The Children's Album of Pictures and Stories; Abridged. Asa Bullard.
The Children's Album of Pictures and Stories; Abridged

The Children's Album of Pictures and Stories; Abridged

Springfield, MA: W.J. Holland & Co, 1867. Decorative Cloth. Octavo. Good. Item #016416

160p. A book that reminds the reader that life for children except for the privileged classes was very bleak a century and a half ago. One might expect some of these accounts when reading Dickens' descriptions of London but here is the unvarnished truth--a child's life was expected to be one of hardship made far worse by the slighest digression from the rules. The picture and story on p. 31 of the little boy in prison would be incomprehensible for anyone who has lived in the last half of the Twentieth Century. Neil Postman's The Disappearance of Childhood alludes to this era and shows how such tendencies have come back though in a different way from the media and the culture's sexualization of children. And while we might lament the "Little Woman" and "Little Men" of Alcott being reminded all the time of Henry Adam's note about the little boys in their starched fine shirts of New England that "mentally they never were boys", there is a far darker period here for the lower classes. Their lot like Hobbes was "nasty, brutish and short" The clergyman author tells us of a man who had been executed for burglary but he had begun his fiendish decline by taking money from his mother's purse." While this book does not provide the even bleaker picture that would emerge a generation late from the work of Jacob Riis, it nevertheless tells us that it was not a gentler America though historians of culture might well argue that today we have exchanged one hell for another.

Price: $65.00

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