Friday, September 11, 2009

The Lighthouse Children Series

The study of words must be a fascinating one. How a word has different meanings in different generations has always interested me. This series is a great example. The second book of the series is entitled : " The Ignoramuses". Now to my way of thinking that means dolts, idiots and/or morons. It would not be a good name for a book. But in 1887 it's general meaning was not mean spirited, it just meant ignorant.

Mary Bradford Crowninshield , the author of this series, was the wife of a U.S. Lighthouse inspector. The first book follows the adventures of two boys and a girl on a lighthouse inspection tour along the coast on Maine. The second book details the follow up adventures of the first book's family as they travel in Europe.

As was typical of the travelogue books of the era, the books are oversized and were published with two different covers: the more expensive cloth with gilt and the illuminated board covers. The first printings were just in cloth. Later both the cloth and the board covers were published. I have not seen book #2 in board covers and I do not think it exists. The cloth books were $2.50 when they first went on sale. Later the price came down to $2.25 while the illuminated board books were $1.75. (Books #1 and #3)

The first book was published initially by D. Lothrop and Company. The second book and subsequent reprints beginning in 1887 were published by D.Lothrop Company. L.J. Bridgman illustrated both stories.

1. All Among the Lighthouses 1886
2. The Ignoramuses 1887
3. Lighthouse Children Abroad 1889
(The third book above is really the same as the second book with a name change)

1 comment:

  1. Interesting on the language (Ignoramuses). I found similar language in an old book called Heredity and You and blogged about the IQ section here. Politically incorrect language we wouldn't use today to describe one's intelligence... except for fellow drivers on Houston freeways!