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Realms of Gold and Granite

The Bookshop for Boys and Girls was born, in a twelvemonth, with a pedigree and a distinguished list of patrons. Its role was largely determined from the outset. But life, real life, is also a string of accidents. Bertha Mahony was thirty-three and restless after ten years as a good right-hand at Boston’s Women’s Educational […]

The Horn Book League

“The Horn Book League . . . , like the St. Nicholas League after which it was modeled and whose motto it bore, . . . was made up of artwork, poems, and essays sent in by boys and girls. The first column appeared in the March-April 1949 Horn Book under a headpiece designed by Hilda van Stockum, an […]

Horn Book Reminiscence from Elizabeth Orton Jones

By Elizabeth Orton Jones Tchrr-r-r-r! The phone would ring. I’d answer, and after a considerable while I’d hear a faint little quavery voice, as if someone were calling me from beyond the Pleiades . . . “E-li-i-izabeth?” It would be my dear friend Bertha Mahony Miller, calling from Ashburnham, Massachusetts, about seventeen miles from Mason, New Hampshire, where I […]

Horn Book Reminiscence from Karen Jameyson

By Karen Jameyson “Hello, is that the horny book?” the husky voice inquired. “Umm . . . well . . . ” Not that I knew of, but then I’d only been working at the Horn Book, Inc., for a couple of days when I answered that phone call from someone looking for a porn magazine. Maybe those tidy rows of children’s books […]

Horn Book Reminiscence from Elizabeth Dyer Halbrooks

By Elizabeth Dyer Halbrooks One day back in 1963 I bumped into Ruth Hill Viguers, then editor of The Horn Book Magazine, at the Star Market. After a short chat, she said, “Are you still looking for a job? We have a wonderful opening at the Horn Book. The business manager is leaving.” I couldn’t […]

Preach and Practice

The small, compact figure on the cover, with a book by her side, is and is not a picture of Ethel Heins. It’s unmistakably the work of M. B. Goffstein, from her late period of pastel life-studies, and it comes from a scrapbook of tributes to Heins on her retirement from the helm of the Horn […]

Politi for Christmas

On her first visit to California in January 1947, Bertha Mahony Miller spent a productive evening with the rising illustrator Leo Politi. From the evidence, it was a thoroughly congenial evening too. Bertha Miller was rounding out thirty busy years as editor of the Horn Book and director of its progenitor, The Bookshop for Boys […]

Peter Says Please

In August 1927 the Horn Book carried an appeal for help in preserving the Lake District countryside in the names of two eminent English countryfolk, Peter Rabbit and Beatrix Potter. In the illustrated letter, Peter pleads mutely, like a dog begging for a bone. But they do not come empty-handed, says Potter, offering a signed […]

What did we think of…?

We know these books as classics now, but each started as one of the many review copies delivered to the Horn Book office every week. What did our reviewers think the first time they saw a book by Dr. Seuss? What about when Madeleine L’Engle, a moderately successful writer of realistic family stories, decided to […]

Treasure Island by the Roadside

On a July morning in 1920, a strange, hybrid vehicle headed north out of Boston for a summer’s tour of New England towns and villages, for all the world like a traveling circus or a band of puppeteers. Aboard were a pair of young women with a working knowledge, between them, of auto mechanics, shopkeeping, […]