You can listen to Episode 4 of The WPHP Monthly Mercury, "A Bibliographical Education", on AppleSpotifyStitcherGoogle Podcasts, and other podcast apps, available via Buzzsprout.


Depending on where you are, back to school looks a little different this year—some of us are returning to classrooms with new restrictions, some of us are teaching from home, and some of us are educating our own children or supporting their education with whatever resources we can muster.

It was in thinking about how teaching has taken all kinds of forms this year that we were reminded of the various works that fall under the “Education” genre in the WPHP, including letters from aunts to nieces advising them of how to best live their lives (hello, Hester Mulso Chapone’s Letters on the improvement of the mind!), playful short works written to be read to and by children as young as three (Anna Laetitia Barbauld’s Lessons for Children of Three Years Old holds literary gems), and didactic poetry about the dangers of sexual promiscuity (we’re looking at you, Hannah More and the delightfully-titled Sinful Sally!).

In the fourth episode of The WPHP Monthly Mercury, “A Bibliographical Education”, hosts Kandice Sharren and Kate Moffatt wander through the “Education” genre of the WPHP, exploring its variety of formats and styles, as well as its many adjacent genres - not least of which is the considerable “Juvenile Literature” genre, which past RA Reese Irwin cheerfully (and almost single-handedly) entered into the database. In this episode, Reese joins us to speak about the process of entering the majority of our 3200+ Juvenile Literature titles, Kate and Kandice do suitably dramatic readings of excerpts from a handful of educational texts from notable eighteenth-century authors, and we speak to the ways in which the many forms teaching has taken this year during COVID-19 has echoes of eighteenth-century educational practices and challenges.

If you're interested in learning more about the genres included in the WPHP, this list includes every genre used by the WPHP along with a working definition. If you click any of the hyperlinked genres they will produce a list of all title records assigned that genre in the database.



Reese Irwin was a research assistant on the WPHP from 2016 to 2019; she was responsible for entering most of the children’s literature in the database. She is the author of the forthcoming book chapter, “Elizabeth Newbery, Publisher and Bookseller in Her Own Right: A Case Study from The Women’s Print History Project, 1750–1836,” which will be published in Volume 1 of Women in Print, edited by Rose Roberto and Helen S. Williams. She has a Master’s of English from Simon Fraser University, and has recently completed a Master’s of Library Information Science at the University of British Columbia.



Produced by: Kandice Sharren, Kate Moffatt, and Michelle Levy

Mixed and mastered by: Alexander Kennard

Music by: Ignatius Sancho, “Sweetest Bard”, A Collection of New Songs (1769) from, and played by Kandice Sharren


WPHP Records Referenced

Letters on the improvement of the mind (title)
Chapone, Hester Mulso (person, author)
Wollstonecraft, Mary (person, author)
Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (title)
More, Hannah (person, author)
The story of Sinful Sally, told by herself (title)
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (title)
Prince, Mary (person, author)
The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave (title)
Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African (title)
West, Jane (person, author)
Letters to a Young Lady (title)
Taylor, Emily (person, author)
Letters to a child, on the subject of maritime discovery (title)
Edgeworth, Maria (person, author)
Letters for Literary Ladies (title)
Reeve, Clara (person, author)
Plans of Education (title)
Joseph Johnson (firm, publisher and bookseller)
Essays on Various Subjects (title)
Barbauld, Anna Laetitia (person, author)
Lessons for Children of Three Years Old (title)
Smith, Charlotte Turner (person, author)
Rural walks in dialogues intended for the use of young persons (title)
John Newbery (firm, publisher)
John Harris (firm, publisher)
Elizabeth Newbery (person, publisher and bookseller)
Newberry, Elizabeth (firm, publisher and bookseller)
Journal of Captain Cook’s last voyage to the Pacific Ocean (title)
The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and her Dog: Illustrated with fifteen elegant engravings on copper-Plate. (title)
Catherine, Sarah Martin (person, author)
Dorset, Catherine Ann Turner (person, author)
The Peacock “at home” (title)
John Wallis (firm, publisher)
The New Game of Human Life (title)
Frances Houlston and Son (firm, publisher)
 Frances Houlston, (firm, printer, publisher, and bookseller)


WPHP Sources Referenced

The Dartons

John Newbery and His Successors

Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books


Works Cited

Guest, Harriet. Small Change: Women, Learning, Patriotism, 1750–1810. Chicago UP, 2000.

Irwin, Reese. “Elizabeth Newbery, Publisher and Bookseller in Her Own Right: A Case Study from The Women’s Print History Project, 1750–1836.” Women in Print: Design and (re)construction of personal histories, edited by Rose Roberto and Helen S. Williams, vol. 1, Peter Lang Ltd, forthcoming. 

Markel, Michelle. Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books. Chronicle Books, 2017.

Moon, Marjorie. John Harris’s Books for Youth 1801-1843: Being a Check-list of Books for Children and Young People Published for Their Amusement and Instruction by John Harris and His Son, Successors to Elizabeth Newbery, Including a List of Games and Teaching Toys. A. Spilman, 1976.

Rovee, Christopher. “The New Game of Human Life, 1790.” BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History, edited by Dino Franco Felluga,

Shefrin, Jill. "Newbery, Elizabeth (1745/6–1821), bookseller and publisher." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford UP, 2004,


Further Reading

Ahmed, Sara. Willful Subjects. Duke UP, 2014.

Clark, Norma. “The cursed Barbauld Crew: Women Writers and Writing for Children in the Late Eighteenth Century.” In Opening the Nursery Door: Reading, Writing, and Childhood, 1600–1900, edited by Mary Hilton, Morag Styles, and Victor Watson, Routledge, 1997, pp. 91–103.

Davies, Rebecca. Written Maternal Authority and Eighteenth-Century Education in Britain: Educating by the Book. Routledge, 2016.

Dolan, Elizabeth A. Seeing Suffering in Women’s Literature of the Romantic Era. Ashgate 2008.

Elliott, Dorice Williams. "The Care of the Poor Is Her Profession: Hannah More and Women's Philanthropic Work." Nineteenth-Century Contexts, no. 19, vol. 2, 1995, pp. 179–204.

Fauske, Chris and Heidi Kaufman, eds. An Uncomfortable Authority: Maria Edgeworth and her Contexts. U of Delaware P, 2004. 

Gilmartin, Kevin. “‘Study to be Quiet’: Hannah More and the Invention of Conservative Culture in Britain.” ELH, no. 70, Summer 2003, pp. 493–540.

Grathwol, Kathleen B. “Maria Edgeworth and the 'True Use of Books' for Eighteenth-Century Girls.” New Essays on Maria Edgeworth, edited by Julie Nash, Ashgate, 2006.

Habermas, Jürgen. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, translated by Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence, MIT Press, 1991.

Hilton, Mary. Women and the Shaping of the Nation’s Young: Education and Public Doctrine in Britain, 1750–1850. Ashgate, 2007.

Levy, Michelle. Family Authorship and Romantic Print Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

Myers, Mitzi. “Romancing the Moral Tale: Maria Edgeworth and the Problematics of Pedagogy.” Romanticism and Children’s Literature in Nineteenth-Century England, edited byJames Holt McGavran. U of Georgia P, 1991.

Narain, Mona. “Not the Angel in the House: Intersections of the Public and Private in Maria Edgeworth's Moral Tales and Practical Education.” New Essays on Maria Edgeworth, edited by Julie Nash. Ashgate, 2006.

Richardson, Alan. “Mary Wollstonecraft on Education.” The Cambridge Companion to Mary Wollstonecraft. Cambridge UP, 2002, pp. 24–41.

Robbins, Sarah. “Lessons for Children and Teaching Mothers: Mrs. Barbauld’s Primer for the Textual Construction of a Middle-Class Domestic Pedagogy.” The Lion and the Wardrobe, no. 17. vol. 2, December 1993, pp. 135–51.

Stott, Anne. Hannah More: The First Victorian. Oxford UP, 2003.

Wharton, Joanna. Material Enlightenment: Women Writers and the Science of Mind, 1770–1830. Boydell, 2018.



This podcast draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.