Today marks the first installment of a new series of Special Collections highlights: Bad Children of History.
Our Edith Wetmore Collection of Children’s Books is a veritable treasure trove of illustrations: it contains 1,850 children’s books in 20 languages spanning more than 500 years of grammar instruction, rhyming poetry, anthropomorphized animals, Bible stories, and, yes, naughty children.
We’re starting off the series with an illustration from a truly classic book of misbehaving youth: Struwwelpeter, first published in 1845. These photos come from an 1890 English translation published by Porter & Coates.
Here’s a picture of Pauline lighting a match, despite the exhortations of her pet cats:
And what happens to children who light matches when their mother is away? That’s right, they burn into a tragic pile of ash.
So she was burnt with all her clothes,
And arms and hands, and eyes and nose;
Till she had nothing more to lose
Except her little scarlet shoes;
And nothing else but these was found
Among her ashes on the ground.