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Stories Before 1850. 0204: Elizabeth Sandham, The Adventures of Poor Puss

Author: Sandham, Elizabeth
Title: The Adventures of Poor Puss. In two parts. By Miss Sandham, Author of The Twin Sisters, Orphan, etc. etc.
Cat. Number: 0204
Date: 1809
1st Edition: 1809
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: J. Harris, Corner of St. Paul's Church-Yard
Price: Unknown
Pages: 1 vol., 181pp.
Size: 17 x 10 cm
Illustrations: Engraved frontispiece

Images of all pages of this book

Page 003 of item 0204

Introductory essay

The Adventures of Poor Puss is an animal tale in the tradition of Dorothy Kilner's The Life and Perambulation of a Mouse (1784: 0159), E. Smyth's The History of Tabby (0218), Mary Pilkington's Marvellous Adventures; or, the Vicissitudes of a Cat (1802: 0197), the anonymous Memoirs of Dick the Poney (c.1799: 0178-0179A), Eliza Fenwick's Life of the Famous Dog Carlo (1809: 0162) and Cato, or Interesting Adventures of A Dog of Sentiment (1816: 0082)Cato, or Interesting Adventures of A Dog of Sentiment (1816: 0082). In The Adventures of Poor Puss, two cats, the more experieced Tabby and the younger Tib, tell each other their life histories. Tib has been the victim of much human cruelty, but eventually, when Tabby dies, Tib is taken in by Tabby's former owner and well looked after. The Juvenile Review (1817) thought the work 'A very innocent and amusing book, and deservedly a favourite with children', but warned that 'the frontispiece should be cut out, as we are not too fond of exciting a taste of ridicule or caricature in children.' (Moon 1987: 109) This advice was apparently heeded by the owner of the British Library copy of the book.

Little is known about Elizabeth Sandham except that she was one of the most prolific and successful children's authors of the early nineteenth century. A list of her work, assembled from the British Library catalogue and Marjorie Moon's bibliography of John Harris's Books for Youth (Moon 1987: 109-11) reveals that she published over a book a year for the first quarter of the nineteenth century.:
1.The happy family at Eason House. Exhibited in the amiable conduct of the little Nelsons and their parents, 1799 (rpt. 1822)
2.Juliana; or, the affectionate sisters, c.1800-1801
3.Trifles; or, friendly mites towards improving the rising generation, 1800
4.The Red Book and the Black One, 1802
5.Addresses of an Affectionate Mother to her Children, 1803?
6.More Trifles, for the benefit of the rising generation, 1804
7.The Twin Sisters; or, The Advantages of Religion, 1805 (rpt.1807, 1809, 1810, 1812, 1813, 1814, 1816, 1817, 1819, 1821, 1824, 1825, 1828, 1830, 1832, 1835, 1839)
8.Select Fables [translated from Jean Pierre Claris de Florian], 1806
9.The Orphan, 1808
10.Adventures of a Bullfinch, 1809
11.The Adventures of Poor Puss, 1809
12.Alithea Woodley; or The advantages of early friendship founded on virtue, c.1810 (rpt. c.1806 and c.1813)
13.Pleasure and Improvement Blended, 1810 (rpt. 1819)
14.The Perambulations of a Bee and a Butterfly, 1812 (rpt. 1816)
15.The Travels of St. Paul, 1812
16.Dangers of Early Indulgence, c.1814
17.The History of William Selwyn, 1815
18.The Adopted Daughter. A tale for young persons, 1815 (rpt. 1822)
19.Conversations on Natural History, 1815?
20.Poetic Flowers. Selected by E. Sandham, c.1815-1822
21.The Grandfather; or, the Christmas Holidays, 1816
22.Conversations on Natural History, c.1818-22
23.Maria's first visit to London, c.1818
24.The Schoolfellows. A moral tale, 1818
25.The History of Britannicus and his sister Octavia, 1819
26.Lucilla; or the reconciliation, 1819
27.The Boy's School, 2nd edn. 1821
28.Chosros and Heraclius; or, the Vicissitudes of a century, 1821
29.The History of Elizabeth Woodville; or, the Wars of the Houses of York and Lancaster, 1822
30.A Visit to the Regent Iron and Brass Foundery, the Gas Manufactory, and the Royal Chain Pier, Brighton, 1824
31.Providential Care: a tale, founded on facts, 1825

Sandham worked mainly for the what was probably the principal chidlren's publishing publishing firm of the era, that of John Harris, successor to Elizabeth Newbery. Her titles were also brought out by Tabart, Hurst, Darton, though, as well as by a number of provincial firms, although often in collaboration with Harris. Her single most successful title was The Twin Sisters; or, the Advantages of Religion, which reached its twentieth edition by 1839. It had sold 12,000 copies by 1819 (Carpenter and Prichard 1984: 468). The Hockliffe Collection has two copies of the eighth edition of 1816 (0205-0206).

Moon, Marjorie, John Harris's books for youth, 1801-1843, revised edition, Winchester, 1987

Moon, Marjorie, John Harris's books for youth, 1801-1843, revised edition, Winchester, 1987

Carpenter, Humphrey & Pritchard, Mari, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, Oxford: OUP, 1984