During the two centuries prior to 1900 there was an increasing polarity between writing for children intended to instruct and writing intended for pleasure and delight. The critical biographies in DLB Volume 42 deal with authors whose books were intended to bridge the gap. The writers in this volume are 18th and 19th century American children's authors who set trends or modified and refined the art of writing for children. Several of these writers' 19th-century work continued to influence writing into the early decades of the 20th century. 52 entries include: William Taylor Adams, Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Mary Mapes Dodge, Charles Austin Fosdick, Joel Chandler Harris, Kirk Munroe, Howard Pyle, Frank R. Stockton, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan Bogert Warner, Noah Webster and Augusta Jane Evans Wilson.