Which Chikun?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Dec 29 03:08:40 UTC 2010

I congratulate, or commiserate with, Garson for being more exhaustive
than I -- I did not wade through WorldCat for editions of "Chicken Little".

At 12/28/2010 09:15 PM, Garson O'Toole wrote:
>Joel S. Berson wrote:
> > Having had to seriously question my received childhood wisdom, I
> > decided to investigate this (via Google Books).  [My results partly
> > overlap Garson's; I was either slower, started later, or more
> > exhaustive.  I don't think he cites the 1825 no-preview hit; nor the
> > 1832 "Discourse" by Convers Francis that his (and my) 1844 Peleg
> > Chandler quote apparently plagiarizes.]
>Excellent work Joel. I did find the citations that Google Books dates
>to 1825 and 1832 but decided that the dates were flawed.
>1825 Story of Chicken Little: colored_  T. H. Carter & Co.  16 pp.
>[No preview.]
>When I looked for this book in WorldCat I found that the database
>record gave a large date range from 1825 to 1845. I think this means
>that the book itself is undated, like many children's books.

Perhaps undated on title page --  but the number of editions of 16 or
8 pages and the various publishers named suggests that there was at
least one between 1825 and 1840.  But I can't prove that any are
dated -- Harvard's earliest holding with "Chicken Little" as part of
the title is 1884.  :-)  And Google Books doesn't cite its source for
what it claims is 1825.

But WorldCat does have 2 listings for "1840?" and "between 1840 and
1844" (with different publishers asserted), with Yale holding both,
and a handful without thumb of other libraries holding one or the other.  Fred?

>I suspect
>the proper date falls in the very late part of this range, but it is
>difficult to evaluate because no images are visible in "no preview"
>mode. I should have mentioned it.

The following at least I suspect is correctly dated:
      1840.   _Chicken Little. Price 12 1/2 cts. Remarkable story of
Chicken Little_  Benjamin B. Mussey, 29 Cornhill  16 pp.  [No preview.]

The following seem definitive that the story of "Chicken Little" was
known by 1842:
      1842.  _The Knickerbocker, or New-York Monthly Magazine_ Volume
19 - Page 454 (May) [Article titled "Life in Haiti".  Full
view]:  "In the words of an infantile philosopher, yclept 'Chicken
Little,' 'How can he _help_ knowing it! He sees it with his eyes and
he hears it with his ears;' and would it not be rank skepticism to
doubt such authorities?"

The following seems definitive that there was a publication by 1844:
      1844.  Marco Paul's travels and adventures in the pursuit of
knowledge.  Jacob Abbott.  [Full view.  This title is correctly dated
-- see the third of three title pages.]  Page [135]  "Books published
by T. H. Carter & Co.  ... Birth-Day and Holiday
Presents,....1844."  Page [136]:  "REMARKABLE STORY OF CHICKEN
LITTLE. Each book is neatly colored, and sold by the gross or dozen,
assorted or separately, very cheap."  (Page numbers according to
Google; pages unnumbered, but the correct counting from 133, which is

>1832 A discourse delivered at Plymouth, Mass. Dec. 22, 1832: in ..._.
>Convers Francis. [Metadata confirmed from Harvard catalog.]  Page 29
>If you page backward from the page containing the term "Chicken
>Little" you discover that the speech was delivered Peleg Chandler in
>1844, and it was not delivered by Convers Francis in 1832. Multiple
>orations were combined to create the scanned volume in Google Books
>and the data of 1832 is incorrect because it only corresponds to the
>first oration.

My failure to be thorough.


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