Books, books and more books

I always get excited when I receive a box of books - but the one I got this week was very special - I had packed the box myself when I visited my parents in December so I knew what was inside. Along with other old books, it contained 4 books I have been looking forward to for a long time - The Girl's Own Annuals from the early 1900's. 

These books are GREAT - full of stories, poetry, advice on keeping the home, sewing/crocheting, building furniture, the latest fashions, cooking, art etc - they were the Women's Weekly of 1900's (with far more taste).  The Girl's Own Weekly came out weekly (surprise) until 1908 and once a year they were compiled into these annuals.  They were first published in 1880 until 1956. 

I plan to share with you some of the wonderful content of these annuals and will try and scan in some of the drawings as they are delightful. 

Three of the books are in reasonable condition, however the 4th book (not photographed) is missing its front cover but the content is still fine.

The latest fashions!!
What all the young ladies are wearing!
Don't they look so elegant.
As my annuals cover around a 10 year period you can see a change in fashions eg with length and style as these 2 plates show.

Other books in the box include the complete set of Billabong books by Mary Bruce Grant - this set is old and therefore contains the original text before they were reprinted and altered to make them  more "politically" correct.
Milly-Molly-Mandy books
Grace S Richmond's series Red Pepper
This is a delightful series about a country doctor (R.P. Burns), whose fiery hairy (not to mention a similar temper), earned him the nickname of Red Pepper among his friends. He was a country doctor of the old school-one of those whole-souled enthusiasts who would rather relieve some neighbor's suffering than eat his own dinner. The doctor is highly lovable and romantically involved (in the 1910 wholesome) with Ellen Lessing which leads to wedding bells. My dad also loves this series and like me read them many times.  I always love a old-fashion romance!! There is about 5 or 6 in this series with the first book written in 1910.  So they are good clean fun!!!
Plus several other books by Ethel Turner, Mary Bruce Grant etc..

* * *

And according to the GOA "There is nothing so pretty as an apron for home wear.  It seems to give an air of pleasant homeliness to the wearer, and at once stamps her character as careful, economical, and exquisitely tidy - qualities which she will surely carry into everything she undertakes in life.  .  .  .  She is perhaps a little precise too, which will show itself in punctuality as to time, and as to business-like habits in keeping her engagements, and we feel nearly sure that he apron-wearer will neither disappoint, nor vex us with any unreliability"

And in case you didn't know: "The word itself is a strange blunder, being "a napperon" converted into "an apperon" being the French for a "napkin" from napper "cloth".  In many counties in England it is said that the word "apperon" is still used".



  1. oh, how EXCITING, Jo! I would LOVE to own one of them (GOA) and read through it! I'm really looking forward to reading more from those when you get time to blog about them some more!! :)

    What years were those dress plates from? I like the dresses in the second plate better, I think! :)

    I really should read the Billabong books sometime...

    I have the Milly-Molly-Mandy books, including a really old copy that looks just like yours, except it has a blue hardcover - Further Doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy. My copy originally belonged to Frances Blair, but she gave it to me when I was a child! I love those stories - they are so clean and so *English*!! Dolly loves them too.

    The Red Pepper series sounds really interesting; I've never heard of them before.

    What the GOA wrote about aprons is great!!! :) I like to wear an apron - I just don't think about it every time I cook; it mostly gets worn when I'm doing a lot of cooking or baking on the one day. :) I didn't know about the word though, that is interesting! Do you wear aprons??

  2. Clara - I wear an apron more than I use to, partly because I am tired of getting oil etc on my clothes and not being to remove the stains.

    Read the Billabong books aloud to Dan, it will introduce him to "outback" Australia (Victoria). Red Pepper are those wonderful clean wholesome romances that my dad and I just love!! There must be a demand for these types of books as all of Grace S Richmonds books have recently been reprinted.

    The second plate is from the 1903 GOA and love that straight fluid style of dress - they are so feminine and pretty. I have plenty more advice from GOA and to my surprise some information haven't dated to much in the last 100 years.

  3. Wow Jo, what a box of treaures. Those Billabong books are worth a fortune now! I've been searching for them in 2nd hand books shops and the real old ones are worth over $100 each. xxx

  4. Sarah, I will keep them safe. I can't tell when these were printed as they have no date inside. There is something nice about reading an old book compared to a reprinted paper back version.

  5. Utterly jealous! and looking forward to your future posts. How nice to have something so delightful to share with your dad.

  6. Jo,

    Your blog is very unique, I enjoy it very much. I think the books are beautiful, and just take you back in time. I love that feeling.

    God bless you

  7. How deliciously, delicious your box of books appears. Utterly fantastic.

    Looking forward to more posts on your annuals!

    PS I am an apron wearer too!

  8. Oh what treasures!!! I enjoyed seeing each of them and know how excited you are about having them...Enjoy!!

  9. Jo: I devoured those annuals at one time. There were several sorts like Girls own & boys own & they were so much fun!

    I own my mothers copies of Milly~Molly~Mandy, Billabong & Dimsie ~ given as school & Sunday school prizes & treasure them for her sake as well as their own. What a wonderful score you have in your box!

  10. Oh - how did I miss this post earlier this week?! What a delightful collection of books. I must say that I am quite jealous of the fashion plates....they are so pretty. I would love to start a collection of those sorts of books, but fear that I do not need one more sort of thing cluttering up my house! I suppose I'll just enjoy looking at yours then, in future posts, please.

  11. I love the covers of old hardback books also. Somehow they just added so much character to the books themselves.

    In case any readers are interested (or perhaps you might want to pass this information on) some of the authors you've mentioned here have a few listing at These are free and offered in a number of electronic formats. You can also read them online or on your own computer if you don't have an ereader. I intend to read some of these to see if I want to download the books. :-)


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