Friday, January 25, 2013

"Jim and Judy," a 1939 grade-school textbook with a York connection

"Jim and Judy" was an entry in a Macmillan series titled "The New Work-Play Books." This particular grade-school book was originally published in 1939 and then had a number of reprintings. This nifty copy that I came across was from the January 1944 reprinting.

The 154-page book was quite a team effort. There were three authors — Arthur L. Gates, Miriam Blanton Huber and Celeste Comegys Peardon.

And seven people, many quite notable, were involved with the design and illustrations — Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge, Charles B. Falls, David Hendrickson, Lucile Patterson Marsh, Herbert Stoops, Katherine Sturges1 and Adolph Treidler.

The textbook includes sections titled Birthday Surprises, The Airplanes, Fun at the Farm, and Off to School. The final section is a fairy tale titled "The Story of the Little White House."

The front end papers of the book include an awesome blue illustration of a model farm that Jim and his father build in the first section of the book.

And, yes, that's an old school stamp on the left side of the above illustration. Here's a closer look, with the contrast adjusted to make it more readable.

It states, in part: "This BOOK is the Property of Spring Garden Township School District ... Violet Hill School ... York, Penna."

Before I launched into a big research mission on Violet Hill School and Spring Garden Township School District, I asked my wife if she had heard of them. Lo and behold, Stephen H. Smith just published a huge post titled "Violet Hill in Spring Garden Township; Assorted Maps, Hotel & Schoolhouses" on the YorksPast blog a few days ago. What are the odds? So I urge you to go check out his terrific piece.

Here are some more illustrations from today's textbook:

Finally, here's the sentient, talking house from "The Story of the Little White House." Eventually, a young boy and girl, both orphaned and pixie-like, come to live in the house and make friends with Brown Horse, Gray Rabbit, Brown Hen, Red Rooster, Yellow Cat and Black Dog.

1. Katherine Sturges is the mother of "Eloise" illustrator Hilary Knight.


  1. Amityville Horror has nothing on Little White House.

  2. In 1947 I was in 1st. grade. I remember the Jim and Judy book's, along with their dog "Tags".
    How I and my classmates loved thos beautiful and colorful little book's !!!

    1. I also remember those in 1st and 2nd grade.

  3. I hope I can find a copy of this book. My name is Judy, I was born in 1939, and my brother is named Jim. How perfect is that!!

  4. I have a copy of this. I had it as long as i can remember.

  5. I have a this book if anyone is interested. Email:

  6. I have this book! Saved it from 1st grade!!! It got wet in my basement last year but I still have it and I'm looking for a clean copy! I can't believe there is a site on it! Thank you!!

  7. I have copy in pretty good condition

  8. This is the book I read in PS44, Rockaway NY in the 1950's. All these years of seeing Dick and Jane primers, I didn't know if it still existed. What struck me as a child were the beautiful illustrations.

  9. When I was six, we moved into a house in Texarkana and I found this book in an old cedar chest there. Mom was 7 months along, and she and Dad were discussing what to name the baby. I said,"If it's a boy name it Jim, if it's a girl, name it Judy." They liked it. My baby sister likes it, too.

  10. Was my first reader in Sydney Australia. Loved this book. Am sad gave it away when had to move family home. That was a big mistake!