Bailey, Carolyn Sherwin
BAILEY, Carolyn Sherwin
Born 1875 in Hoosick Falls, New York; died 24 December 1961, Concord, Massachusetts
Daughter of Charles H. and Emma F. Blanchard Bailey; married Eben C. Hill, 1936
Carolyn Sherwin Bailey was educated at home by her mother, herself a teacher and writer of children's books, and at Lansingburg Academy, near Albany, New York. After graduating from Teachers' College, Columbia, Bailey studied at the Montessori School in Rome. Returning to New York City, she began a career of writing, editing, teaching, and traveling.
At the age of nineteen, Bailey began publishing poetry and short fiction in St. Nicholas and Youth's Companion. Her early books were collections of short stories and poems that grew out of her work at the Warren Goddard House in New York. Bailey later dismissed these early works as "sentimental," but one collection, For the Children's Hour (1906), remained in print for more than 40 years. Bailey also began writing nonfiction at an early age: such books as Boys Make-at-Home Things (1912) and Boy Heroes in Making America (1919) demonstrate her predilection for combining instruction and entertainment in books for children.
This duality of purpose is particularly apparent in Bailey's works on Americana. In the years between 1935 and 1944, Bailey wrote four books about early American arts and handcrafts: Children of the Handcrafts (1935), Tops and Whistles, Stories of Early American Toys and Children (1937), Homespun Playdays (1940), and Pioneer Art in America (1944). Some critics consider these to be her greatest achievement. In preparing these books, Bailey used original research into "genealogical records, personal letters and diaries, rare village and county records, and…old maps." Though the life of those early times is perhaps romanticized, Bailey has a keen eye for detail. She creates a feeling of immediacy and evokes a sensitive appreciation for the achievements of the artists and artisans whose stories she tells.
Important as the books on American art were in establishing her reputation, Bailey is best known for a quite different work. The book that graces nearly every children's library is Bailey's 1947 Newbery award-winner, Miss Hickory (1946). The book's greatest strength is Miss Hickory herself, an acerbic, ironic New England spinster whose body is a twig of applewood and whose head is a hickory nut. Bailey's use of detail in evoking the New Hampshire countryside is so powerful, however, that her descriptions of Temple Mountain, the apple orchard, and the old place very nearly bring them alive.
Daily Program of Gift and Occupation Work (1904). Peter Newell's Mother Goose (1905). The Jungle Primer (1906). Firelight Stories (1907). Stories and Rhymes for a Child (1909). Girls Make-at-Home Things (1912). The Children's Book of Games and Parties (1913). For the Story Teller (1913). Every Child's Folk Songs and Games (1914). Montessori Children (1915). Everyday Play for Children (1916). Letting in the Gang (1916). Stories Children Need (ed. by Bailey, 1916). Stories for Sunday Telling (1916). Boys and Girls of Colonial Days (1917). The Way of the Gate (with Sheath, Hodges, and Tweedy, 1917). Once Upon a Time Animal Stories (1918). The Outdoor Story Book (1918). Stories for Every Holiday (1918). Tell Me Another Story (1918). What to Do for Uncle Sam (1918). Broad Stripes and Bright Stars (1919). Everyday Stories (1919). Folk Tales and Fables (1919). Hero Stories (1919). Legends from Many Lands (1919). Stories of Great Adventures (1919). The Enchanted Bugle and Other Stories (1920). Wonder Stories (1920). Merry Tales for Children (ed. by Bailey, 1921). The Torch of Courage (1921). Flint, The Story of a Trail (1922). Bailey's In-and Out-Door Playgames (1923). Friendly Tales (1923). Reading Time Stories (1923). Surprise Stories (1923). When Grandfather Was a Boy (1923). All the Year Playgames (1924). Boys and Girls of Pioneer Days (1924). In the Animal World (1924). Lincoln Time Stories (1924). Little Men and Women Stories (1924). Stories from an Indian Cave (1924). The Wonderful Tree and Golden Day Stories (1925). Boys and Girls of Discovery Days (1926). The Wonderful Window (1926). Untold History Stories (1927). Boys and Girls of Today (1928). Forest, Field and Stream Stories (1928). Sixty Games and Pastimes for All Occasions (1928). Boys and Girls of Modern Days (1929). Garden, Orchard and Meadow Stories (1929). Read Aloud Stories (1929). The Wonderful Days (1929). Plays for the Children's Hour (1931). Stories Children Want (ed. by Bailey, 1931). Our Friends at the Zoo (1934). Tell Me a Birthday Story (1935). From Moccasins to Wings (1938). L'il Hannibal (1938). Country Stop (1942). The Little Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings (1945). Merry Christmas Book (1948). Old Man Rabbit's Dinner Party (1949). Enchanted Village (1950). A Candle for Your Cake (1952). Finnegan II (1953). The Little Red Schoolhouse (1957). Flickertail (1962).
Bailey, C. S., "The Hundred Dresses" in A Newbery Christmas: Fourteen Stories of Christmas by Newbery Award-winning Authors (1998, 1991). Davis, D. R., Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, 1875-1961: Profile and Bibliography (1967). Miller, B. M., and E. W. Field, eds., Newbery Medal Books, 1922-1955 (1955).
Junior Book of Authors, S. J. Kunitz, and H. Haycraft, eds. (1951).
NYT (25 Dec. 1961). PW (8 Jan. 1962).
—KATHARYN F. CRABBE