Cautionary Tales

2016-10-11-15-18_page_1“Young Charlotte,” circa 1800s
from the Charlotte Cushman Club records, 1836-2000 (bulk: 1907-1998) Ms. Coll. 1223, box 9, folder 16 (Cataloging in process)

We are not sure why this manuscript for a song was included in the Charlotte Cushman Club records (possibly because a Charlotte is the “heroine”), but we are glad it was.  As with so many of our cautionary tales, this one is filled with DRAMA.  It is the story of Young Charlotte who was very fair, had many beaux, and ignored her mother’s advice to wear her coat in a sleigh on her way to a merry ball.  At the five mile mark of their fifteen mile ride, Charlotte “said with a shivering voice / I am perishingly cold,” and despite her beau’s very best efforts, when they arrived at the ball, “His Charlotte was a stiffend corps.”  Alas, we really should listen to our parents.

2016-10-11-11-35_page_3“The Demon and his victim,” in the Cold Water Magazine, Vol. 1, No. 1, July 1842
AP8 C6739 842c

This temperance title was issued monthly for three years, and it appears to have been wildly popular in its early days (at least according the publishers).  Like other material in our “Cautionary Tales” section, there is nothing subtle about the messages in the articles and songs in this periodical, some of which are titled, “The Bloody Hand,” “Song of the Te-Totaller,” “Doings of a Grog-Shop,” “Market House  Sermons,” and “The Serpent.”  We selected “The Demon and His Victim,” a dramatic tale about “a poor wretch”  who “has wandered about until his senses  are benumbed, and he has lien down in mad despair to meet his doom.” What brought about this dreadful situation?  “‘Twas rum–’twas rum that brought him here.”

2016-10-11-11-35_page_7Bowles’s moral pictures, or Poor Richard illustrated / by the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, circa 1880
AC7 F8542 A880b

Almost 100 years after Franklin’s death, his morals were still wildly popular.  This broadside includes a portrait of Franklin and twenty-four oval vignettes illustrating maxims from Poor Richard, with captions. It was published by Hayward & Co., Exchange St. and St. Anns Square in Manchester, probably in 1880.  In this case, Franklin’s lessons were not just for children but also for the old and were meant to teach industry, temperance, frugality, etc.

2016-10-11-11-35_page_2“Don’t play with fire or something will happen,” by John Goode Bryning, circa 1893-1899
from Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Box 22, Folder 31

John Goode Bryning (1828-1899), an Englishman living in India, or his son, also John Goode Bryning (1856-1916), created this “charming” little booklet filled with cautionary tales for boys and girls.  Peter, in this tale, just wanted to see what would happen if he put powder in the fire place.  What happened was “BANG!!!” and according to Bryning, Peter was not happy. This little notebook includes three “moral lessons” as well as other illustrated stories.

2016-10-11-11-35_page_5New cautionary tales / verses by H. Belloc ; pictures by N. Bentley, 1930.
EC9 B4174 930n

This volume of cautionary tales includes stories with titles such as “A Reproof of Gluttony,” “Maria, Who made Faces and a Deplorable Marriage,” “Jack and his Pony, Tom,” “Tom and his Pony, Jack,” “About John, Who lost a Fortune by Throwing Stones,” “Peter Goole, Who Ruined his Father and Mother by Extravagance,” “Aunt Jane,” and “On Food.” Not one of them is subtle and every one would work for this exhibit, but we selected “Sarah Byng, Who Could Not Read and Was Tossed into a Thorny Hedge by a Bull,” because we, here in the Penn Libraries, believe that any cautionary tale about not being able to read is a really important story to share!

2016-10-11-11-35_page_6Poor Richard’s almanack : being the choicest morsels of wit and wisdom, written during the years of the Almanack’s publication / by that well-known Savant, Dr. Benjamin Franklin of Philadelphia. (Peter Pauper Press reprint), 1936
AC7 F8542 B940

We love this reprint of Benjamin Franklin’s “morsels of wit and wisdom” with its beautiful red “quaint CUTS by an unknown hand.” The woodcuts are all charming and we had a hard time choosing an illustration to show, but we finally decided on “The tongue offends, and the ears get the cuffing.” Come look at this little volume for more delights!

2016-10-11-11-35_page_1Matilda who told lies and was burned to death / by Hilaire Belloc ; pictures by Steven Kellogg, 1970
from the Tehon collection, PZ8.3.B417 Mat4

This tale is a typical “Boy Who Cried Wolf” tale about Matilda, a dreadful child  who loved to call “Fire.”  Predictably, after doing so on several occasions and bringing fire trucks from all over the region rushing to her assistance, a fire really did break out. Her cries of “Fire” were then greeted only with “Little Liar!”  Things did not turn out well for awful Matilda … and the final page shows the epitaph on her little tombstone: “Matilda … who told lies and was burned to death.”

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