Wednesday, September 14, 2016

From the SCLS-YS Archive: The Brownies: Their Book by Palmer Cox

Before Lisa Kropp left us to go in a new direction, the Assistant Director direction to be more precise, she spent time weeding the Children's and YA collection that we have here at SCLS. Some of those titles made it into our now established SCLS-YS Archive. Here on the blog we thought we would highlight some of the titles that have now found their home on the shelves of this non-circulating collection. For the first installment of the "From the SCLS-YS Archive" we present to you The Brownies: Their Book by Palmer Cox. 

This hard cover copy is a 1967 reprinting of the work which originated in 1887. The story, written in verse, follows the adventures of these little elfin creatures called Brownies. On the opening page they are described:

"Brownies, like fairies and goblins, are imaginary little sprites, who are supposed to delight in harmless pranks and helpful deeds. They work and sport while weary households sleep, and never allow themselves to be seen by mortal eyes."

Each chapter is a separate instance of the Brownies deeds. In the first story, called "The Brownies at School", the Brownies find a school house and basically wreck the place. The story concludes  that it took the students an hour to clean everything up once and put all the books back in their places! This must have been considered one of their "harmless pranks." Other chapters include The Brownies "on Skates", "on Bicycles", "at Lawn-Tennis", and twenty more from there. 

The little creatures are adorable with their little hats that have points or pom poms on top. Illustrations paint every page with a new little creature finding him/herself in another piece of mischief. With a bit of research leading me to a blog written in 2011 it looks like Palmer Cox and his Brownies were incredibly popular in the late 1800's and even had toys made in their likeness. I am so happy to see these delightful creatures on the shelves of the SCLS-YS Archive. Now I know if anything is out of order it may have been The Brownies!

A spread showing large illustrated pages.

A second spread showing how the illustrations were sometimes weaved into the text.

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