State Library of South Australia logo To be a child
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future

Alphabet sheet
Title : Alphabet sheet Alphabet sheet
Add To My SA Memory
Source : The aunt's gift : a new battledoor
Place Of Creation : [London]
Publisher : Printed & sold by Darton & Harvey
Date of creation : 1795
Format : Ephemera
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
The State Library of South Australia is keen to find out more about SA Memory items. We encourage you to contact the Library if you have additional information about any of these items.
Copyright : Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.
Description :

Battledores were a later development of the horn book, in that pictures to illustrate the letters were added. They were usually printed on thin card, which could be folded two or three times to make a small booklet. Some battledores had small rhymes for each letter. The Aunt's gift features domestic and wild animals, is printed on paper rather than card and folds three times tp produce four pages. It should be noted that there are only 24 letters in this alphabet, 'J' and 'V' being missing (possibly a printer's convenience which allowed the sheet to fold neatly into four 'pages', and perhaps because 'J' and 'V' were not used in the Roman alphabet) . The long 's' is also used, typically seen in books published before 1801 (see 'M' mouse, and 'S' squirrel). Some animals featured have since become extinct, and some spellings have changed: Kanguroo and Nyl Ghau.

This battledore is among the earliest works for children to illustrate the kangaroo.

Battledores are claimed to have been developed in 1746 by Benjamin Collins, a Salisbury bookseller. His Royal battledore was published in association with John Newbery.
Coverage year : 1795
Further reading :

Carpenter, Humphrey. The Oxford companion to children's literature, Oxford [Oxfordshire]; New York: Oxford University Press, 1984

Folmsbee, Beulah. A little history of the horn-book, Boston: Horn Book, c1971 (1972 printing)

Tuer, Andrew W. History of the horn-book, London: Leadenhall Press, 1897

Whalley, Joyce Irene. Cobwebs to catch flies: illustrated books for the nursery and schoolroom, 1700-1900, London: Elek, 1974

Internet links :
Exhibitions and events :



About SA Memory

Explore SA Memory

SA Memory Themes


My SA Memory


What's on