This first series features books from between the 1850s to 1881.
Books from between 1881 to 1904 will appear here later in the year.
Until the mid-18th century, children's books mainly consisted of moralistic or enlightening stories propagating the religious and ethical view that hard work and diligence determines a person's life. Little consideration was given to children's reading pleasure.
The focus in children's books gradually shifted from simple moral lessons to entertainment, with techniques of expression employed specifically for that purpose. Books carrying witty illustrations or exploring children's inner life also began to appear. The mid-19th century saw the development of girls' novels and narratives of family life.
This is part 9 of an 11-part series on children's books 1850s - 1881:
1880 Launch the Lifeboat! by Mrs. O.F. Walton
drawings by H.J. Rhodes
published by The Religious Tract Society, London:
The Religious Tract Society, founded 1799, 56 Paternoster Row and 65 St. Paul's Chuchyard and 164 Piccadilly, London, was the original name of a major British publisher of Christian literature intended initially for evangelism, and including literature aimed at children, women, and the poor.The RTS is also notable for being the publisher of the “Boy’s Own Paper,” “Girl’s Own Paper” and “The Leisure Hour.”
The society started by publishing tracts, but rapidly expanded their work into the production of books and periodicals. Their books were mostly small but did include larger works such as the multi-volume Devotional Commentary and the massive Analytical Concordance to the Bible of Robert Young. From the 1860s, the Society began publishing novels aimed at women and children, providing a platform for a new generation of women writers.
In 1935 the RTS merged with the Christian Literature Society for India and Africa to form the United Society for Christian Literature (USCL). In 1931, there was a change of imprint to Lutterworth Press for all RTS publications intended for the home market.
1880 Pretty Peggy and Other Ballads
illustrated by Rosina Emmet
published by Dodd, Mead & Company, New York:
Rosina Emmet Sherwood (1854–1948) was an American painter. She may have received her earliest training in art from her mother; a sketchbook dating to 1873 was in the hands of family members in 1987. Rosina travelled to Europe in 1876–1877, and was presented to Queen Victoria during the trip.
|Rosina Emmet Sherwood|
Returning to New York, she and her friend Dora Wheeler began study with William Merritt Chase, and by 1881 she took studio space in the Tenth Street Studio Building. Among her earliest works were illustrations for publications such as “Harper’s Magazine,” and in 1880 she won the $1,000 first prize in a competition to design a Christmas card for Louis Prang & Company. Sherwood and Wheeler worked together in the design firm Associated Artists, run by Candace Wheeler, Dora's mother; they designed tapestries, curtains, and wallpaper. Subjects included a variety drawn from American literature. In 1884–1885 the women attended classes at the Académie Julian in Paris.
A drawing by Sherwood is held in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Dodd, Mead and Company was one of the pioneer publishing houses of the United States, based in New York City. Under several names, the firm operated from 1839 until 1990. Dodd, Mead and Company was first established in New York City as the firm Taylor and Dodd.
The founders of the company, Moses Woodruff Dodd and John S. Taylor, originally set out to publish religious books, with their first title published being Obligations of the World to the Bible, A Series of Lectures to Young Men (1839). In 1840, Dodd bought Taylor out of the young firm and continued to successfully publish alone for about thirty years. Dodd’s son Frank H. succeeded him in 1870. Frank H. would later be responsible for establishing The Bookman in 1895 and his work with The New International Encyclopedia in 1902, but before those successes, Dodd’s nephew Edward S. Mead became a partner in the firm. Shortly after the company was renamed Dodd and Mead, Bleecker Van Wagenen also became a partner. The firm was again renamed Dodd, Mead and Company and added a retail department in 1876.
Through the 1890s and early 1900s Dodd, Mead and Company expanded publications to include a variety of British and American authors.