LITTLE HELEN; OR A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A NAUGHTY GIRL

(New Haven: S. Babcock, n.d., circa 1825).

This children’s book is called a chapbook, a more modern term that derives from the chapmen. Chapmen were pedlars who hawked their goods in towns and villages, and at country fairs. In 1553, Edward VI proclaimed that champmen must be licensed and Chettle, in Kind Hart’s Dreame (1592) wrote that “‘Chapmen are able to spred more pamphlets...then all the booksellers in town.’” Although they sold other wares, too, they always had cheap booklets, sometimes ballad sheets which eventually assumed the familiar form af a miniature booklet, with a paper cover that usually had a picture. Even Shakespeare, in Henry IV, mentioned the chapmen as did Urquhart’s Rabelais in 1653. With the growth of small printers, miniature editions of old favourites could be printed. While chapbooks were ostensibly designed to help children learn how to read, they often broached adult subjects and were the source of entertainment in families and villages.
This book is one of the series of “moral, instructive and entertaining toy books” put out by Babcock’s. Item #15982

First edition. RARE. 7 engravings “for the mind and the eye” and decorative borders on each page 12mo, in original paper with blue wrappers, very nicely designed border on upper and lower covers, illustrations on upper cover and inside lower cover; advertisement on lower cover. 16 pp. A very good copy with attractive designs on covers and pages.

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Price: $500.00