Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Dumpy Books

The Dumpy books are a series of small-format books, originally published by Grant Richards and later by Chatto and Windus.  Helen Bannerman's Little Black Sambo is the fourth title in the series. Grant Richards also published The Larger Dumpy Books for Children.

Dumpy Books 1897 - 1907

No. 1 The Flamp, the Ameliorator and the schoolboy's apprentice E. V. Lucas (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 2 Mrs Turner's Cautionary Stories (Grant Richards, 1897)
No. 3 The bad family and other stories by Mrs Fenwick (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 4 The story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman (Grant Richards, 1899)
No. 5 The bountiful lady by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1900)
No. 6 A cat book by E. V. Lucas (illustrated by H. Officer Smith) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 7 A flower book by Eden Coybee (illustrated by Nellie Benson) Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 8 The pink knight by J. R. Monsell (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 9 The little clown by Thomas Cobb (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 10 A horse book by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 11 Little people an alphabet by T. W. H. Crosland (Grant Richards, 1901)
No. 12 A dog book by Ethel Bicknell (illustrated by C. Moore Park) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 13 The adventures of Samuel and Selina by Jean C. Archer (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 14 The little lost girl by Eleanor Raper (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 15 Dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 16 The bad Mrs. Giner by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1902)
No 17 Peter Piper's practical principles (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 18 The Little White Barbara (Grant Richards, 1902)
No. 19 Japanese Dumpy (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 20 Towlocks and his wooden horse Alice Appleton & Honor C. Appleton (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 21 The three little foxes by Mary Tourtel (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 22 The old man's bag by T. W. H. Crosland (illustrated by J. R. Monsell) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 23 The three goblins by M. G. Taggart (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 24 Dumpy proverbs by Honor C. Appleton (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 25 More dollies by Richard Hunter (illustrated by Ruth Cobb) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 26 Little yellow Wang-Lo by M.C. Bell (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 27 Plain Jane (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 28 The sooty man (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 29 Fishy Winkle by Jean Archer (illustrated by the author) (Grant Richards, 1903)
No. 30 Rosalind (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 31 Sammy and the Snarliwink (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 32 The motor car Dumpy book T. W. H. Crosland & J. R. Monsell (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 33 Irene's Christmas party by Richard Hunter & Ruth Cobb (Grant Richards, 1904)
No. 34 The Little Soldier Book (Jessie Pope 1907)
No. 35 A Dutch Doll’s Ditties (C. Aubrey Moore 1907)
No. 36 Ten Little Nigger Boys (Nora Case 1907)
No. 37 Humpty Dumpty’s Little Son (Helen Reid Cross 1907)
No. 38 Simple Simon (Helen Reid Cross 1907)
No. 39 The Little Frenchman (Coybee 1908)
No. 40 The Story of an Irish Potato (Schofield 1908)

Two further titles;



1.  The Coronation dumpy book pictures by Patten Wilson text by T.W.H.Crosland (1902)
1a. The Royal Dumpy (c1902)

I would like to thank Carol Exton for the following information;

As well as the pale red Coronation Dumpy, which you added at the bottom of your write up, there is also The Royal Dumpy which is dark blue. Exactly the same text and drawings inside. No date, but mine has an inscription dated 1908. As King George Vll 's coronation was 1901, it makes sense that these books were published around 1902 but neither book state a date. 
They are a delight to read particularly as the poetry and prose are so awfully bad!! 

Carol goes on to say

Hi Barbara, I'm happy for the photos to be added to your website. Any sharing of information is helpful. Someone might reply with more background confirming dates or explaining why two books with the same content have different titles and covers. 
I think they are really special as old quaint children's books, but would be unpublishable today. The writing is truly terrible. An example is the poetry from page 12: 
" No matter how pleasant and balmy the gales
We always feel lonely without the Prince of Wales."

Sunday Dumpy 

1. Daniel in the Lion's Den 1903
2. Joseph and his Brethren 1904

With thanks to Carol Exton for the extra information and list of titles.


The Larger Dumpy Books for Children. Large 8vo, grey cloth, gilt, originally priced at 2/6. Approximately 145 pages.

I. The Six Inch Admiral by George A. Best illustrated from (50) photographs by C. H. Park

II. Holidays and Happy Days by E. Florence Mason and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by E. Florence Mason.

III. Pillow Stories by S. L. Heward and Gertrude M. Bradley illustrated

IV. About Faires and Other Facts by Maud Stawell 4 black and white illustrations by Eleanor March

V. Baby Jane’s Mission by Reginald Parnell with 50 illustrations

VI. The Rose and the Ring or the History of Prince Giglio and Prince Bulbo (a fireside pantomime for great and small children) by W. M. Thackeray. 50 illustrations

VII. Merry Mr. Punch by Gertrude M. Bradley and Hamish Hendry. 24 colour illustrations by Gertrude M. Bradley.


A note about the publisher Grant Richards

Grant Richards was born on the 21st October, 1872 in Patrick, Lanarkshire. He was the first of two children of Franklin and Emily Richards. His father taught at Glasgow and Oxford University, which led to Grant attending school at Langdale House in Oxford in 1880, and later the City of London School.

His uncle Grant Allen recognising Grant’s interest in print arranged for him to begin his career in a wholesale book company. Grant worked there until 1890 when his uncle obtained a new position for him on the Review of Reviews.

Grant formed his own publishing house in 1897 from offices at Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London. A year later, he married his first wife Elisina, and they had four children, Gerard, Geoffrey, Charles and Gioia. Grant and Elisina were divorced in 1914.

Grant published the first works of many authors, such as George Bernard Shaw, G. K. Chesterton and Arnold Bennett, all of whom later moved to larger publishing houses to further their careers. The company also produced volumes of collected works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen as well as World Classics and the Dumpy Books for children. 


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