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McNeile, Norah, 1879–1978
Sidmouth, England, 1895-1897.
Physical Description:
17 volumes : ill. ; 25 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
In Process PN6245.M36 M39 1895+ Oversize
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
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Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
Born in Piengat, India, the daughter of a British army officer, Norah McNeile (1879-1978) was only sixteen years of age when she began producing and editing this collection. She died unmarried, in Tiverton, County of Devon. The McNeile family had ancestral roots from both Belfast and Scotland, and counted a general in the British Indian Army among its members.
Each issue bound in card wrappers bearing watercolor illustrations; each string-tied with satin ribbon.
Manuscript magazine, in 17 issues, with unpublished children's stories, poems, etc., illustrated with numerous watercolors, compiled and edited by Norah McNeile. Includes contributions from an expanding list of "subscribers." A near complete series, with the only two issues for 1895, ten of twelve issues for 1896, and five issues for 1897.
The proficient young editor and watercolor artist demonstrates a passion for literature, a heart for young children, and a propensity for perfection, the latter of which is evident in the time taken to follow formal book production format, each issue containing a decorated table of contents naming the authors, a list of subscribers, "plates" for illustration and frontispieces, and boards of slightly larger dimension than the internal leaves. As with conventional periodicals, some of the stories continue over two or more issues. Illustrations comprise clipped images as well as hand-drawn sketches and watercolors, notably increasing in quality over time. Frequent components include editor's notice slips (tipped in), the "Editor's Corner," and a list of rules and regulations addressing contributors and non-contributors (requests for the return of the issues, penalties, and allocations of funds collected).
The October-November 1897 issue contains the preface notice indicating that the very first issue (October 1895) is present, and that these issues travelled great lengths considering the age of the subscribers, necessitating a change from monthly to bimonthly production. "Mayflowers has now launched out into her third year ... As the magazine has now two months to travel in, it is quite possible for one number to return before the next one starts ..." Miss McNeile, or the "Editor's Office," was at Cotmaton Hall, Sidmouth, Devon. The expanding number of subscribers was dispersed as far as London, Cornwall, Surrey, Paignton, Cheltenham, Exeter, Sidbury, Cheswick, Addlestone, Rotherham, Glastonbury, and County Cork in Ireland.
Subjects treated in the magazine include the history of couture, revolutionary wars, fantasy and folklore, foreign culture, monarchy, adventure, slavery, the supernatural, ancient ruins, and of course random topics of significance or entertainment for young children. A sample of titles reveals a mix of life in India, British heritage, and awareness of global events of the time: A Kashmeri Hero; The Runaway Sailor; The Ghost of Strathey Manor; The City of Khedive; The Rivals (a serial story); A Buddhist Story (a serial story); The Crew of the Life-Boat; Funny Seraps; Washington & the Corporal; A Tale of China; Marine Worms; The Children's Hospital' Three Days in Smuggler's Cove; The Cigar Girls of Manilla; A Native Wedding; Robin Hood; Tannhäuser; A Jewelled Hunting Knife.
Subject Terms:
Clothing and dress -- Great Britain -- 19th century.
Great Britain -- History -- 19th century.
Great Britain -- Social life and customs -- 19th century
McNeil family.
McNeile, Norah, 1879-1978.
Sidmouth (England)
Humorous pictures.
Ink drawings.
Manuscript magazines.
Children's magazines.

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