Bertha Mahony Miller


Bertha Mahony Miller in 1929
Bertha Mahony Miller in 1929

Bertha Everett Mahony was born in Rockport, MA, in 1882. After a year at the Secretarial School at Simmons College, she joined the staff of the Women's Educational and Industrial Union (WEIU), a Boston institution organized to protect and promote the status of working women, as Assistant Secretary in 1906. Ten years later, under the auspices of the WEIU, she opened The Bookshop for Boys and Girls, where she worked tirelessly to ensure that her customers had access to the best new children's books available.  

The store regularly sponsored story hours, art exhibits, and a poetry series where such luminaries as Carl Sandberg, Robert Frost, TS Eliot, and Archibald MacLesh came to read their works to children. All of these activities were designed to instill in young patrons a lifelong love of reading. In 1916, eager to reach a wider public with information on good books, Miss Mahony Mahony engineered an arrangement with the WEIU and a variety of publishers to underwrite costs for a traveling book caravan.  

In 1924, with her colleague Elinor Whitney, Bertha Mahony founded The Horn Book Magazine, the first magazine exclusively devoted to children's books and reading. In 1932, the year of her marriage to William Davis Miller, she withdrew from the bookshop to concentrate her energies on publishing the Magazine, which had amiably ended its association with the WEIU.  

Bertha Mahony Miller died in 1969 at her home in Ashburnham, MA. Her energy, commitment, and dedication to finding and promoting the best books available for children and young adults are still a driving force behind The Horn Book Magazine


About or by Bertha Mahony Miller:  


Bertha Mahony Miller's inaugural editorial

  • Article about Bertha Mahony Miller in Atlantic Monthly


Reminiscences of early Horn Book days (September/October 1999 Horn Book Magazine)

An old friend remembers her neighbor  

A young reader visits the bookshop 


Horn Book history: Barbara Bader's and Lolly Robinson's Horn Book Magazine pieces on Bertha Mahony Miller

Selling children's books off the back of a truck  

Beatrix Potter befriends the Horn Book  

An up-and-coming artist's holiday keepsake  

Miss Mahony opens her Bookshop for Boys and Girls in 1916  

The Horn Book's global vision was always clear 

Why Beatrix Potter cottoned to Bertha Miller


Scrapbook items of interest


More Bertha Mahony Miller on 


Horn Book
Horn Book

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