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January 8, 2003 4:37 AM   Subscribe

In the 1920s, a bookmobile named William, driven by a female bookshop employee, set out across the Massachusetts countryside "to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls", and thus The Horn Book was born. Seventy-nine years later The Horn is still going strong, with an online guide, and a fanfare list of children's lit for 2002. Their online Virtual History Exhibit contains recollections, articles, memorabilia, sights, sounds, and correspondence with The Horn from Beatrix Potter, Isaac Asimov, and Roald Dahl, among others, and also includes some radio interviews with transcripts and sound files.
posted by iconomy (10 comments total)
I know One Mefite that's going to love this one!
posted by Blake at 5:14 AM on January 8, 2003

Nice link—thanks, iconomy!
posted by languagehat at 9:58 AM on January 8, 2003

Yeah, it's great stuff! Where is everyone?
posted by Songdog at 10:22 AM on January 8, 2003

I don't know - maybe I should have started the post like this:

In the 1920s, an SUV named William...

That probably would have worked better ;) One time a post of mine had over twenty comments. I was thrilled to death.
posted by iconomy at 11:08 AM on January 8, 2003

Sorry, I was busy commenting in the latest Tolkien thread. Whew! So, as usual, nice link, iconomy! I also always wanted to drive a bookmobile instead of being chained to the checkout desk, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. My friend Jacky is fortunate in that she does get to drive a bookmobile, in some of the most scenic parts of Marin County.
posted by Lynsey at 11:32 AM on January 8, 2003

iconomy, this is a great link .... but I have one tiny correction. They may indeed have set out to "to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls", but the name The Horn Book doesn't come from the honking of a horn, but rather from an object - called a horn book - that was used to teach Colonial-era children their ABCs. It is called a horn book because a thin layer of Horn (antler) was used to provide a protective covering to the printed page.

You can buy a reproduction Colonial horn book from The Horn Book website, if you want to see what one looks like.
posted by anastasiav at 11:33 AM on January 8, 2003

wow, great link. I have picked little stuff off this site forever and somehow managed to miss that page. thanks!
posted by jessamyn at 3:34 PM on January 8, 2003

The Eleanor Cameron vs. Roald Dahl section is a good read. Thanks!
posted by snez at 4:51 PM on January 8, 2003

Looks like it was fun to get a membership card in the Horn Book League for submitting a drawing, poem or essay...unless you got one of these too which lays it right on the line.
Cool links iconomy - thanks!
posted by madamjujujive at 5:51 PM on January 8, 2003

That is a fascinating read, snez. For some reason I find Ms. Cameron's final piece on the matter reminiscent of Emily Litella.
posted by Songdog at 10:45 AM on January 9, 2003

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