Childcraft is an encyclopedic anthology for young children, which different companies have published over the years. The 1954 set, published by Field Enterprises, Inc. contains perfectly lovely old-fashioned illustrations, especially the volumes devoted to literature and history (with more American history represented than any other category).
Volume 6 Great Men and Famous Deeds, is an anthology that does present famous people, but it also includes names that are far less well-known. Primarily, it gives accounts, from a variety of sources, of these famous people when they were children.
Thomas Alva Edison
Adapted from Thomas Alva Edison, the Youth and His Times, by Winifred Wise, the chapter tells the well-known story of the accident that led to the inventor's going deaf. But the story is told with such enthusiasm and with such interesting details of boy's life in the mid-nineteenth century, that other incidents stand out just as clearly.
The piece details the adventure of 12-year-old Al getting a first job, with the aim to be able to afford simple laboratory equipment. He was hired to sell newspapers and candy aboard a Detroit-area train. Once acquainted with the Detroit Free Library, he set off to read all the books there. Soon, though, he was buying chemicals and equipment to create his own laboratory on wheels in an unused car on the train, and that went well … until a fire onboard resulted in the conductor dumping him and his equipment at the next station.