(Gift of Clara Noyes, 1989)
|Charles Kingsley (1819-1875), an eminent nineteenth-century theologian and historian, wrote
in a variety of genres but typically always addressed the economic and social problems of Victorian England. The
Water-Babies is an attempt to connect evolution, sanitation and spiritual growth through the story of little
Tom, the chimney sweep who enters the world of the water-babies. First published in 1862, the book proved to be
one of Kingsley's most popular titles, the first edition selling out within the year. It has remained in print
This edition is illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith (1863-1935), an American artist who was well known for her cover art for Good Housekeeping Magazine. Smith idealized her images of children, placing them in a serene and maternal world. The original drawings which she completed for The Water-Babies were among those which she considered to be her best work and she gave them to the Library of Congress. This was one of her best selling books.
Titlepage and Illustration from Charles Kingsley: The Water-Babies (1916), illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith
Updated: 29 April 2004, RKB
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