Early periodicals often reprinted articles and poems that originally had appeared elsewhere: Fanny Fern’s success was assured when her first article was reprinted immediately in several other periodicals. Images were no exception.
The images on this page appeared in several venues. Cheap as wood engravings could be to produce, publishers made sure they got their money’s worth by reusing illustrations in various ways. Or pieces were written around illustrations already in the printer’s collection; Youth’s Magazine, of Cincinnati, Ohio, did this often late in its career.
A triple play
This illustration was used in three different publications—by three different editors of Robert Merry’s Museum.
Goodrich, founder of Merry’s Museum, was still its editor when this cheery illustration of children at play was used on the cover. The design didn’t last long; it was replaced later that year by an image emphasizing study.
Allen took over as editor of Merry’s Museum in 1850. He also published the Mother’s Magazine. The center image of the 1848 Museum cover must have seemed a perfect accompaniment for his piece encouraging adults to enter into their children’s play; and it allowed for a tiny advertisement for the Museum! Amusingly, the banner-bearing children still appear in the image, with the boy’s staff a ghost and the girl’s foot still visible in the grass.
Stearns edited the Museum when puzzles from its puzzle column were collected into a little paperback offered as a premium to those paying in advance. In this version of the image, the word “SCHOOL” has vanished—perhaps because the implication that the children are going to or from school wasn’t in keeping with the recreational nature of the book.
A change of identity