Editorial, First Issue, 1924

We chose this title — THE HORNBOOK — because of its early and honorable place in the history of children’s literature, but in our use of it we are giving it a lighter meaning, as Mr. Caldecott’s three jovial huntsmen on the cover suggest. Just as they are so full of exuberant joy for the hunt that they cannot blow hard enough, so we are so full of enthusiasm for The Bookshop as a hunting-ground, and so keen on the trail of you lovers of books, that we must blow a horn — even our own horn — a little.

First of all, however, we are publishing this sheet to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls — their authors, their illustrators, and their publishers. Small and inconspicuous space in the welter of present-day printing is given to the description and criticism of these books, and yet the finest type of writing, illustrating, and printing goes into them.

We hope to make our book notes and lists interesting to boys and girls themselves, to parents, to librarians, and to teachers, and by this means we shall keep our Suggestive Purchase List up to date. We also hope to give book news not covered elsewhere, including occasional short sketches of people who have done most for children’s literature and who should be remembered. We shall be glad to answer book questions, and if we receive at any time a particularly interesting letter about books, we shall print it in The Hornbook.

We find, too, that some of our friends live far away from Boston and come to see us only once a year. To them we want The Hornbook to carry greetings and news of The Bookshop and of The Bookshop staff.

Lest this horn-blowing become tiresome to you or to us, we shall publish The Hornbook only when we have something of real interest to say; not oftener than four times a year.

You may expect the next number on the first day of Children’s Book Week, November 10, 1924.

This editorial appeared in the first issue of The Horn Book Magazine, October 1924.

Reprinted in the January/February 2024 issue of The Horn Book Magazine. For more Horn Book centennial coverage, click here.

Bertha Mahony Miller
Bertha Mahony Miller
Bertha Everett Mahony Miller was born in 1882. She joined the staff of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union which protected and promoted the status of Boston’s working women, in 1906. Ten years later, under the auspices of her employer, she opened the Bookshop for Boys and Girls. In 1924, when she and colleague Elinor Whitney decided the shop should publish a booklist of recommended titles, they called their new journal The Horn Book.

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