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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 […]

Book caravan clippings | full size images

Book Caravan diary transcriptions

During the Book Caravan‘s second summer of traveling around New England, operators Ruth Drake and Pauline Langley, two young Bookshop employees, kept a diary of their experiences. While Bertha Mahony’s venture failed to make a profit, it succeeded in spreading the word about great books for children and adults. Friday, 29 July 1921 Wenham day […]

Book caravan clippings

For more about the Book Caravan, read Barbara Bader’s Horn Book Magazine article, “Treasure Island by the Roadside.” We also offer a slideshow of photos of the Caravan and transcriptions of selected pages from the caravan diary. For full-size images of these clippings, go to this page. Apparently, all the major newsreel companies ran features […]

The Bookshop’s Book Caravan

In the summers of 1920 and 1921, Bertha Mahony had a truck outfitted to sell books and trained two booksellers from her Bookshop for Boys and Girls to drive and maintain it. Though the Book Caravan was a commercial flop, it got plenty of attention in its day, including featured stories by all the movie […]

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, […]

Why is it called “The Horn Book”?

Back in the sixteenth century, English monks began to make hornbooks to help their pupils learn to read. Usually a wooden paddle with an alphabet and a verse glued to the surface, hornbooks derived their name from the piece of transparent horn protecting the verse. The picture to the right shows a modern replica of […]