on the screen
Electronic screens have joined paper to carry text, images, and other multimodal contents that entertain, educate, inspire, and stimulate children. Shelby A. Wolf (2014) challenged us to widen literary analysis “to include the interplay of visual, auditory, and interactive opportunities” offered by digital children’s literature. We welcome proposals that investigate digital picture books or children’s book Apps from dimensions that range from definition to creation, evaluation, criticism, usage, access, response, and impact.

(2) Border-Crossing in Children’s Literature
This is a broad area that encompasses multicultural, international, and translated children’s literature, in any format and genre, including but not limited to East Asian children’s literature, its relationship with global literature, its application in second language education, and East Asian-themed American works.

Submission Timelines

August 14, 2017 — Deadline for submitting abstracts of 300 words for 20-minute presentations (in English or Chinese) to

September 14, 2017 — Decision notification. The symposium is able to schedule up to 24 presenters into the program.

February 14, 2018 — Deadline for the submission of your paper. The necessity of on-site, simultaneous translation requires that we receive the full text of your presentation with adequate time to have English-Chinese bilingual versions prepared.

Following the symposium, we plan to assemble revised versions of the symposium papers into a book or a special journal issue.


Dr. Minjie Chen
Cotsen Children’s Library
Department of Rare Books and Special Collections
Princeton University Library
Phone: (609)258-9574

Dr. Qiuying (Lydia) Wang
Professor, Reading/Literacy (K-8)
School of Teaching, Learning and Educational Sciences
Oklahoma State University
Phone: (405)744-8001


Wolf, S. A. (2014). Children’s literature on the digital move. The Reading Teacher, 67(6), 413-417.

Printable Flyer