Wednesday, April 8, 2015

page 127 -- Helen's Babies, Deacon Crankett, John Habberton, Yellow Dock Root

updated 14 January 2016
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Wikipedia says,"Helen's Babies is a humorous novel by American journalist and authorJohn Habberton, first published in 1876." In 1924, the book became a silent movie of the same name. The book was very popular, though some were not impressed by its prose. In a piece about the book's author, New York Herald literary and drama critic John Habberton, Wikipedia states,
"'Helen's Babies' was intended as just a piece of humour and aimed at an adult audience. But the hilarious novel almost instantly became a major juvenile literature success, highly estimated by the youngsters as well as authorities like Rudyard Kipling. It became a classic ranking on par with 'Tom Sawyer', 'Wind in the Willows', 'Winnie-the Pooh' and the like. Popularity dwindled a bit after WW-II (although George Orwell mentions it very favourably in his 1946 essay on early American literature,'Riding Down from Bangor"), but started rising again in the 1980s. Translated into numerous foreign languages, it secured Habberton's modest share of immortality in literature."
Project Gutenberg has published an online version of Helen's Babies.

From Smithsonian's Harry T. Peters Collection, comes this ad for John Habberton's play, "Deacon Crankett," written after the publication of "Helen's Babies:"


Critics were less impressed by John Habberton's capabilities as a playwright than they were with his skills as an author. On page 275 of the Google Book reproduction of "The Drama, Painting, Poetry...." cited below the reviewer characterizes Deacon Crankett as "a piece in which novelty and extravagant situations have the best of it," and proclaims the play "is not worth remembering." So, of course, we remember it.
Bibliographic information

Appleton's Cyclopaedia of American Biography via Google Books presents a John Habberton biographical sketch:
Bibliographic information




from the days when one medicine covered all the bases....
See page 177 of the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection for information about Morses Yellow Dock Root.

The following three cards may have had advertising on their backs:






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