Vintage History & Biographies

There is a subtle difference between "history" and "current events." At the time of this writing, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and Israel is engaged in a conflict with Hamas. Our world has just resurfaced from the fear spread by COVID-19 and the reactions it spurred, and the United States government is trying to figure out how to combat (or not) a surge of illegal immigration on our Southern border. These are all "historical events" and much is being written about them even as I type. But while facts are facts, we currently don't have them all and lack perspective. 

Two common quotes immediately jump to mind.

The first: "hindsight is 20/20." The idea behind this is that we can see more clearly things that are in our past; as we unearth information and take the time to understand multiple points of view, histories will be written. Many of these will be excellent, though never completely without bias, because of the second saying: "history is written by the victors." The primary sources—and the propaganda—of today will influence the histories of tomorrow.

So vintage history books are a funny thing. Being closer to the original events, some authors had the opportunity to witness the events they write about, or meet their subjects. As such, many of these authors were writing about what, for them, were essentially current events, and thus the books have primary (or secondary) source value. But they are products of their time, and were not immune to propaganda or inaccuracies themselves: the worldviews and prejudices of the authors influenced their work. Others, writing with longer perspective, often had access to sources or witnesses who have since passed away. Either way, views on race, gender, colonization, climate change and many other topics were often vastly different than those of people today; some for the good, and some not so good.

Many of the books here were written in the 1940s-60s, when the USA was fresh from victory in WWII. You might say America was at the peak of her power and glory, though she was then competing for world dominance with the USSR. That isn't to say she was always at her best, but there was a huge drive to educate her youth about her past and her heroes. The Landmark Books, Signature Books, Julian Messner biographies, and many others brought excellent authors and their topics into view of children. Not all of the books are about America, but most of them are, and it's a fair criticism that the selection here is Ameri- and Eurocentric. Looking at the world with a broader lens is generally a blessing of newer publications.

As with anything, when using history books for the education of children, care has to be taken. Keep in mind that good history is question-driven, not philosophy-driven. It's honest about the past, and doesn't whitewash horrible events. It doesn't impose biases onto primary sources or promote a certain perspective by manipulating data; good history lets the historical facts speak for themselves. We won't say all of the books here are good; we WILL say they provide different viewpoints, both for texts from their own time and for those of today. But it is important to read a range of books, both older and newer, to truly understand a diversity of perspectives.

We're working to add more books to this list all the time, and we want to make them as accessible as possible, so we're linking to online versions whenever we can. Look for links to Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive, and other sources!

Introduction by Eli Evans
Formerly home educated and now father of five, Eli loves discovering amazing books, new and old, and is an artistic curator at heart. The owner and manager of Exodus since 1998, his focus is on offering thoughtful and well-written books that inspire the imagination and promote creativity and diligence while living for God. Read more of his reviews here.
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1,384 Items found Print
1812: The War and the World
from Rand McNally
for 3rd-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
54-40 or Fight!
by Bob & Jan Young, maps & drawings by Barry Martin
from Julian Messner
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abe Lincoln
by Hilah Paulmier (compiled and edited by), illustrated by Lee Ames
First Edition from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
for 3rd-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$11.00 (1 in stock)
Abe Lincoln Gets His Chance
by Frances Cavanah
from Rand McNally
Biography for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Abe Lincoln Grows Up
by Carl Sandburg, illustrated by Al Schmidt
from Harcourt, Brace & World
Biography for 6th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abe Lincoln Grows Up
by Carl Sandburg, illustrated by James Daugherty
from Harcourt, Brace & Company
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Abe Lincoln's Other Mother
by Bernadine Bailey, illustrated by Howard Simon
from Responsive Environments Corp.
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abe Lincoln: Log Cabin to White House
Landmark #61
by Sterling North
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abigail Adams
A Discovery Book
by Helen Stone Peterson, illustrated by Betty Fraser
from Garrard Publishing Company
for 2nd-4th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abraham Lincoln
A Discovery Book
by Anne Colver
from Garrard Publishing Company
for 2nd-4th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abraham Lincoln
by James Daugherty
1st edition from Viking Press
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abraham Lincoln
Initial Biography
by Genevieve Foster
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Historical Non-fiction for 3rd-6th grade
1945 Newbery Honor Book
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abraham Lincoln in Peace and War
by Earl Schenck Miers
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 6th-10th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Abraham Lincoln's World (pictorial hardcover)
by Genevieve Foster
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Historical Non-fiction for 7th-10th grade
1945 Newbery Honor Book
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Admiral of the Ocean Sea
by Samuel E. Morison
from Atlantic Monthly Press
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures and Discoveries of Marco Polo
World Landmark #3
by Richard Walsh
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in World Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAN)
Adventures in the Wilderness
by Rutherford Hayes Platt
from Troll Associates
for 6th-10th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Adventures of Buffalo Bill
by Col. William F. Cody
from Harper & Brothers
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Captain Bonneville
by Washington Irving, illustrated by Robert Reynolds
Klickitat from Binford & Mort Publishing
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Davy Crockett
by David Crockett, illustrated by John W. Thomason
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$18.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Lewis and Clark
North Star Books #29
by John Bakeless
from Houghton Mifflin
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Adventures of Ulysses
World Landmark #40
by Gerald Gottlieb
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in World Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAN)
Adventurous Life of Winston Churchill
by Geoffrey Bocca
from Julian Messner
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
African Traveler
by Ronald Syme, illustrated by Jacqueline Tomes
from William Morrow & Company
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Age of Faith
Story of Civilization IV
by Will Durant
from Simon and Schuster
for 11th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Age of Fighting Sail
by C. S. Forester
1st edition from Doubleday & Company
American Naval History for 8th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Age of Louis XIV
Story of Civilization VIII
by Will & Ariel Durant
from Simon and Schuster
for 11th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
Age of Napoleon
Story of Civilization XI
by Will Durant
from Simon and Schuster
for Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
Age of Reason Begins
Story of Civilization VII
by Will Durant
from Simon and Schuster
for 11th-Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
Age of Voltaire
Story of Civilization IX
by Will & Ariel Durant
from Simon and Schuster
for Adult
in History for Adults (Location: ADU-HIS)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
Ain't Gonna Study War No More
by Milton Meltzer
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
Air War Against Hitler's Germany
by Stephen W. Sears
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 6th-10th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Alaska Gold Rush
Landmark #92
by May McNeer
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in American Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAND)
Alec Hamilton: The Little Lion
by Helen Boyd Higgins
from Bobbs-Merril Co
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Alessandro Volta and the Electric Battery
Immortals of Science
by Bern Dibner
from Franklin Watts
for 6th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr
Landmark #85
by Russel & Anna Crouse
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Alexander the Great
World Landmark #2
by John Gunther
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
in World Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAN)
Alexander the Great
by Charles Mercer
from Harper & Row
for 4th-8th grade
in Horizon Caravel Books (Location: VIN-HOR)
All Hands Aloft!
by Lou A. Schmitt
from Howell-North
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Amazing Mr. Doolittle
by Quentin Reynolds
from Appleton-Century-Crofts
for 10th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Amelia Earhart
Lives to Remember
by Burke Davis
from G.P. Putnam's Sons
for 7th-12th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
America and Its Presidents
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America Begins
by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Lois Maloy
Revised Edition from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 1st-3rd grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America Builds Homes
by Alice Dalgliesh, illustrated by Lois Maloy
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America Grows Up
A History for Peter #2
by Gerald W. Johnson, illustrated by Leonard Everett Fisher
from William Morrow & Company
for 7th-12th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America is Born
A History for Peter #1
by Gerald W. Johnson (iilustrations by Leonard Everett Fisher)
from William Morrow & Company
for 4th-7th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$45.00 (1 in stock)
America Moves Forward
A History for Peter #3
by Gerald W. Johnson
from William Morrow & Company
for 4th-7th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America the Beautiful/ A Man of Destiny
by the editors of Country Beautiful Magazine
from Country Beautiful
for Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
America's Abraham Lincoln
by May McNeer, illustrated by Lynd Ward
from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America's First World War
Landmark #77
by Henry Castor
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America's Mark Twain
by May McNeer, illustrated by Lynd Ward
from Houghton Mifflin
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
America's Robert E. Lee
by Henry Steele Commager, illustrated by Lynd Ward
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Adventures
by Elizabeth Coatsworth, illustrated by Robert Frankenberg
from Macmillan
for 4th-7th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Children Through Their Books
by Sister Monica Kiefer
1970 printing from University of Pennsylvania Press
for Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
American Fishermen
by Albert Cook Church (photography), text by James B. Connolly
from Bonanza Books
for Adult
in Nautical History (Location: VIN-NAUT)
$10.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans - 12 Volume Set
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 1
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 10
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (2 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 11
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 12
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 2
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 3
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 4
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 5
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 6
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 7
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 8
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage Book of the Presidents and Famous Americans Volume 9
from Dell Publishing
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Heritage History of the American Revolution
by Bruce Lancaster
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
American Hero Stories
by Eva March Tappan, illustrated by Frank E. Schoonover
from Riverside Press
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Heroes of the 20th Century
Landmark Giant #14
by Harold & Doris Faber
from Random House
for 5th-8th grade
in Landmark Giants (Location: VIN-LAN)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
American Horses
North Star Books #35
by Ralph Moody
from Houghton Mifflin
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Indian
Landmark Giant #3
by William Brandon, adapted by Anne Terry White
from Random House
for 4th-8th grade
in Landmark Giants (Location: VIN-LAN)
American Indian in Words and Pictures
by Sydney Fletcher
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
American Indian Story
by May McNeer, illustrated by Lynd Ward
from Ariel Books
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Nation
by John D. Hicks
from Riverside Press
for Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$6.50 (1 in stock)
American Revolution
Landmark #83
by Bruce Bliven, Jr.
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
American Sailing Coasters of the North Atlantic
by Paul C. Morris, foreword by Edouard Stackpole
1979 Reprint from Bonanza Books
for Adult
in Nautical History (Location: VIN-NAUT)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
American Sports Heroes of Today
Landmark Giant #22
by Frederic Katz
from Random House
for 4th-8th grade
in Landmark Giants (Location: VIN-LAN)
American Story
from Curtis Publishing Co.
for 9th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Americans Before Columbus
by Elizabeth Baity, illustrated by C.B. Falls
from Viking Press
for 5th-10th grade
1952 Newbery Honor Book
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Americans in Space
by John Dille
from American Heritage Publishing Co.
for 6th-10th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Americans Into Orbit
Landmark #101
by Gene Gurney
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in American Landmark Books (Location: VIN-LAND)
Americans to the Moon
Landmark Giant #20
by Gene Gurney
from Random House
for 4th-8th grade
in Landmark Giants (Location: VIN-LAN)
Among the Plains Indians
from Lerner Publishing Group
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
And Long Remember
by Dorothy Canfield Fisher, illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
from E.M. Hale and Company
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
And There Was America
by Roger Duvoisin
for 2nd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Andrew Carnegie
from Kingston House
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Andrew Carnegie and the Age of Steel
Landmark #80
by Katherine B. Shippen
from Random House
for 5th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Andrew Jackson
Initial Biography
by Genevieve Foster
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Andrew Jackson: Pioneer and President
by John Parlin, illustrated by William Hutchinson
from Garrard Publishing Company
for 3rd-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Andrew Jackson: Soldier and Statesman
by Ralph K. Andrist
from Harper & Row
for 5th-8th grade
in American Heritage Junior Library (Location: VIN-HIS)
Angel of Mercy
by Rachel Baker
from Julian Messner
for 3rd-7th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
by Anne Frank, translated by B. M. Mooyaart-Doubleday with an introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt
Book Club Edition from Nelson Doubleday, Inc.
for 6th-10th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Antonin Dvorak
Julian Messner Shelf of Biographies
by Clair Lee Purdy, illustrated by Edgard Cirlin
from Julian Messner
for 4th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Apache Land
by Ross Santee
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for 5th-8th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Apollo on the Moon
by Henry S. F. Cooper, Jr.
from Dial Press
for 6th-Adult
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Appomattox
by Burke Davis
from HarperCollins
for 4th-6th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Apprenticeship of Abraham Lincoln
by Olivia Coolidge
from Charles Scribner's Sons
Biography for 6th-9th grade
in Vintage History & Biographies (Location: VIN-HIS)
Architects
Colonial American Craftsmen
by Leonard Everett Fisher
from Franklin Watts
for 3rd-6th grade
in Colonial America (1690-1765) (Location: HISA-17COL)
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