Thursday, June 6, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday - The Girl's Own Annual

The Girl's Own Annual, 1924
Growing up there was one book in the bookcase that was always a special treat to thumb through, my mother's 1924 edition of The Girl's Own Annual.  In those days, I had little interest in things of the past except for this book.  I even remember asking my mother as a teen if I could someday have that book.  She remembered that request and gave it to me about 20 years ago.  I'm so glad she did.

The Girl's Own Annual, edited by Flora Klickmann, was a British publication that was also popular in Canada where my mother was raised.  The annual was a bound volume, often sold as a Christmas present, featuring the previous year's monthly issues of The Girl's Own Paper and Woman's Magazine.  Looking at the pages presents an image of the proper English woman as it combined serial stories, cooking and household tips, fashion, and crafts with information about British nobility.  From the research I did to learn more about the publication, it was apparently as popular in Mother's day as Seventeen was for me.

According to the online catalog of the Women, Writing, and Reading Exhibition held at the University of Alberta in 2007, The Girl's Own Paper was started in 1880 by the Religious Tract Society whose
aim was to combat the "pernicious" influence of penny dreadfuls, cheap romances, and other forms of mass-market print.  The magazine sought to shape the moral and domestic life of its readership at a time when the figure of the modern new Women  was beginning to threaten cherished Victorian ideals of woman hood. (1)
There are a number of serious collectors of this series of books.  On eBay or antique book web sites copies of individual books can sell for up to $100.  The University of Pittsburgh has 34 volumes of The Girl's Own Annual in their Elizabeth Nesbitt Collection of Juvenile Literature.(2)  One photographer has a series of photos of covers of The Annual and The Paper from the 1880s into the 1930s posted on flickr.   There are even a number of pins on Pinterest related to The Girl's Own Annual and The Paper.  It is easy to see why so many collect and enjoy this series of vintage books.

Step back in time and explore some pages from The Girl's Own Annual of 1924.

Often complete directions for sewing or making items were included in the articles.

Some of the serialized stories went on and on for several years.

The fashions were always my favorite sections to look at.

Who knew there were so many ways to mash potatoes?

Now, I'm going back to read about Queen Mary's Dollhouse.  I once saw it on display at Windsor Castle so this article will be even more special.

(1)  Kirsten MacLeod et al, Women Writing and Reading (for the University of Alberta, 2007); digital images, CRC Studio (\'s%20own%20annual&s=browse : 2013.
(2)  "The Girl's Own Annual (Girl's Own Paper)."  University of Pittsburgh, University Library. ( : 2013.

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