Friday, February 3, 2012

Read Victorian American Books: The Girl’s Own Book 1833

the girls own book 2

The Girl’s Own Book, 1833

One interesting book, not only for its contents but also for its presentation, design and illustrations is The Girl’s Own Book, written by Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) and published by Clark Austin & co. in New York in 1833. Much has been said of the way little girls were educated in those times, especially in regards to discipline, but this book takes these little girls from yesteryear to another world, the world of child and play, the world of good behave, the world of occupying the time being creative, skilled and intelligent. By showing games, some of them old enough to be remembered nowadays, which is of great help for parents, educators and simply curious people for all things old, by explaining how to develop skills in art and handcrafting, this book is one of a kind.

blind mans buff

Blind Man’s Buff

Here I will include some of the subjects the books presents and I think it can be useful for girls and little boys as well, it is a good book that takes us back in time to the world of nature, laughter and innocence.

The book, as I say, shows games that are now almost forgotten, if not forgotten regarding some of them. It is always a pleasure to rediscover what our ancestors were playing and were happy about.

Book A Course of Calisthenics for the use of Schools and Families

From the book “A Course of Calisthenics for the use of schools and families”

Some activities include active exercises, mind games, handcrafting and more are: A gaping, wide mouthed, waddling Frog; Alumets; Alphabetical Compliments; Anagrams; On the keeping of Animals; Arithmetical Puzzles; Automata; Bead-Work; Blind Man’s Buff; Bo Peep; Bob Cherry; Calisthenics; Candle Ornaments; Charades; Chinese Boxes, Puzzles and Shadows; Comical Concert, Conundrums, Cries of Paris; Dancing; Didon Dina; Directions to lay Mezzotinto Prints on Glass; Games of Memory; Flying Feather; Hen-Coop; Jumping Rope; La Grace or the Graces….

The Girls own book 3

On Keeping Animals

The list is endless. It also includes two songs with music.




This little book has been compiled with an earnest desire to make it useful, all respects, to its readers; but I have relied on my own judgment and experience: therefore there is little doubt of numerous imperfections.

Perhaps I have erred, in trying to please all; and my thus, like the old man in the fable, succeed in pleasing none. Some will say there is too large a proportion of games; others will smile at the directions for sewing and knitting; some may complain that the frequent recommendation of active exercises will tend to make their children rude and disorderly; others will think too much is said about gracefulness and elegance; some will call the conundrums old, others will say they are silly, and others, that they should have been entirely excluded. I knew I could not avoid numerous criticisms, and, therefore, I did not write with the fear of them before my eyes.

In this land of precarious fortunes, every girl should know how to be useful, amid the universal dissemination of knowledge, every mind should seek to improve itself to the outmost; and in this land of equality, as much time should be devoted to elegant accomplishments, refined taste, and gracefulness of manner, as can possibly be spared from holier and more important duties. In this country it is peculiarly necessary that daughters should be educated as to enable them to fulfill the duties of a humble station, or to dignify and adorn the highest. This is the reason why I have mingled a little of every thing in the Girl’s Own Book.

If the volume proves attractive, a large proportion of the credit must be ascribed to the generosity of the publishers, and the skill and good taste of the artists who have been employed. The drawings of the automata were prepared by Mr. Graeter: to those who have been his pupils, nothing need be said in praise of his spirited and graceful sketching.

Whether my share in the formation of this little book is deserving of popular favor, I am extremely doubtful; I am only sure that it contains nothing to corrupt or mislead.

P.S. To all my readers, little ones especially, a merry Christmas and a happy New-Year.



This book of amusements is very interesting and you can download it in pdf format at my box net account.

the girls own book

The Girl’s Own Book, 1833


  1. Que hermoso su blog "Vintage Forever", amiga muy querida. Apreciei todo. Traduzi para o português e viajei nele. Belo! Bravo!

    1. Muchas Gracias querido amigo, y por la visita a mi blog! He puesto hace unas horas el enlace a su blog en WP aqui en mi blog Vintage Forever. Me alegra que le guste:) Besos


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