Sunday, August 9, 2009

Kate Douglas Wiggin , BAL and Half-A-Dozen Housekeepers

Jacob Blanck's monumental nine volume Bibliography of American Literature (BAL) is something to behold. Blanck who has written Peter Parley to Penrod and A bibliography of Harry Castlemon worked on the nine volumes for many years until his death in 1974. After his death Virginia Symers and Michael Winship took over. The volumes alphabetically include the works of 281 authors. Volume 1 was published in 1955 and volume 9 was published in 1991.

The work began on January 1, 1944 with an announcement in the News Sheet of the Bibliographical Society of America about the project and the financing from an Endowment of the Lilly Foundation. Systematically large collections of books and various authors were reviewed.

During the course of the work various authors were included and others were excluded. A committee made the determination. It may seem that the choices of authors are sometimes peculiar. But what has been pointed out is that authors were selected during a time when it seemed appropriate to include them. A similar work now might have different authors. (The 1993-1994 AB Bookman's Yearbook). It is a shame it was completed long before the time when inclusion of pictures could be easily accomplished.

What is clear is that very few of the children's books and the publishers' that I know about are included in BAL. There are exceptions though. Those exceptions will be discussed from time to time. One exception is a book by Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923) Half- a -Dozen Housekeepers.

Wiggin was an educator, the founder of the first Kindergarten in San Francisco and an author. She wrote her early books in the 1870's with an idea of raising money for her kindergarten. Her best known book was probably Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. After her first marriage she moved to New York and worked with the New York Kindergarten Association. After his death she remarried in 1895. Later she travelled through Europe and England with her second husband. Her Penelope books were based on these travels. Her 1923 autobiography published by Houghton, Miflin was entitled My Garden of Memory. In future blogs there will be more to come about this author

The book Half-a-Dozen Housekeepers is the only Wiggin book that Henry Altemus Company published. It is listed at as non series book #65. This 1903 book had three printings documented in BAL. It is relatively easy to distinguish its chronology.

The first printing which is either maroon or pale blue does not have the prefatory statement after page ix.

The second printing is pale blue with the prefatory statement.

The third printing is tan with blue lettering with the prefatory statement.

All three books had the same dust jacket.

1 comment:

  1. yes indeed, can you imagine using B.A.L. with color photos for all the titles?...I've often felt the slight burn of frustration when consulting it that so few items are pictured...and how interesting it might be to find variants while doing so....the publishers variant cloth types photos are wonderful, but difficult to consult readily and have such limited applicability....