In this week’s addition to the “Toys of Yesteryear” exhibit at Heritage Hall, the Lakeside Heritage Society reminisces on the colorful cartoons and nursery rhymes of the past with a pair of children’s linenette picture books.
Full of cherubic children and colorful farm animals, both the Nursery Rhymes and Animal Friends books exhibit the characteristic cartoons of linen graphic artists in the 1930s and 1940s. Popularized by the Merrill Publishing Company out of Chicago, Illinois, linenette books often only acknowledged the illustrators, not the authors, due to their strong emphasis on the cartoons. The artists for the Heritage Hall artifacts, George Trimmer and Florence Salter, were two of the more popular Merrill Publishing Company illustrators of the era. By coupling bold paintings with memorable moral rhymes, the Merrill linenettes set the standard for read-aloud children’s books in the 20th century.
Both linenette books were donated to Heritage Hall by Gretchen S. Curtis, Lakeside Heritage Society education volunteer. The vibrant 1939 edition of Animal Friends, No. 3445 explores daily farm life with paintings of playful kittens, swimming ducks and a watchful mother hen. Lakesiders young and old will recognize familiar children’s songs and poems like “Humpty Dumpty” and “Mary, Mary” from the 1941 Nursery Rhymes, No. 3467. Make your way over to Heritage Hall and see how many other nursery rhymes you remember from our vintage book collection!