‘A Lilliputian Miscellany’ an exhibition by Brian Alderson

‘A Lilliputian Miscellany’ now open to the public June – August 2017.
Level 1, Philip Robinson Library, Newcastle University

Curated by Brian Alderson, ‘A Lilliputian Miscellany’ celebrates the gift of the Alderson Collection to Newcastle University and Seven Stories. Read more about the children’s book collection in the Vital North Partnership blog. It shows some of the less usual children’s books and manuscripts in his Collection and relate many of them to Brian’s career as writer, translator, and editor.  What a commingling will be seen as the Brothers Grimm rub shoulders with Charles Kingsley, or a tribute is paid to those Northumbrian figures of Thomas Bewick illustrating Mother Goose’s Melody and Joseph Ritson with his Gammer Gurton’s Garland.

Brian Alderson is one of the pioneers of children’s literature studies in Britain and a distinguished author, reviewer, translator and collector. In 2016, Brian Alderson was awarded an honorary degree by Newcastle University, recognising his work on the history of children’s books. Find out more about Brian and his work on the Brian Alderson website, or view the items from Brian’s collection that have already been catalogued on Newcastle University’s Library Search.

Brian Alderson at home in front of his book collection


Brian Alderson has written the text himself and some of the highlights from the exhibition are shown below, but there are many more wonders to see in the exhibition in the Philip Robinson Library. An accompanying exhibition catalogue is also available, which provides more detail about the items.

Boreman and Newbery

For well over a hundred years the eighteenth century bookseller John Newbery in St Paul’s Church-Yard has been the cynosure of the collecting fraternity. It was he who established a steady output of children’s books sufficient to prove to the trade that this could be a new and profitable line of business.

While Newbery’s most famous books are rare they are probably less so than his important predecessor, Thomas Boreman, who’s Gigantick Histories began to come out a year or two before any of Newbery’s books. I had never thought to own one of these tiny volumes which stand at the true beginnings of the regular children’s book trade, but Thomas Boreman’s Curiosities of the Tower of London, came to me through an extraordinarily lucky purchase from a bookseller’s catalogue at a price whose modesty I found unbelievable.

THOMAS BOREMAN
Curiosities of the Tower of London
1741

The prelims include Boreman’s celebrated rhymed puff on the theme that ‘Tom Thumb shall now be thrown away’ in favour of ‘something to please and form the mind’ which is followed by a 14-page list of ‘Subscribers to this Work’, reprinted from the first edition of the same year. The illustrations, barring one of the defeat of the Spanish Armada, are extremely attractive cuts of some of the animals housed in the Tower of London’s menagerie.

Title page from ‘Curiosities in the Tower of London

Anon
The Story of Goody Two Shoes
1940

One of the many series of miniature coloured booklets that were issued early in the Second World War for reading in air-raid shelters etc.

Front cover of ‘The Story of Goody Two Shoes


Nursery Rhymes

I first met Peter Opie round about 1967 when we were forming what was to become the Children’s Books History Society. Subsequently we went several times as a family to Westerfield House (now Mells House) when book treasures were revealed to me while the children enjoyed the historic toys that were demonstrated in the room that Peter and Iona Opie called ‘the Museum’.

With an Opie-inspired interest in the history of nursery-rhyme publishing, it led me to the following interesting editions appearing in the collection.

Tom Thumb’s Play-Thing, being a new and pleasant method to allure little ones into the first principles of learning; with cuts well adapted to each letter in the alphabet. As brought into easy verse for the instruction and amusement of children.
No date [ca. 1810]

The prodigious title belies the extreme simplicity of the two chapbooks, the first consisting simply of the two alphabets ‘A was an Archer’ and ‘A was an Ape’, the second a series of six couplets (‘The Sun shines bright, / The Moon gives light.’ etc.) followed, alas, by a 5-page catechism and a story on the rewards of learning to read which commends: ‘Robinson Crusoe and Goody Two Shoes which are sold, with many others, as well instructive as entertaining, in gold covers, embellished with a variety of pictures, at the same place as this…’ Although not including any rhymes from Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song-Book Volume II these chapbooks may well draw upon the contents of the lost first volume.

Pages 8 and 9 from ‘Tom Thumbs Play Thing

Mother Goose’s Melody; or, sonnets for the cradle. Containing the most celebrated songs and lullabies of the old British nurses. Embellished with many beautiful pictures.
No date (Watermarks 1809 and 1810)

It has been suggested that this important collection of 51 rhymes was first planned by John Newbery just before his death in 1767 but the first edition, perhaps from his papers, did not appear until 1780, published by his successor, Thomas Carnan, who added sixteen poems by ‘that sweet Songster… Master William Shakespeare’. The earliest surviving copy, a facsimile of which is exhibited alongside this book, was published soon after Carnan’s death in 1788 by his brief successor, Francis Power. He revised the production process, dropping Shakespeare and aligning the book to the new fashion for hand-coloured picture books in a square format.

Title page from ‘Mother Goose’s Melody


Folk Tales

It was an interest in ballads, dating back to undergraduate days that encouraged my attention to the oral qualities in children’s literature and especially in the transmission of folk tales, which have no definitive text but are rooted in the told story. It seemed to me of primary importance to judge the printed forms of these old familiar narratives, either those native to an English, Scottish or Irish tradition or, especially, those translated from their original sources by the degree of their adherence to natural speech.

A fundamental influence on both theory and practice came when, in 1968, I was sent The English Fairy Tales edited by Joseph Jacobs.

ANDREW LANG, Brian Alderson illustrated by John Lawrence
The Blue Fairy Book

Joseph Jacobs was the inspiration for the editorial work that I undertook in ‘refurbishing’ this famous collection; I think too that he would have shared my misgivings as to its first editing which was largely the work of Mrs Lang and assorted friendly ladies. With Patrick Hardy’s (editor at Kestrel Books) encouragement, I attempted a wholesale revision (fully explained in my Preface and notes) in an attempt to bring the volume more closely towards the folk tradition at the root of ‘fairy tales’. At the same time, a decision was made to replace the (often very strong) illustrations by H. J. Ford with a contemporary illustrator and John Lawrence, who undertook the task, was asked to look at Ford’s work and attempt to replicate its notable position in ‘the black-and-white’ tradition (this occurred very successfully with later illustrators too).

Front cover from ‘Blue Fairy Book


Hans Christian Anderson

Where Hans Christian Andersen is concerned an entirely different critical regime is required for the (often unrecognised) reason that his canon of 156 stories is that of an independent author whose texts do not share the multivalency of those from folk tales. They are crafted works of literature (which all too often suffer from abridgment or adaptation) and – importantly – many of them draw directly upon Andersen’s own voice as storyteller.

The items give merely a glimpse of the challenge and enjoyment of the chase of collecting Hans Christian Andersen’s stories.

HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSON [SIC]
Wonderful Stories for Children
1846

Published for Christmas 1845, this first English translation of the Eventir advertises ten stories on the contents page. Thus, right at the beginning, we find liberties taken with poor old Andersen’s texts. Leaving aside the misspelling of his name on the title-page, we also find a story called ‘A Night in the Kitchen’, which proves to be a passage excerpted from ‘The Flying Trunk’, one of Andersen’s funniest stories. At least it is taken from the Danish, unlike most of its immediate successors and it is perhaps understandable that, being the first to attempt the job, Howitt has not the ear to catch the fluency of the author’s unusual conversational lightness.

Title page from ‘Wonderful Stories for Children

(18) G[EORGE] N[ICOL]
The Ugly Duck of Hans Christian Andersen
1851

A little book with a complex parentage. Its author was the brother of its publisher (who was Bookseller to the Queen) and in 1837 he published a versification of Southey’s The Three Bears. In 1840 that was jokingly joined by a versification of the Grimms’ Wolf and the Seven Little Kids (probably based direct on the German version) and in 1841 the two stories were joined with a third on ‘The Vizier and the Woodman’. We do not know why it took George so long to catch up with Hans Christian Anderson, for The Ugly Duckling was among the favourites of the 1846 tranche of translations.

Pages 6 and 17 from ‘The Ugly Duckk of Hans Christian Anderson


Verses

It could be argued that if nobody had ever written poetry to be read primarily by children the children would not be very much the poorer. The mass of anonymous popular versifying enjoyed by everyone, which would include nursery rhymes, makes a foundation for the child’s love of rhythmic speech and, as many an anthology will prove, there is a mass of poetry written primarily for adults which can be equally enjoyed by the young. A Blake, a Lear, a Stevenson, and others can justify the genre and this section points up some of its rarer or less usual manifestations.

The Butterfly’s Birth-Day, St. Valentine’s Day. And Madam Whale’s Ball, poems to amuse and instruct the rising generation.
1808

Three sets of verses, the first signed ‘A. D. M.’, preoccupied, as with the founding party-poem, with crews of animals attending first the butterfly’s birth, bursting out of its chrysalis, second pairs of creatures on a Valentine’s parade and third various sea creatures aiming to emulate the (earlier published) ‘elephant’s rout’. Mechanical stuff, although it is good to know that some little fellows got to the birthday:

From Chester and Stilton, by waggons and stages,
Trav’ling snug in old cheeses, by land and by sea,
Congregations of Jumpers and Mites of all ages,
Fast arrived at the spot the new marvel to see.

Title page from ‘The Butterfly’s Birth-Day, St. Valentine’s Day. And Madam Whale’s Ball, poems to amuse and instruct the rising generation’

EDWARD LEAR
A Book of Nonsense
1862

I have loved Lear from childhood on (as who could not?). This third edition seems to be rarer than one might expect (the collector William B. Osgood Field only knew it through owning Lear’s proof copy!) and it is important as including 46 hitherto unpublished limericks and being illustrated with wood engravings rather than the previously hand-drawn lithographs.

The collection holds most of the later nineteenth century editions and many twentieth-century ones whose re-illustration, with the exception of the work of Edward Gorey and John Vernon Lord, are deplorable.

Front cover from ‘A Book of Nonsense


Humphrey Milford, OUP and The Water Babies

On the day that I bought H.R.Millar’s The Dreamland Express it was borne in upon me that more was going on at the London office of Oxford University Press (OUP) than I had bargained for. I began to look out more regularly for books with the Henry Frowde or Humphrey Milford imprints, conjoined usually with Oxford University Press, in catalogues and at book fairs.

The Little Old Woman of X
No date [?1916]

Humphrey Milford (later Sir Humphrey) took over from Henry Frowde at the London office of Oxford University Press in 1916 and I suspect that string-bound volumes, sometimes in little slip-cases, may have been in production before that time.

Front cover from ‘The Little Old Woman of X’

Another interest of mine is in Charles Kingsley’s famous but barmy story, which led me to collect variant editions of The Water Babies which now number about sixty. My mother read it to me as a child and I held in my memory recollections of Samber’s illustrations from the most frequently reprinted edition of the story and my aim in forming the collection was (and still is) a desire to compile a critical account of the failure of almost every illustrator to cope with the demands of Kingsley’s text.

CHARLES KINGSLEY
The Water-Babies; a fairy tale for a land-baby
1863
 

Front cover from ‘The Water-Babies; a fairy tale for a land-baby’

Below are 2 holograph fine line drawings by Harold Jones for pages 33 and 107 of the edition edited by Kathleen Lines (1961). The first drawing coloured by Harold Jones for a selling exhibition, where I bought them. The quality of Jones’s drawing is ruined by both the printing and the paper of the published edition.

2 holograph line drawings by Harold Jones for pages 33 and 107

WALT DISNEY
The Water Babies [2-colour vignette]
No date [ca. 1936]

An (expensive) catastrophe, being not only one of the ugliest books in my collection but one which has nothing to do with Charles Kingsley and his story. Still – it looks nowadays to be quite a scarce volume.

Front cover from ‘The Water Babies

Kathleen Ainslie’s Mischievous Dutch Peg Dolls

Front cover from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Front cover from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Kathleen Ainslie was an illustrator, active in the years 1900-1911. She is best-known for her series of children’s books based on jointed Dutch peg dolls which were popular during the 19th and early-20th centuries (Florence Kate Upton’s The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls and a Golliwogg had been published in 1895.)

The first of two books that we have recently added to our Rare Books Collection is Catherine Susan and Me’s coming out, published in London by Castell Brothers Ltd. and in New York by Frederick A. Stokes, c.1906 (COPAC lists just one copy, at Cambridge University).

Catherine Susan and Maria are weary of household chores so they issue a public notice to announce that they are ‘coming out’. Their coming out is both in the sense of venturing out on a trip to London and of being presented to society.

Pages 1-2 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 1-2 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Of course, such a momentous occasion requires clothes and the dolls have nothing appropriate to wear. Dutch peg dolls were sold undressed and children made clothes for them from scraps of cloth. Towards the end of the 19th Century, the female silhouette changed rapidly and, certainly in the early 20th Century, styles, designs and fabrics from other cultures had become more influential in fashion. In the haberdashery store, the dolls argue about whether to wear muslin or white satin, both of which were considered stylish at the time. In the 1880s and 1890s, small hats ornamented with birds, feathers and artificial flowers were fashionable. The mischievous dolls chase hens and then secure the feathers to their heads with hammer and nails!

Pages 11-12 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 11-12 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Catherine Susan and Maria squeeze into car and find a warm welcome in London. They are invited to attend a ball – in the 19th and early 20th centuries, numerous balls were held for members of ‘high society’. Debutante balls were occasions at which young women ‘came out’. Fans were essential: not just part of the outfit but a form of non-verbal communication conveying rejection (a closed fan), interest (an open fan) or excitement (a fluttering fan). Catherine Susan isn’t shy and sits with her fan open and, later, dances with a gentleman she tells everyone was a prince.

Pages 17-18 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 17-18 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

The dolls go to a polo match. Polo had been imported to England in the 1860s, from India, and its popularity grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Although the dolls exclaim at how fast the horses gallop, British polo was slower and more methodical than the polo played in Manipur. They also try their hands at punting. Punting boats were first built for pleasure in England in the 1860s. Pleasure punting probably started on the River Thames but became increasingly popular in the early 1900s. In the evening, they go to the theatre – although Maria doesn’t remember what they saw, from the balcony scene, it looks as though it might have been Romeo and Juliet. Victorian productions of Shakespeare’s plays often prioritised ‘authentic’ costumes and scenery and to be a bona fide actor/actress, like Henry Irving (1838-1905) or Ellen Terry (1847-1928), was to be a great Shakespearean actor.

Pages 27-28 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 27-28 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

By the end of the book, the dolls are both exhausted.

Pages 29-30 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 29-30 from ‘Catherine Susan and Me’s Coming Out’ by Kathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

The second book by Kathleen Ainslie that we have added to our Rare Books Collection is What I did, published c.1905 (COPAC lists copies held at the British Library, Manchester University and Oxford University.) Inside the front cover, someone has written in pencil “I hope you will like reading this book. It is very amusing”. This time, the protagonist is a naughty Dutch doll schoolboy and the book recounts his boarding school escapades: fagging (i.e. slaving) for an older boy called Tomkins; swimming; playing cricket; cavorting in the dormitory; and smoking.

Pages 25-26 from ‘What I Did’ by Cathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

Pages 25-26 from ‘What I Did’ by Cathleen Ainslie (Rare Books 823.912 AIN)

We do not currently have any more of Kathleen Ainslie’s Dutch peg doll books but in other stories, Catherine Susan and her companion, Maria, celebrate holidays, take on odd jobs and even agitate for women’s suffrage (Votes for Catherine Susan and Me, 1910). Ainslie wrote about 25 books (the first being Me and Catherine Susan in 1903), as well as illustrating a series of six calendars (1906-1911). They all feature the same brand of humorous chromolithographed illustrations.

24th December – ‘The Night Before Christmas’

#ChristmasCountdown

Page from 'The Night Before Christmas' (821.91 MOO)

Page from ‘The Night Before Christmas‘, 1903 (821.91 MOO)

“The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of midday to objects below – 
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.”

The above image and extract are from ‘The Night Before Christmas’,  Dean’s Rag Books Co. Ltd.

‘The Night Before Christmas’ (1903) contains colourful illustrations printed on fabric (also known as rag books) and is sewn up the spine using thread.

Dean’s Rag Books Co. Ltd, was founded in 1903, by Henry Samuel Dean. The company was originally set up to make rag books but soon diversed into rag sheets and soft toys, including teddy bears. During the 1920s and 1930s Dean’s were at the forefront of British bear manufacturing.

If you would like to see this book in Special Collections you can do so by requesting to consult in Special Collections. You may also be interested in other books as part of the 20th Century Collection.

8th December – Christmas Tree Land

#ChristmasCountdown

Illustration from 'Christmas Tree Land'

Illustration from ‘Christmas Tree Land‘ by Mrs Molesworth, 1891, titled ‘See, Rollo,’ cried Maia; ‘see, there is our Christmas tree.’ (Chorley 133)

Illustration taken from ‘Christmas Tree Land’, by Mrs Moleswoth. Illustrated by Walter Crane

‘See, Rollo,’ cried Maia; ‘see, there is our Christmas tree.’
    And there it was – the most beautiful they had yet seen – all radiant with light and glistening with every pretty present child-hearted could desire.’ (pg. 221)

The story tells of two children, Rollo and Maia, who arrive in a land of Christmas trees and their adventures in the white castle, the fir-woods, the mysterious cottage and many more.

This book is part of the Sarah Chorley Collection.

Research our Children’s Literature Collections for your PhD

Newcastle University are offering over £1million in PhD funding through the Research Excellence Academy scheme for students to start a full-time PhD in autumn 2016. The University’s Children’s Literature Unit would particularly welcome applications for this funding to study our children’s literature collections.

Newcastle University’s Research Excellence Academy PhD Studentships

Each studentship covers tuition fees and living expenses for the three years of your PhD studies. There are two schemes available:

Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences: This scheme covers a number of academic subjects, including English Literature. This funding would particularly suit cross-disciplinary research proposals. The deadline for applications is 30th April 2016. See: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/postgraduate/funding/sources/allstudents/hrea16.html

School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics: There are a number of studentships available and your main supervisor will be based within the School of English. The department are also offering extra support to international applicants. The deadline for applications is 5pm on 16th May 2016. See: http://www.ncl.ac.uk/elll/study/postgraduate/funding/reastudentshipslitandcw.htm

Our Children’s Literature Collections

Our children’s literature collections hold great potential for academic research. As well as the Booktrust collection of contemporary children’s books, we hold a number of Special Collections children’s literature.

Britnell Collection A collection of late 19th and early 20th Century children’s literature, focusing on literacy, language, and moral instruction.

Burnett Collection A collection of children’s books and annuals published in the early to mid-20th century. Includes Timothy’s Quest (1900) and Girl’s Fun Annual (1952).

burnett-professor-mark-collection

Butler Collection Includes 18th century pamphlets, books by the likes of Daniel Defoe and J.M. Barrie and titles illustrated by Randolph Caldecott.

butler-joan-collection

Davin Collection Contemporary editions of popular children’s literature largely from the early 20th Century. Also includes catalogues and critical responses to children’s literature.

Chorley Collection Children’s literature chiefly from the 19th century. Includes Kate Greenaway’s Almanack for 1884, R. M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island and the work of Randolph Caldecott.

chorley-sarah-collection

Meade Collection Around 180 books by L.T. Meade which were published between 1878 and 2003. Titles include: The Autocrat of the Nursery, Kitty O’Donovan and The Scamp Family.

meade-l-t

If you are considering applying for either of Newcastle University’s Research Excellence Academy studentship opportunities in children’s literature, please contact Dr. Lucy Pearson, lucy.pearson@newcastle.ac.uk / +44 (0) 191 208 3894.

To find out more about our holdings please refer to the Collections Guide. To discover how you can consult materials see Using our collections.

150th Anniversary of the birth of Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

Lithograph portrait of Rudyard Kipling by William Nicholson, 1899 (Pollard Collection)

Lithograph portrait of Rudyard Kipling by William Nicholson, 1899 (Pollard Collection)

150 years ago, on 30th December 1865, Alice and John Lockwood Kipling welcomed their son, Joseph Rudyard, into the world. Rudyard Kipling would go on to become something of a celebrity, with notoriety as a ’poet of empire’. Despite this reputation and his friendships with the likes of Cecil Rhodes and King George V, Kipling declined a knighthood, the Poet Laureateship and the Order of Merit; although he did accept other awards including the Nobel Prize for Literature (1907) and an honorary degree from the University of Durham (1907). After a perforated ulcer took his life on 18th January 1936, he was given a Westminster Abbey funeral – Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin was among his pallbearers. He lies in Poets’ Corner.

Kipling’s early years were spent in India – first in Bombay (now called Mumbai) and later in Lahore and Allahabad. (An 11-year interlude in England from the age of five was an unhappy period.) He found work as a journalist and editor, first with the Civil and Military Gazette and then with its sister paper, the Pioneer. Throughout this period, however, he was writing and publishing short stories and poems and his writing reflected the culture, language, sights, sounds and smells of India that he had fallen in love with as a child and was experiencing on adolescent insomnia-fuelled nocturnal walks. His writing was critically well-received and was popular in England.

Hoping to leverage some of his fame, Kipling returned to the UK where he met agent and publisher, Wolcott Balestier. This proved to be a life-changing encounter: Kipling married Balestier’s sister, Caroline (Carrie) in 1892, settled in her native America and had three children with her – Josephine, Elsie and John.  Kipling liked to be around children and flourished as a writer of juvenile fiction, enchanting boys and girls with works such as The Jungle Book (1894) and penning parental advice, in verse, to his son in the poem ‘If’ (1895).

‘Rikki Tikki Tavi the mongoose and cobra’ by Charles Maurice Detmold for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, 1902 (Pollard Collection)

‘Rikki Tikki Tavi the mongoose and cobra’ by Charles Maurice Detmold for Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, 1902 (Pollard Collection)

A publically sensationalised quarrel with brother-in-law, Beatty, and the death from pneumonia of Josephine drove Kipling into retreat in England. Again, he focussed on his writing, publishing Just So Stories (1902) in tribute to Josephine. [Newcastle University Special Collections holds the 1955 reprint]

As Kipling withdrew from public view, Europe prepared for war against Germany. Kipling supported the war, perceiving it to be a battle between civilisation and barbarism. He served as a war correspondent from the trenches in France and was keen for his son, John, to see active service, pulling strings to get him enlisted with the Irish Guards. John was killed at the Battle of Loos (September 1915) – he was 18 years old and his body has never been undisputedly identified. Kipling, distraught, turned his attention away from children’s stories and towards involvement with the Imperial (now Commonwealth) War Graves Commission: he helped to create graveyards, advising on the language to be used for the memorial inscriptions; wrote a regimental history of the Irish Guards; and influenced the wording of the letter which would be sent, on the King’s command, from Lord Derby (Secretary of State for War) to mourning relatives. By this time, Kipling’s literary prominence was waning as the world tried to come to terms with the aftermath of the First World War and Kipling with his own grief.

In 2011 the Friends of University Library purchased a significant collection of Kipling’s work in first and early editions; as well as material relating to Kipling, such as ephemera and cuttings which had been brought together by Mr Eric Pollard. The Pollard Collection is accessible via the Library’s online catalogue and the Special Collections team invite as wide an audience as possible to use it. Kipling’s work has been appraised and reappraised over the years and the Pollard Collection demonstrates the breadth of his work.

A Special Collections exhibition will draw upon the collection to remember Kipling in February 2016 – the year that marks the 80th anniversary of his death.

Kipling’s signature, from a letter to Lord Derby, 8th December 1917 (Manuscript Album)

Kipling’s signature, from a letter to Lord Derby, 8th December 1917 (Manuscript Album)

24th December – Santa Claus Poem

SANTA POEM

To finish our #Christmaschsirtmas countdown blogs we have found a jolly poem called ‘Santa Claus’. The above poem is taken from ‘The Big Christmas Wonder Book’. The book comprises of short children’s poems as well as short and longer stories, amongst various illustrations.

This book is part of the Joan Butler Collection.

15th December – December Calendar from Kate Greenaway’s 1890 Almanack

December - Almanack from 1890 by Kate Greenaway

 

Beautiful wintry scene illustration taken from December’s calendar from Kate Greenaway’s Almanack for 1890 – Engraved by Edmund Evans – Published by G. Routledge & Sons

Catherine Greenaway (1846 – 1901), known as Kate Greenaway, was an English children’s book illustrator and writer. Her most popular books are Under the Window (1879)Kate Greenaway’s Birthday Book for Children (1880), Mother Goose; or, The Old Nursery Rhymes (1881), and A Painting Book (1884).

Her almanacs ran from 1883 up until 1897, with no 1896 issue being published. Each almanac included a Jan-Dec calendar, beautifully drawn illustrations and short poems. Her almanacs were sold throughout America, England, Germany and France and were produced with different variations and in different languages.

Kate Greenaway’s Almanacks are from the Sarah Chorley Collection. Find her 1890 almanack and others here.

 

150 years of Alice in Wonderland

Front cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1922) 20th Century Collection 823.8 CAR

Front cover of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1922) 20th Century Collection 823.8 CAR

 

This year celebrates the 150th anniversary of jam tarts, rabbit holes, mad hatters, secret doors, tea parties and even more ‘curiouser and curiouser’ delights in Lewis Carroll’s fantasy children’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Published in 1865, the tale follows Alice, a seven year old girl, who falls asleep and enters a world full of nonsense. Upon following the White Rabbit, she encounters many iconic characters whose symbolism aim to teach children lessons surrounding growing up, identity and curiosity.

Lewis Carroll is a pseudonym of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. Born in the village of Daresbury, Chesire, he was the eldest boy in a family of eleven children. Carroll was educated at home, until the age of twelve when he was sent to Richmond Grammar School in North Yorkshire. In 1851 he registered at Christ Church, Oxford, where he excelled at maths. He received the Christ Church Mathematical Lectureship in 1855, which he continued to hold for the next twenty six years. However, he is best known as an adept storyteller; spinning new tales to entertain his friends.

Reproduction of a tipped-in colour plate by Gwynedd M. Hudson depicting the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Reproduction of a tipped-in colour plate by Gwynedd M. Hudson depicting the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was inspired by real events and a real child. The story occurred in 1862 during a river outing with Henry Liddell, the Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, and his family. Along the journey Carroll spoke of a bored little girl called Alice who goes looking for adventure. Alice Liddell (one of three daughters on the trip) loved the story so much that she asked for it to be written down. Carroll agreed and he eventually completed the story two and a half years later.

The enchanting tale has charmed both children and adults through numerous re-prints, theatre productions, film adaptations and more. Special Collections hold a version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that was published in 1922 by Hodder and Stoughton and contains twelve reproduced illustrations of highly detailed tipped-in colour plates by Gwynedd M. Hudson. Each illustration contains specific scenes from the story, including Alice receiving advice from the Caterpillar, Alice and the Queen of Hearts playing croquet, and Alice meeting the Gryphon and the Mock Turtle. Hudson passed away at the age of twenty six but, despite her short life, she is noted for her remarkable illustrations in J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and Wendy as well as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Reproduction of a tipped-in colour plate by Gwynedd M. Hudson

Reproduction of a tipped-in colour plate by Gwynedd M. Hudson

Isaac Taylor’s Scenes In America, an Exotic Moral Voyage for ‘Little Tarry-at-Home Travellers’

Image

‘ONCE again your friend a hearing

Claims from you, my little miss;

With a volume neat appearing,

Full of pictures, see, ‘tis this.

 

Long ago he gave a promise

O’er America to roam;

Travelling far and wide, tho’ from his

House ne’er moving, still at home.

 

Yet o’er many a volume poring,

Such as you could hardly read;

Distant realms and climes exploring,

Your enquiring minds to feed.

 

He has travelled thro’ and thro’ them,

Often wearied with his toil,

That at ease you here might view them,

Gath’ring knowledge all the while….’

RB375 9 TAY TITLE

RB375 9 TAY TITLE

These verses open Isaac Taylor’s Scenes in America, for the Amusement and Instruction of Little Tarry-at-Home Travellers (1821). Scenes in America was part of the wider Scenes series, ‘a series of armchair traveller books for children’.Other titles included Scenes in Europe (1818) and Scenes in Africa (1820), as well as several other titles.

The books in the Scenes series follow a standard pattern: ‘three small, coloured engravings appear on each page of illustrations, and they are linked by captions to the scenes which they represent. As for the text, it is rather light in tone, mixing prose and verse with the instruction which was its putative purpose’.

Isaac Taylor was a man of many talents. He was a talented engraver and artist, a popular Church pastor, an ardent educationalist, and a successful children’s writer. Taylor’s educationalist outlook was both a major part of his life and his literary work. As deacon of an Independent congregation in Lavenham, Suffolk, Taylor had founded a Sunday School, where his ‘successive workrooms doubled as schoolrooms for his own children and later for those of neighbours too, Taylor giving instruction from his engraving stool as he worked’. When the family moved to Colchester, ‘he began a series of monthly lectures for young people, delivered free of charge in the parlour of his own house; these proved extremely popular and the programme continued for several years’.

Taylor’s belief in education and the stimulation of young minds can be seen as a driving force in his production of the Scenes series. However, Taylor’s moral and educational instruction could also take on a more overt form. Taylor was an ardent opponent of slavery and the slave trade. Scenes in Africa had spoken out against slavery, and Scenes in America reinforced those sentiments. Taylor was keen to explain to his young readers that, although they may have won a victory by abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire, they had not yet won the war against slavery:

‘Although the slave trade is happily put an end to, so that no more can be brought over; yet there are many thousand negroes who are still slaves. It has made no difference to them, except that their masters are not so oppressive to them, as they cannot easily replace them if they die’. P.61

The moral decay slavery caused in those who took part in it was evident the ‘masters’ who only cared for their profit. This moral dimension was of course part of Taylor’s moral education of his readers. But he also mentioned the physical brutality and callousness of slavers: ‘To every party there is an overseer, who stalks among them with a long whip, ready to lash any who do not work fast enough to please him’. The images this passage conjured would no doubt have made an impact on his young audience.

As J.R Oldfield has suggested, ‘most children’s books published between 1750 and 1850 were unashamedly moralistic and concerned, above all, with inculcating a compassionate humanitarianism’. Taylor’s abolitionist message in his books certainly fits this wider trend, but it also within the more specific trend of attempting to create an anti-slavery consensus ‘through the education of young and impressionable minds’.

Yet Scenes in America was far more than a moral instruction book. It was meant to evoke a sense of wonder in the reader, of this faraway world and the flora and fauna it contained. There were strange animals found there, like the ‘dreadful serpent’ the rattlesnake, the ‘passionate’ hummingbird, and, ‘glowing with celestial light’, the firefly. He showed the reader societies of people with different customs and ways of life. Taylor devotes sections to several difficult indigenous groups, and the engravings provide tantalising glimpses of these exotic lands to stimulate the minds of child readers (the accuracy of these descriptions and engravings, is of course, another matter). No doubt some of these are sensationalised or included for dramatic effect, such as the section ‘Sacrificing a Child on its Mother’s Grave’. Yet there are also sections on ‘Hunting the Buffalo on the Ice’, ‘Indian Sagacity’, and ‘the Pipe of Peace’. For those interested in studying European perceptions of indigenous Americans, Taylor’s work provides an example of an attempt to show the cultural diversity of Native American societies, while at the same time never quite seeing them as worthy or as equal as his own.

RB375 9 TAY 28-29

RB375 9 TAY 28-29

Scenes in America was also an abridged history of European involvement in the New World. The narratives of the Spanish conquistadors of course provided an exciting tale for his readers, from Columbus’ contact to the conquests of Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro. Indeed, the history of what we would call Latin America takes up approximately half of the book, so Scenes is in no way a glorified account of English and British settlement. But North American history was also discussed, with sections ranging in content from religious emigration to the New World, to the American War of Independence, with sections on Canada and, as we have seen, the West Indies.

RB375 9 TAY 68-69

RB375 9 TAY 68-69

 

It wasn’t just the grander narratives of history that Taylor included. He discussed the daily lives of the ordinary settlers and tried to portray a sense of their daily lives, with sections such as ‘New Settlers First Log House’, and ‘Cultivating Tobacco’.

The fruits of Taylor’s educational mission can be seen in the literary and artistic abilities of his own children. Indeed, the family have been labelled as ‘amongst the most famous and prolific children’s authors and illustrators of the early nineteenth century’.

Ann and Jane Taylor were successful children’s poets, with Jane in particular achieving prominence. Her works include the still famous classic (and often anonymised) Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). Jane was also well regarded as an essayist and literary critic. We hold several of Jane’s works here in Special Collections, including Original Poems for Infant Minds and The Memoirs, Correspondence, and Poetical Remains of Jane Taylor, edited by her brother Isaac.

Isaac himself was known as a writer on theology, philosophy, and history. He was also a talented artist and engraver (indeed, he collaborated with his father to produce the illustrations for Scenes in America). We hold a number of his works here in Special Collections. These include The Natural History of Enthusiasm, the work that made his name, and Home Education, a work clearly influenced by his own experiences.

Jefferys Taylor, the youngest child, also gained prominence as a children’s writer, producing numerous works of varied character over a number of years. Like his father’s writings, Jefferys’ works ‘were overtly educational in purpose’, but their message was delivered through fictional or adventurous settings. Like his siblings, he also engraved some of the illustrations for his own books.

One of the verses in the conclusion contains a pearl of Taylor’s wisdom that is perhaps even more relevant today than then, and that we would all do well to remember:

 ‘Geography true is delightful,

To know it impatient I burn;

And ignorance here too is frightful,

So easy it is now to learn.’