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Ilustrated News Juliana Horatis Ewing's Canadian Pictures

Illustrated News: Juliana Horatia Ewing's Canadian Pictures, Donna McDonald

Juliana Horatia (Gatty) Ewing

Juliana Horatia (Gatty) Ewing (children’s writer, editor, letter writer, novelist, and poet) was born 3 August 1841 in Ecclesfield, South Yorkshire, England. She was an important figure in children’s literature in Britain in the 1870s and 1880s. She was the second of ten children. Her father, Alfred Gatty, was a Reverend at the vicar of Ecclesfield in Yorkshire and her mother, Margaret, was also a children’s writer. Juliana was married but had no children. She died on 13 May 1885 at Bath.

Ewing was home-schooled because of illness. She suffered from quinsy, an illness that had a great affect on her life. Writers such as Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, and Frederick Marryat had an important influence on her as a writer.

Ewing wrote more than thirty books of juvenile literature during her career, most of which received positive reviews and exerted noticeable influence on other children’s writers who followed her. Her most well known works are The Brownies and other tales (1865, novel), Madame Liberality (1873, novel), Lob Lie-By-The-Fire (1874, novel), Six to Sixteen (1875, novel), Canada Home (1879, poetry), We And the World (1880, novel), Jackanapes (1883, novel), Daddy Darwin’s Dovecot (1884, novel), and The Story of a Short Life (1885, novel).

The writer who most influenced her was Hans Christian Andersen. He wrote something of his own career in The Old Bachelor’s Nightcap, and Ewing did the same in Madame Liberality. In that book, she wrote about suffering from quinsy, yet she made the experience a positive one by writing of the virtues of courage and humility that her illness taught her.

Her work has been especially important in the field of children’s literature. The critic Desmond Pacey said, “[h]er greatest strengths were her ability to convey the normal pleasures of childhood in an unaffected, un-patronizing manner.”

Marah Gubar agreed, writing that, characters in The Brownies “serve as a role model for child readers, inviting them to refuse to accept ‘The End’ as the last word” (43). Gubar adds that her stories delight not only children but also adults.

Ewing was also the editor of a number of magazines. The most famous was Aunt Judy’s Magazine, which she published many of her stories in. The magazine recalled Ewing’s childhood nickname. The magazine was first edited by her mother, and became one of the most important publications for children in Britain.

She moved to Canada after she married Alexander Ewing, an officer in the British army, on 1 June 1867. The couple moved to Fredericton, where her husband was transferred, and they lived in New Brunswick for a short time until October 1869. Canada Home describes her experiences in Canada, her Canadian writing first appearing in Aunt Judy’s Magazine in 1879. Canada Home was published again with her Canadian drawings and twenty-two of her letters from Fredericton to her home in Leaves from Juliana Horatia Ewing’s “Canada Home.”

Her letters from Fredericton offer both literary and historical insight into the young province. She and her husband arrived in Fredericton during the week of Confederation, a very heady time in Canada. During their stay, the city was going through a period of transition: from a pre-Confederation “imperial garrison” (Ewing xi) to a post-Confederation “middle-class Maritime city” (Ewing, Canada Home xi). Her letters illustrate how much the city was changing at the end of the colonial era.

Even though her life in Fredericton lasted only two years, it is clear from her writings that she enjoyed the experiences in New Brunswick, even with the struggles she had to face, especially in winter. She had a hard time in winter, but she was able to capture and illustrate the experiences with humour and creativity, striving not to worry her family in Britain. She wrote in a letter to her mother in January 1868: “the weather, when not at its severest, is most lovely. The snow is like marble, the sky is of a bright and glowing blue such as I have never seen elsewhere” (Ewing 105). Yet, she also recognized how severe winter can be in New Brunswick, writing that “one knows what ‘cold weather’ really means when the wind blows” (Ewing, Canada Home 105).

Her letters also reflect her interest in nature, as she was a gardener and a student of natural history. She wrote in a letter that “I long to be at my garden! Your seed are most acceptable, & they will not know themselves in this quick growing climate” (Ewing 144). Her letters, then, offer readers a history of real people and real events at a time of an important transition in New Brunswick.

After the couple returned to England, Ewing never left again because of illness. In the late 1870s, her health became worse, though it did not stop her from writing. It was at this time that she became editor of Aunt Judy’s Magazine. Ewing even managed to write several books in the last years of her life. Horatia Eden writes: “It amazes me to realize how unreasonable we were in our impatience, and how her powers of invention ever kept pace with our demands” (18).

Maiko Tanabe, Spring 2010
St. Thomas University

bibliography of primary sources

Ewing, Juliana Horatia Gatty. Baby, Puppy, Kitty. Illus. R André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1885.

---. Blue Bells on the Lea. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

---. Blue & Red, or, the Discontented Lobster: His History Related in Verse. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. Brothers of Pity and Other Tales of Beasts and Men. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1882.

---. The Brownies and Other Tales. Illus. George Cruikshank. London: Bell & Daldy, 1870.

---. The Brownies and Other Tales. 1885. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2007.

---. Canada Home: Juliana Horatia Ewing’s Fredericton Letters 1867-1869. Ed. Margaret Howard Blom and Thomas E. Blom. Vancouver: U British  Columbia P, 1983.

---. Daddy Darwin’s Dovecot, Melchior’s Dream and Other Tales. 1884. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2008.

---. Dandelion Clocks and Other Tales. Ilus. Gordon Browne. Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1887.

---. Dandelion Clocks and Other Tales. 1887. Whitefish, MT: Keesinger Publishing, 2007.

---. The Doll's Wash. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. A Flat Iron for a Farthing: Or, Some Passages in the Life of an Only Son. London: Bell & Daldy, 1973.

---. A Flat Iron for a Farthing: Or Some Passages in the Life of an Only Son. 1909. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2008.

---. Grandmother's Spring. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1885.

---. A Great Emergency: And Other Tales. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1877.

---. Jackanapes. Illus. Randolf Caldecott. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

---. Jackanapes. 1883. Gloucs, United Kingdom: Dodo Press, 2007.

---. Jan of the Windmill: A Story of the Plains. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1876.

---. The Land of Lost Toys. Boston: Little, Brown, 1900.

---. Last Words: A Final Collection of Stories. Illus. H.D. Murphy. Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1891.

---. Little Boys and Wooden Horses. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

---. Lob Lie-by-the-Fire: Or, the Luck of Lingborough and Other Tales. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1874.

---. Lob Lie-by-the-Fire: And Other Tales. 1874. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2009.

---. Mary's Meadow: And Letters from a Little Garden. Illus. Gordon Browne. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1883.

---. Mary's Meadow, and Other Tales of Fields and Flowers. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1895.

---. Master Fritz. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. Melchior's Dream and Other Tales. Illus. M.S.G. Ed. Mrs. Alfred Gatty. London: Bell & Daldy, 1862.

---. The Mill Stream. Illus. R André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1885.

---. Miscellenea. Illus. Alfred Scott-Gatty. Mrs. Ewing's Works 17. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1896.

---. Mother's Birthday Review. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1885.

---. Mrs. Overtheway's Remebrances. Illus. J.A. Pasquier and J. Wolf. London: Bell & Daldy, 1869.

---. Mrs. Overtheway’s Remembrances. 1899. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2009.

---. Old Fashioned Faury Tales. Illus. A.W. Bayes, Gordon Browne and H. Harral. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1882.

---. Our Garden. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. The Peace Egg and a Christmas Mumming Play. Illus. Gordon Browne. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1887.

---. Poems of Child Life and Country Life. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1885.

---. The Poet & the Brook: A Tale of Transformations. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1885.

---. Six to Sixteen: A Story for Girls. Illus. Helen Paterson Allingham. Boston: Roberts Bros., 1876.

---. Six to Sixteen, a Story for Girls: Juliana Horatia Ewing’s Works V8. 1875. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2008.

---. Snap-Dragons: A Tale of Christmas Eve; and, Old Father Christmas: An Old Fashioned Tale of the Young Days of a Grumpy Old Godfather. Illus. Gordon Browne. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1887.

---. A Soldier's Children. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. The Story of a Short Life. Illus. Gordon Browne. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; NEw York: E. & J.B. Young, 1885.

---. The Story of a Short Life. 1885. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2007.

---. A Sweet Little Dear. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. Three Little Nest-Birds. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1883.

---. Tongues in Trees. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

---. "Touch Him if You Dare:" A Tale of the Hedge. Illus. R. André. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

---. Verses for Children and Songs for Music. London: Society for Promotting Christian Knowledge, 1895.

---. A Very Ill-Tempered Family. Boston: Little, Brown, 1900.

---. We and the World: A Book for Boys. Illus. W.L. Jones. London: G. Bell & Sons, 1880.

---. We And the World. 1880. Gloucs, United Kingdom: Dodo Press, 2007.

Ewing, Juliana Horatia Gatty and Alfred Scott-Gatty. Pappa Poodle and Other Pets. Illus. R. André. Verse Books for Children. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge; New York: E. & J.B. Young, 1884.

Ewing, Juliana Horatia Gatty and Margaret Gatty. Parables from Nature. Illus. P.H. Calderon, W. Holman Hunt, Otto Speckter, L. Frolich, E. Burne Jones, Harrison Weir, J. Tenniel and J. Wolf. 2 series. London: George Bell & Sons, 1885-6.

Bibliography of secondary sources

Gubar, Marah. “Revising the seduction paradigm: The case of Ewing’s The Brownies.” Children’s Literature 30 (2002): 42-66.

Horatia, K.F. Eden. Juliana Horatia Ewing and Her Books. Detroit, MI: Gale Research Company, 1969.

Pacey, Desmond, and Judith St. John. Gatty, Juliana Horatia (Ewing). Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online. <http://www.biographi.ca/009004-119.01-e.php?&id_nbr=5530 &interval=25&&PHPSESSID=1vleqdmbm54c99ojrahrd3313>.

Tucker, Elizabeth S. Leaves from Juliana Horatia Ewing’s “Canada Home.” Washington, DC: Roberts Brothers, 1896.