Jack and Jill Illustrations from a Hundred Years Ago

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, August 25, 1913:  Nothing much doing.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I decided to share this illustrated version of Jack and Jill that appeared in the August, 1913 issue of Good Housekeeping.


Today most middle class family have oodles of picture books, and can easily access lots more at a nearby library (and kids with tech savvy parents may be reading electronic versions of books rather than hard copies—but I’m not going there).

A hundred years ago, children’s books were relatively expensive, kids often had few books, and many people did not have access to libraries.

Women’s magazines back then often had features aimed at children like this one. Many parents probably saved them so that their children could read it again and again.

15 thoughts on “Jack and Jill Illustrations from a Hundred Years Ago

  1. A lot of children’s books are still quite expensive, so it’s good we have access to libraries. Love the illustrations. I used to enjoy the children’s corner in the newspaper.

  2. Really nice illustrations! I remember around Christmas time, Family Circle (or Woman’s Day) used to have a childrens’ Christmas story in the magazine. I’m not sure if they do that any longer.

  3. I can remember a book always being among one of my Christmas gifts and I would be so thrilled. We usually visited the library weekly.
    Does anyone remember Betsy McCall? My mother would cut those pages out of her McCall’s magazine every month for me (in the 60s). 🙂

  4. It’s interesting that Jack has ginger hair in this version. Considering the aversion to red hair in the past (which persists in some places), I wonder if his hair is meant to suggest some amount of comedy in his fall (like they’re clowns, who are often portrayed as having red hair). By the way, this post reminds me of a letter Harper Lee wrote in which she mentions how scare and how valuable books were. I link to the letter in this post: http://misfortuneofknowing.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/illiteracy-and-the-digital-divide-the-difference-between-soft-pages-and-cold-metal/

  5. Some of those old books were still lingering at my grandparents’ houses when I was little–I loved them! They were my first introduction to the idea that things occurred a long time ago before I was there, and were like magic doors taking me back.

    I still love those old illustrations.

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