Mr and Mrs J F Parker were avid collectors of objects relating to social history and created their own Folk Museum at their home Tickenhill Manor near Bewdley. They collected curios and relics of the past including tools of the old country crafts but they also developed an interest in books and games.
The Parkers were particularly interested in children's books published from 1830 to 1900. A fellow collector, Mrs Mildred Berkeley specialised in moral stories and chapbooks published before 1830 and the Parkers and Mrs Berkeley would look out for items for each other's collections.
The Parker's acquired Mrs Berkeley's collection after her death and their enlarged collection was donated to Birmingham Central Library after their deaths in the 1960s. The collection was then supplemented by children's books from other parts of the library and further books were added over the years including fiction, educational textbooks and picture books, giving a fascinating panorama of changing attitudes to children over four centuries.