Mother Goose’s Melodies for Children

Image Public Domain

On this day in history in 1719, Mother Goose’s Melodies for Children was published by Thomas Fleet.

England’s John Newbery was the first to publish Mother Goose (it is in his honor and in recognition of Newbery’s pioneering work as an author and publisher of children’s literature that The American Library Association instituted the Newbery Medal to be awarded annually to the most distinguished work of children’s literature). Source

However, Within a few years there were several pirated editions of the Newbery Mother Goose published in America, one with the picture of a sharp-nosed old crone addressing two children as follows:

“Fudge! I tell you that all their batterings can’t deface my beauties, nor their wise pratings my wiser prattlings; and all imitators of my refreshing songs might as well try to write a new Billy Shakespeare as another Mother Goose! We two great poets were born together, and we shall go out of the world together. No, no, my melodies will never die, while nurses sing, or babies cry.” Source

I grew up loving Mother Goose and her avian steed. It wasn’t until well after I’d left the nursery behind that I discovered the deeper history behind the Old Mother and her goose. A great place to start for information about topics ranging from Mother Goose, gossiping, the fecundity of birds and why the stork “brings the baby” is From the Beast to the Blonde, by Marina Warner.

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