I picked this book up a short while ago, and it has already given me so much joy! I could fill a hundred blog posts with it, so I'm sure I'll blog some more details about it when I have time.
It is a large annual, dating from 1891, and is the collection of the weekly editions of the Girl's Own Paper.
The book is a little sad and broken, but it is basically 120 years old!
My camera batteries have just died and are being recharged so none of the photos are fabulous. Next time they'll be much better!
The first copy of The Girl's Own Paper was published in January 1880. It may be called the Girl's paper, but it was aimed at the Victorian woman. The yearly annual was published at Christmas time, but many women collected their own weekly copies and got them bound themselves. Apparently this means there are a great variety of bound copies - often to match their father's libraries.
Mr Charles Peter was the first editor of the magazine, and stayed in that role for 28 years - he even died in the office in 1907! His aim for the magazine was, 'to foster and develop that which was highest and noblest in the girlhood and womanhood of England'.
The magazine ran successfully for 76 years with a mixture of stories, articles, poems and the 'Answers to Correspondents' section.
The Answers and Correspondents page is a fascinating read - ladies were able to write in, and get answers to their queries. The magazine only published the answer though, so it's up to you to figure out what the question was!
Here are a few interesting ones from the first magazine in the annual (October 4, 1890 No. 561)
KATHLEEN writes to inquire of us ''how she may get to know what one special accomplishment she has got that she may follow it!'' This is a strange question. She adds, ''I can neither sing nor play.'' Surely she knows the instruction she has had in artistic work with pencil or bursh; the decorative needlework, the wood carving, the sculpture in relief, the modelling, the several accomplishments in botany, natural history, astronomy, geology, or archaeological lore. She must already know her acquirements in, and her natural taste for, any of these ''accomplishments'' without ''getting to know'' through our assistance.
MARY - We have long declined giving repetitions of answers on worn-out subjects. But your letter is a creditable one, so we will just say that you may have your mind relieved as to the nature of the black spots on your face and neck. They are only deposits of morbid material, combined with dust and dirt, in the glands or follicles - not ''grubs''. To remove them, steam baths and shampooing the affected parts while in the bath are said (by good authority) to be of use, together with attention to diet and general habits.
PETER'S DARLING SISTER - Little girls of thirteen are certainly too young to ''read novels''. There are stories quite suitable for children in good magazines, besides many that are published in separate form. But their mothers should be their guides in such a matter, and tell you what books for recreation are suitable for them. Read nothing without her leave.
LITTLE BO_PEEP - Your writing is careless, and the language you use inelegant. We do not see how you could write a story.
SYLIVA - Address the Surgical Aid Society in Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, E.C. There is no introductions or recommendations. We could not give you any opinion as to the artifical leg which would suit you best; only a surgeon could do that, after an examination. We are very glad that your like our paper so much, and wish your letter had arrived sooner.
Where else could you get advice on career choice, reading material, artifical legs, black spots and much more besides!