Girls in frangipani blossoms swirling in a frenzied dance.
Caption from LIFE. Girls in frangipani blossoms swirling in a frenzied dance.Eliot Elisofon—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Girls in frangipani blossoms swirling in a frenzied dance.
An old couple resting in Takaroa.
Bora Bora as the airborne author saw it.
A resident of Apia amiably matching a literary portrait.
County of Roxbough on Takaroa reef.
Tahitian girl bathing.
Children in Tahiti, 1955.
A fisherman looking out at the sea.
A Tahitian woman playing the Ukelele.
A Tahitian man, 1955.
The sacred grounds of the Typee valley.
The south seas, 1955.
A Tahitian woman walking her horse through the jungle.
Sunset over the south seas, 1955.
Fiery greeting for canoes in Tahiti.
A view from the beach on a Samoan evening.
Caption from LIFE. Girls in frangipani blossoms swirling in a frenzied dance.
Eliot Elisofon—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
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See How Lewis Carroll's Alice Evolved Through the Decades

Updated: Jul 02, 2015 3:30 PM ET | Originally published: Jun 29, 2015

It was precisely 150 years ago this week—on July 4, 1865—that the world first met a very special girl, who in the decades since has taught countless readers (and movie- and theatergoers) about the importance of believing in the impossible.

lewis carrollPhotograph of Lewis Carroll, 1863. Oscar Gustav Rejlander—The Morgan Library & Museum 

Charles Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym Lewis Carroll, had taken a boat trip exactly three years earlier, on July 4, 1862, with a group that included a girl named Alice Liddell. Liddell was a daughter of the Dean of Christ Church at Oxford, where Dodgson was studying mathematics. (Some people have questioned the nature of Carroll's relationship with Alice, although there appears to be little firm evidence that it was not benign.) As the Lewis Carroll Society tells it, it was on that outing that he began to tell the story of another Alice, who found her way to a magical place underground. The character's real-life inspiration loved the story and asked him to write it down for her, which he did.

That story became Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which was published in a very limited run by Macmillan on July 4, 1865, with illustrations by John Tenniel. A few weeks later, Tenniel announced that he didn't like the quality of the first printing and asked to have the edition withdrawn. The book didn't become more widely available until that holiday season, but according to the University of Florida libraries—which hold a collection of editions of the work—it was from the July 4 printing that Alice Liddell was given her very own copy of the book she helped bring into the world. July 4 is celebrated throughout Oxford as Alice's Day.

Many other museums, libraries and groups will also celebrate Alice's birthday this week; one of the Tenniel illustrations in the gallery above, for example, can be seen at the new exhibit Alice: 150 Years of Wonderland, on view now through Oct. 11 at the Morgan Library & Museum in New York City.

In the 150 years since John Tenniel's illustrations first helped the world imagine Alice, depictions of the character have evolved—but she has never lost her sense of wonder.

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Writers on Their Favorite Young Adult Books

Laura Hillenbrand,  whose latest book "Unbroken" has just come out, in her home in Washington, DC.
Laura Hillenbrand, Author of Unbroken. "Come on Seabiscuitby Ralph Moody. When I was eight years old, I bought this battered paperback for a quarter at a neighborhood fair. Enthralled, I read it over and over, until the cover fell off and the pages parted from the spine. I had to hold the book together with a rubber band. The story stayed with me, and many years later, it would inspire me to become an author myself."Bill O'Leary—The Washington Post/Getty Images
Laura Hillenbrand,  whose latest book "Unbroken" has just come out, in her home in Washington, DC.
Author James Patterson
Author Michael Lewis poses for a portrait while promoting his book about high-frequency trading (HFT) named "Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt," in New York
Jesmyn Ward Portrait Session
National Book Awards
SITTENFELD
Jennifer Weiner
USA - 2013 Los Angeles Times Festival of Books
John Irving;
Matthew Quick
Adelle Waldman Portrait Session
Andy Cohen
Gillian Fllynn
Simon Doonan And NEXXUS Create Window Display At Duane Reade In Tribute To The 2013 Tony Awards
Dick Cavett
Martin Amis at Edinburgh International Book Festival 2014
Laura Hillenbrand, Author of Unbroken. "Come on Seabiscuitby Ralph Moody. When I was eight years old, I bought this batt
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Bill O'Leary—The Washington Post/Getty Images
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