In the Days Before Fortnite...
Delving Into a Hidden Trove of Children's Books
September 2nd, 2019
Next to a small wooden cradle in the Homestead attic is a large wooden chest with a hinged lid. The chest is empty except for a few books at the bottom—25 in all. Books are written for children and read by children.
The books fully represent two generations of Mathers. One book bears the dedication, “Bettie With love and a Happy Birthday from Aunt Maria Walker, August 10th, 1912” This was given to Stephen T. Mather’s daughter, Bertha, to mark her sixth birthday.
On the inside of four books is written “John and Edward McPherson.” Edward McPherson would become Bertha’s husband; John was his twin brother.
Other books have bookplates or inscriptions for each of Bertha and Edward’s three children, Anne, Stephen, and Jane.
Among the books are the first three in the Mary Poppins series (of 8). By 1942, the
first book, Mary Poppins, was already in its fourteenth printing.
Robinson Crusoe, Calvert of Maryland, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, the Indians of the Pueblos and the Bennikins-Bunnies all harmoniously share the comfort of the chest.
Why do we save certain books or toys? And then in time, wonder why we did? But gratefully, these books were saved and with them, we are rewarded with one more glimpse into growing up at the Homestead.
The Bennikins-Bunnies at Camp/