The 1904 edition of Rhymes and Jingles by Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) was an exciting little volume with illustrated binding in gold embossed hunter green that features a little girl wearing a big decorated hat that attracts some whimsical butterflies. Beginning in 1874, Dodge served as editor of St. Nicholas magazine; she was credited with turning it into an American classic that spotlighted quality children’s authors and illustrators. Rhymes and Jingles was generously illustrated in black and white by Sarah S. Stilwell who employed a variety of artistic styling that reflected Howard Pyle’s illustrative sensibilities, but created a cohesive youthful take on Art Nouveau featuring a cast of fairy ladies, several working mice, and one awesome bubble-gum-popping girl:

Little Polly, always clever,

   Takes a leaf of live-forever;

Before you know it

   You see her blow it,

A gossamer sack

   With a velvet back

How big it grows

   As he puffs and blows!

But have a care,

   It is full of air

Unless Polly should stop

   It will crack and pop;

And that’s the end of the live-forever;

   But little Polly is very clever.


Dodge described Stilwell as a “well-known artist” in 1904.

Source: Mary Mapes Dodge, Rhymes and Jingles (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904).