Isaiah Thomas published and sold books for children, as well as books, newspapers, and magazines for adults. He was also founder of the American Antiquarian Society.
One of Thomas' greatest contributions to children's literature was introducing John Newbery's books to the United States; although Thomas' loose interpretation of the copyright laws bothered Jonathan Edwards, and Newbery was never paid. Thomas acquired several Newbery chapbooks in 1779 and republished them in America. Newbery's materials were much more appealing and entertaining than other children's literature of the time.
The financial success of these items led Thomas to publish his own children's titles, the first of which was The Beauty and the Monster. A Comedy. From the French of Count de Genlis. Original publications did not take over his presses, however. His first edition of Mother Goose's Melody appeared in 1785, and he also published such children's standards from England as Robinson Crusoe and Goody Two-Shoes. These children's books brought money and recognition to the business, but Thomas poured more pride and effort into his Bible publishing.