Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.

May24th

Oh, how I love history. And books. And books from history.empire

Here’s a real gem: the contents of the 1911 edition of The Empire Annual for Girls, which should tell you a thing or two from the title alone.

 

THE CHRISTMAS CHILD — MRS G. DE HORNE VAIZEY

The story of a happy thought, a strange discovery, and a deed of love

ANNA — MRS MACQUOID

A girl’s adventure for a father’s sake

TO GIRLS OF THE EMPIRE — MRS CREIGHTON

Words of encouragement and stimulus to the daughters of the Nation

MY DANGEROUS MANIAC — LESLIE M. OYLER

The singular adventure of two young people

JIM RATTRAY, TROOPER — KELSO B. JOHNSON

A story of the North-West Mounted Police

MARY’S STEPPING ASIDE — EDITH C. KENYON

Self-sacrifice bringing in the end its own reward

A RACE FOR LIFE — LUCIE E. JACKSON

A frontier incident from the Far West

WHICH OF THE TWO? — AGNES GIBERNE

A question of duty or inclination

A CHRISTMAS WITH AUSTRALIAN BLACKS — J. S. PONDER

An unusual but interesting Christmas party described

MY MISTRESS ELIZABETH — ANNIE ARMITT

A story of self-sacrifice and treachery in Sedgemoor days

GIRL LIFE IN CANADA — JANEY CANUCK

Girl life described by a resident in Alberta

SUCH A TREASURE! — EILEEN O’CONNOR

How a New Zealand girl found her true calling

ROSETTE IN PERIL — M. LEFUSE

A girl’s strange adventures in the war of La Vendée

GOLF FOR GIRLS — AN OLD STAGER

Some practical advice to beginners and others

SUNNY MISS MARTIN — SOMERVILLE GIBNEY

A story of misunderstanding, patience, and reconciliation

WHILST WAITING FOR THE MOTOR — MADELINE OYLER

A warning to juvenile offenders

THE GRUMPY MAN — MRS HARTLEY PERKS

A child’s intervention and its results

DOGS WE HAVE KNOWN — LADY CATHERINE MILNES-GASKELL

True stories of dog life

DAFT BESS — KATE BURNLEY BENT

A tale of the Cornish Coast

A SPRINGTIME DUET — MARY LESLIE

A domestic chant for spring-cleaning days.

OUT OF DEADLY PERIL — K. BALFOUR MURPHY

A skating episode in Canada

THE PEARL-RIMMED LOCKET — M. B. MANWELL

The detection of a strange offender

REMBRANDT’S SISTER — HENRY WILLIAMS

A record of affection and self- sacrifice

HEPSIE’S XMAS VISIT — MAUD MADDICK

A child’s misdeed and its unexpected results

OUR AFRICAN DRIVER — J. H. SPETTIGUE

A glimpse of South African life

CLAUDIA’S PLACE — A. R. BUCKLAND

How Claudia changed her views

FAMOUS WOMEN PIONEERS — FRANK ELIAS

Some of the women who have helped to open up new lands

POOR JANE’S BROTHER — M. LING

The strange adventures of two little people

THE SUGAR-CREEK HIGHWAYMAN — ADELA E. ORPEN

An alarm and a discovery

DOROTHY’S DAY — M. E. LONGMORE

A day beginning in sorrow and ending in joy

A STRANGE MOOSE HUNT — H. WILLIAM DAWSON

A hunt that nearly ended in a tragedy

A GIRL’S PATIENCE — C. J. BLAKE

A difficult part well played

THE TASMANIAN SISTERS — E. B. MOORE

A story of loving service and changed lives

THE QUEEN OF CONNEMARA — FLORENCE MOON

An Irish girl’s awakening

 

Don’t we have a lot to ponder here? For a start, it’s definitely an attempt at spanning the British Empire. We have Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Africa, Ireland, even Tasmania(!). But that’s the stuff of serious academic study, as is the notable repetition of the topic of  ‘self-sacrifice’ which implies much about the role of women in the Edwardian world.

Frankly, I’m more interested in the quirky stuff revealed by this treasure trove of story titles, teasers and authors. Different times, different values – including some that we shudder at.

For instance, who wouldn’t want to be called Somerville Gibney? I have no idea if the author of ‘Sunny Miss Martin’ can write or not, but imagine that moniker stretched along the top of your book. In gold foil. Embossed.

As for story titles, it’s hard to go past ‘My Dangerous Maniac’, although ‘A Strange Moose Hunt’ is a contender. ‘Rembrandt’s Sister’ is possibly an investigative report into the truly talented member of that the family. ‘The Grumpy Man’ might be lacking the sort of cachet that blockbuster movies have today, but its simple charm could attract readers.

Hours of fun, and if I can’t use Somerville Gibney as a pen-name, I’d be happy to settle for Kelso B Johnson.

 

Share it:

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.