16 December 1901

Beatrix Potter publishes The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

On December 16, 1901, Beatrix Potter published The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It was privately published and became one of the best selling books of all time, eventually selling 45 million copies.

Peter Rabbit is a mischievous bunny who gets in trouble by disobeying his mother and going into Mr. McGregor’s garden. After many adventures, he returns safely to his mother.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit was rejected by many publishers for various reasons?—?some wanted to change the text extensively or have Potter do so, others wanted her to change the illustrations. But Potter, whose parents had encouraged her interests in education, was insistent on how the book should look. Among her varied interests, she was an artist.

So, she published it privately at first, but eventually reached agreement with Frederick Warne & Co on how the book should look. She also had a lot of ideas of how to merchandise the book.