St. Nicholas and Mary Mapes Dodge

The Legacy of a Children’s Magazine Editor, 1873–1905

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About the Book

St. Nicholas has been called the best children’s magazine ever published, particularly during the tenure of its founding editor, Mary Mapes Dodge. From 1873 to 1905, Dodge worked to create what she called a “pleasure ground” for children—a magazine that would have great impact on several generations of children. The list of authors who wrote for her includes Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Rudyard Kipling, Theodore Roosevelt, and Mark Twain. The quality of the magazine’s illustration was equally high. The magazine was also the launching pad for a new generation of authors and artists, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald, E.B. White, Jack London, and Eudora Welty.
This anthology of critical writing on St. Nicholas includes some of the most influential articles already published and newly commissioned essays on a variety of subjects, including the impact of the St. Nicholas league, the utopian thrust of the magazine’s fiction, and the story of the long and productive literary partnership between Dodgeand Alcott. Essays also analyze Dodge’s relationship with her readers, her editorial practice, the illustrations, American family life as seen by young British readers, war and military life, advertising, and the middle-class preoccupation with “change of fortune” tales. The work places St. Nicholas in American cultural history, and analyzes how it both influenced and was influenced over thirty years. Essential documentary material presently unpublished or inaccessible and illustrations from the magazine are also included.

About the Author(s)

Susan R. Gannon is professor emeritus of English and Communications at Pace University in Pleasantville, New York. She lives in Somers, New York.
Suzanne Rahn is associate professor at Pacific Lutheran University, and lives in Seattle, Washington.
Ruth Anne Thompson is professor emeritus of English at Pace University. She lives in Madison, Connecticut.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Susan R. Gannon , Suzanne Rahn and Ruth Anne Thompson
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 306
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1758-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Was St. Nicholas Magazine?      1

PART I. THE MAKING OF ST. NICHOLAS, 1873–1905

1. Children’s Magazines (Mary Mapes Dodge)      13

2. In Memory of Mary Mapes Dodge (William Fayal Clarke)      18

3. Fair Ideals and Heavy Responsibilities: The Editing of St. Nicholas Magazine (Susan R. Gannon)      27

4. Illustrating St. Nicholas and the Influence of Mary Mapes Dodge (Michael S. Joseph)      54

5. “Here’s to Our Magazine!” Promoting St. Nicholas (Susan R. Gannon)      76

PART II. “JACKS AND JILLS”: ST NICHOLAS AND ITS AUDIENCE

6. St. Nicholas and Its Friends: The Magazine-Child Relationship (Suzanne Rahn)      93

7. Young Eyewitnesses to History (Suzanne Rahn)      111

8. In the Century’s First Springtime: Albert Bigelow Paine and the St. Nicholas League (Suzanne Rahn)      119

9. Onward and Upward with the Arts: The St. Nicholas League (E. B. White)      143

10. A Debut in the League (Suzanne Rahn)      153

11. The St. Nicholas Advertising Competition: Training the Magazine Reader (Ellen Gruber Garvey)      158

12. “Work Well Done”: Louisa May Alcott and Mary Mapes Dodge (Daniel Shealy)      171

PART III. ST. NICHOLAS AND ITS WORLDS:CULTURAL MESSAGES

13. The Utopia of St. Nicholas: The Present as Prologue (Fred Erisman)      191

14. Two Narrative Formulas (R. Gordon Kelly)      197

15. Money: The Change of Fortune Story in St. Nicholas (Anne MacLeod)      216

16. St. Nicholas and the City Beautiful, 1893-1894 (Greta Little)      230

17. “When Did Youth Ever Neglect to Bow Before Glory?” St. Nicholas and War (Marilynn Strasser Olson)      243

18. Young England Looks at America (Gillian Avery)      276

Bibliography      293

Index      296

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “fills a significant gap in scholarship…thoughtful scholarship…fascinating details”—Children’s Literature Association Quarterly; “good bibliography and index, this book belongs on the shelves of anyone interested in children’s literature”—Dime Novel Round-Up.