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W.T. Stead's Books for the Bairns

Sally Wood-Lamont

The title of this series immediately conjures up a Scottish image but in fact Books for the Bairns were published in England by an Englishman. W. T. Stead, philanthropist, pacifist, politician, psychic and journalist was born on July 5th 1849 at Embleton Manse near Alnwick. His early schooling was given by his father, a congregational minister who taught him Latin as a second language. At the age of twelve he went to Silcoates School near Wakefield and after two years he became an office boy in a merchant's counting house on Quayside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. His main reading at that time was the Sporting Life until the Dick's Penny Shakespeare came out and his eyes were opened to a new world of literature. His first writing effort to be accepted was an essay on Oliver Cromwell submitted to the Boy's Own Magazine, under the pseudonym of W.T. Silcoates. For this he received the sum of one guinea to be spent on books published by the proprietor, S.O. Beeton. At the age of eighteen he published his first periodical, The Magazinctum, a journal of the Stead Family. This magazine, illustrated by many of his own pen sketches, was privately circulated. It lasted for five years.

In 1870, J. Hyslop Bell published the first halfpenny morning newspaper, The Northern Echo, at Darlington. Stead used this as a platform to broadcast his ideas for solving the problems of the unemployed and the poor. A few months later he was offered the editorship of this daily at a salary of £150 per annum, becoming the youngest editor in England at that time. Within ten years he made the Northern Echo "the most potent mouthpiece of Radicalism and the Nonconformist Conscience in the provinces". (1) He supported Gladstone's protest against the clamour for war against Russia, during the atrocity agitation of 1876 and his support was, in fact, a major factor in Gladstone's victory in the Midlothian Election of 1880. In that same year, on the recommendation of Gladstone and Joseph Chamberlain, he became assistant editor of the Pall Mall Gazette and within four years had succeeded John Morley as Editor. This was the beginning of the "New Journalism", of which he was a pioneer. One innovative feature was that the interview became standard practice. Public campaigns were initiated, illustrated and written by the editor himself, and new subjects, such as housekeeping, literature and gossip columns, were introduced.


However Stead never forgot his early years and often said that if it had not been for the Penny Shakespeare or the availability of a cheap subscription library, he would never have known the world of journalism. He was renowned for his generosity to "lost" causes and to "damsels in distress" and his philanthropy was often misguided; yet some of his schemes were equal to those of the great social reformers.

One of the foremost public criticisms of the 1880's was the fact that the London Press did not report the real horrors of the slums or the conditions of the poor. In October 1883 Stead promoted the anonymous pamphlet "The Bitter Cry of Outcast London" through the pages of the Pall Mall Gazette. So successful was his journalism that it practically brought about the setting up of Lord Salisbury's Royal Commission on the Housing of the Poor, over and above making the Gazette one of the most popular journals of that period. However Stead's most famous role in social reform was "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon".

In 1885 the Chamberlain of the City of London came to see Stead entreating him to assist in the passing of a Bill against Child Prostitution through the House of Commons. Juvenile prostitution had increased alarmingly and the law as it stood was powerless. At that time any child of thirteen and over was "judged legally competent to consent to her own seduction". (2) Even worse was the fact that children under eight were not allowed to give evidence against their assailants because they were considered too young to understand the legal oath. The public had always closed their eyes to the fact that children could be bought from their parents and sold to rich men and to continental brothels. Stead, in disguise, went into "the lowest haunts of criminal vice and obtained too ample proof of the reality and extent of the evils complained of." (3) To substantiate his exposure of the London underworld, Stead enlisted the reluctant assistance of a woman called Rebecca Jarrett who had been a procuress before joining the Salvation Army. She succeeded in obtaining thirteen-year-old Eliza Armstrong from her mother for the price of £3 with £2 to follow. The girl was installed in a brothel and when Stead arrived, he introduced himself and was permitted to enter Eliza's room. Immediately afterwards a Salvation Army woman and a prominent London physician examined Eliza and she was then moved to a Salvation Army Hostel in Paris to escape publicity.

Stead then published in the Pall Mall Gazette, from the 6th July 1885 to the 12th July 1885, the Report of the Secret Commission into the Criminal Vice of London under the title of "The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon". It was sensational journalism at its best and the country rose up in a flurry of moral indignation. The Criminal Law Amendment Bill, given up as hopeless just a few months previously, was passed into law as quickly as possible. It raised the age of consent to 16, allowed girls of any age to testify against procurers and finally increased penalties for both domestic and "white slavery".

However, even Stead could not have foreseen a greater finale: Eliza's mother suddenly decided she wanted her daughter back. It was disclosed that Rebecca Jarrett had failed to obtain the necessary legal consent of the father and in an even greater wave of publicity, Stead and his "accomplices" were judged guilty of abduction. (In fact, it was found out later that the child had been born out of wedlock and therefore the father had no legal rights over her anyway.)

Stead was sentenced to three months in prison and though his first three days were spent rather uncomfortably in Coldbath-in-the-Fields Prison, the rest of his time was spent in Holloway Jail, where he was given preferential treatment. As always he used his circumstances to his best advantage. He edited the Gazette from his cell showing pictures of the jail with his New Year's greeting card and on his release published a threepenny pamphlet entitled My First Imprisonment. Thereafter, on each anniversary of his imprisonment, 10th November, he would parade through London wearing his prison clothes as a reminder to everyone of his triumph over evil.

Stead also will be remembered for his work on behalf of the British Navy. His famous series of articles, "The Truth about the Navy", in the Pall Mall Gazette aroused such public fervour that within ten weeks the Gladstone government granted a £5.5 million supplement to strengthen the navy. Stead believed that "on the supremacy of the British Navy depends the peace of the whole world" (4) and that "it was not by the abandonment of force on the part of the advocates of law and of peace that anything could be done, but by the use of force in the defence of law and for the suppression of anarchy". (5) His obsession that Britain should have a navy twice as large as Germany's, led to his famous phrase "two keels to one", which will always remain in navy parlance. Along with his advocacy of male and female compulsory conscription, his campaign strengthened naval defence at a most opportune time.

Stead had always been a Russophile and had always tried to reflect these views in the Pall Mall Gazette. In 1888 he went to Russia where he stayed with Leo Tolstoy and talked with Nicholas II about peace and liberty. During his absence he sent letters to be published in the Gazette. On his return he found these letters and articles had been edited and printed in small type and placed in such a way that they were unnoticed. In direct confrontation with the owner who was not keen to promote pro-Russian propaganda, Stead decided to reprint his writings on the front page and on account of his obstinacy, almost lost his job. In the end he took a reduction in his salary of £200 per annum.

In 1890 Stead left the Pall Mall Gazette and launched his own monthly journal, Review of Reviews. Through its pages he continued his campaign for social reform. He advertised lists of orphaned and abandoned children under the heading "Baby Adoption" and many found good homes. He was the instigator of the English-Speakers' Correspondence Club and the Village Subscription Libraries. It was Stead's idea to have boxes outside railway stations where newspapers and books could be thrown away to be distributed to hospitals, etc. He assisted greatly in the writing of General Booth's famous book In Darkest England and The Way Out which outlined a scheme to employ men in towns and to transfer excess urban populations to rural parts of England and abroad.

In 1893, just after his first attempt to launch The Daily Paper which was never published because it was just not up to the standard of other well established papers, he crossed the Atlantic to visit the World's Fair in Chicago. That November he arranged a conference in order to preach his beliefs to the Chicago public. It was a resounding success. Extending his stay considerably, he wrote and published, If Christ came to Chicago, a 500 page book costing fifty cents, in which he proclaimed that faith in Christ by every town-dweller would "lead directly to the civic and social regeneration of Chicago or any other great city". (6) The book used all Stead's ploys of sensational interviews and lurid descriptions of the disreputables, the degenerates, the "Boodlers" and also exposed mass corruption in the running of the city. In the hysteria that followed, he met all local Christian leaders and spoke with theologians, anarchists, gamblers, saloon keepers and the leaders of the Woman's Christian Temperence Union in America. He organised a Civic Federation and realised a sum of $640,000 from Chicago citizens and supporters. With this money he appointed a band of 3,000 men, nicknamed "Stead's Brigade", to do major construction work in Chicago. He did manage to work alongside his chosen men for three hours, but unused to manual labour, he caught a chill. Thirty years later the establishment of a People's Palace, a Labour Exchange, Sports Grounds, Theatres and an Art Institute, many miles of boulevards and acres of parks were attributed to Stead's energetic work.


Spiritualism was an accepted pastime of the late nineteenth century. Bernard Shaw and Arthur Conan Doyle were among many names associated with such happenings. Julia Ames only met W. T. Stead twice and corresponded a few times with him in her lifetime but soon after she died in 1892, her close friend came to see Stead to ask if he could get in touch with her through Telepathic Auto-Handwriting. Stead describes this phenomenon: "By that I mean I can, after making my mind passive, place my pen on paper and my hand will write messages from friends at a distance; whether they are in the body or whether they have experienced the change called death makes no difference." (7) He regularly received messages from both sides of the "world" which culminated in his book Letters from Julia; an enlarged edition was published in 1905 and 1914 with the title After Death. In 1894 Stead began one of his most controversial publications Borderland, a psychical quarterly. In his introduction he states that "what the Society for Psychical Research has done for a select few, Borderland aspires to do for the great public! In this age we are democratising everything and one of the last things to be democratised has been the study of the spook." (8) Unfortunately most eminent scientists, theologians and journalists were scathing in their criticism. Professor James Giekie wrote "judging from the disastrous effect produced by occult phenomena on some people I have met, I am inclined to fear that the publication of your Borderland, however well intentioned, may tend to increase the population of our lunatic asylums." (9) As always, Stead disregarded his critics and though the journal was discontinued in 1897, his "Borderland Subscription Library" remained popular.


In 1898 the Emperor of Russia issued his Peace Rescript, and Stead, who had always been a pacifist, launched his biggest campaign for World Peace using the Tsar as his spearhead. Stead travelled through most of Europe's capitals gathering an international consensus of opinion and on his return he organised the Peace Crusade in St James's Hall, London. During the next few months his crusades raised over £5000.

In his role as a pacifist, he published one of the first peace magazines, War Against War! A chronicle of the International Crusade of Peace, from 13th January-31st March 1899. As always, Stead wrote to the most celebrated names of his era and then published their messages of support in the paper. Such names as Andrew Carnegie, Earl Grey, Lord Rosebery and Gladstone were all featured. For one penny a week, subscribers were bombarded with sermons of peace from all over the world. The "Crusaders Picture Gallery" page had character sketches of Nicholas II and Count Leo Tolstoi among others. (An advertisement even proclaimed that "Neave's Food" had been used for some time in the Russian Imperial Family!) Maps showed where meetings for the Crusade of Peace were being held and reports followed from each meeting. Descriptive accounts such as the effects of modern bullets and other related war wounds were shown in graphic detail. In every issue subscribers were lectured thus: "what are you going to do to help the cause of Peace? Have you done anything at all? Help in the house, at work? It is only upon such individual strenuous efforts that the hope of the world lies." (10)

Stead visited Russia again before playing a prominent part in the International Peace Conference held at The Hague in 1899. Soon afterwards the outbreak of the Boer War in South Africa forced him to return to London. Fired with his success in Holland, Stead took the initiative in forming the famous Stop the War Committee. Mr. W.M. Crook, the editor of the Echo who had been forced to resign because of his pro-Boer views, Lloyd George and Keir Hardie were all members. Stead's "Stop the War" campaign was doomed to failure but he was revered because of his courageous fight against English public opinion. His pro-Boer partiality also severed his long friendship with Cecil John Rhodes. (Previously Rhodes had made Stead an executor of his will, but now removed his name.)

During the years of the Boer War, 1899-1902, the Review of Reviews had lost many subscribers because of Stead's views. Disregarding all these pointers, Stead again resurrected his Daily Paper. His idea was to "build up an organised living link for mutual co-operation for all kinds of social services" (11) and to give him "an opportunity of daily utterance in London's own political affairs". (12) It was issued at midday to catch those who did not buy a morning or evening paper but this was not popular. The first issue was late and the contents of the paper were not up to standard. Almost facing total bankruptcy, Stead had a complete nervous breakdown. His doctor recommended a complete rest and on his advice, Stead took a long voyage. Accompanied by his daughter Estelle, he went to South Africa to see the state of the country after the war and was welcomed by Dr. Jameson and Olive Schreiner. Unfortunately Stead had still not learnt discretion and caused a public outrage in South Africa and England when he described the Boers as heroes of the war and outlined a plan for a publication detailing their sufferings throughout the war. Stead laboured on regardless, presuming he was the saviour of the British Empire, but accomplishing little. He was forced to return to England to face the liquidation of his Daily Paper debts.

He devoted his last years to his International Peace Pilgrimage, attending conferences in New York and the Hague. In 1876 he had fought verbally against Turkey during the Bulgarian Atrocities, but in 1911 he fought with Turkey for arbitration, visiting the Sultan and Grand Vizier and impressing upon them the need for a policy of peace and reform. Funds ran out and without them, his inspiration for the Pilgrimage faded. In 1912 he received an invitation from the National Men and Women's Religious Forward Movement to speak on World Peace on April 22nd at the Carnegie Hall in New York. He cabled back accepting the invitation with the words "I expect to leave by the Titanic on April 10th and hope I shall be back in London in May". (13) Fifteen hundred lives were lost on the Titanic; W. T. Stead's was one of them. Twenty six years previously, he had written an article in the Pall Mall Gazette, spectacularly describing the imaginary disaster of a modern liner which did not have enough lifeboats. Two days after his death, this article was reprinted. I am sure Stead would have approved of his sensational epitaph.


Stead was a prolific letter writer and followed this through by becoming the foremost publisher of paperbacks in the Victorian Age. He realised the gap in the book market and the gulf between the rich and poor, and decided to make books available to all men, women and children regardless of class. In this ambition, he succeeded admirably.

In 1895 he had established "The Review of Reviews Circulatory Library"; for £6 per annum any subscribing centre could obtain the loan of a box of fifty books (postage paid) from his office every quarter. The centre would then lend books to its subscribers at 2d per week or 5s per annum. Stead's library was very different from others as it contained a large number of children's books. At the same time he launched the "Masterpiece Library", whose aim was to produce "within the compass of about a hundred clearly printed pages, the cream of the literature of the world". (14) "Penny Poets" was the first series; its first title, a ninety-six page edition of Macaulay's Lays of Ancient Rome, sold 200,000 within four months. Board school teachers and public elementary schools were lavish in their praise and the press gave excellent reviews of the new series. H. W. Morley, the editor of the London Daily Chronicle, urged Stead to add a "Penny Novelists" series and in January 1896 Stead began the "Penny Popular Novels".

Stead realised that if he was to succeed in his aim for books for everyone, he had to publish a series that would appeal to young children and be cheap enough for them to buy. He was aware that he would never have reached the pinnacle of success if books had not been made available to him at an early age. He was also anxious to preach his gospel of the true Christian way of life to the receptive minds of the young. Two months later, in March 1896, the first number of Books for the Bairns was published. Aesop's Fables contained sixty-four pages with almost two hundred line drawings by the Irish artist Brinsley Le Fanu. These illustrations were meant to say in pictures what the child was as yet unable to read and within a year sales rose rapidly to 150,000 a month. The titles that were published (see bibliography below) were from a wide range of well-known classics. All reflected the Victorian moral principles: Christianity, devotion to the monarchy and goodwill to all.

Stead wrote a foreword to most of his Books for the Bairns. Some of these preludes make interesting reading. In number seven, Cinderella, he states that at that time, severe criticism was directed at fairy tales. He quotes the critics' description of fairy tales as "pestilent stuff full of false science and erroneous views encouraging all sorts of superstition". Stead counteracts this, by saying he wants to send his collection of fairy tales "to a hundred thousand households confident that good not evil would come from popularizing these delightful romances of childhood". He concludes, "there have been many collections of fairy tales; they have been the Perquisite of the Rich but with Books for the Bairns, I will make them the Privilege of the Poor". In More Nursery Rhymes, number nineteen, Stead states that he has made a small alteration in the rhyme of Mother Goose. Instead of calling the rogue to whom Jack sold his goose, "a rascally Jew", he has changed it to "Screw, to avoid hurting the people who have been most cruelly used for nearly two thousand years". Warming to his theme of racial prejudice in Fairy Tales from China, number fifty-two, he preaches, "I hope you may never grow up to despise other people because they are not like yourself: they are often better than you". Even so, Stead's description of negroes as "little darkies" and "curly-headed woolly pated blackies", in the introduction to Old Brer Rabbit, number six, would certainly not be accepted in today's language.

In The Enchanted Doll, number forty-nine, the message is "try to love the boy or girl you dislike most and crush the nasty feeling of grudging envy - for LOVE is the Good Fairy of Life". In Gulliver's Travels, number eleven, Stead describes Dean Swift as a man who uses his writings "to strike men and women and make them feel sometimes if they had been lashed in the face with a whip". He goes on to say, "Swift's objective was to hold up to men and women, a glass in which they could see all their weaknesses and so in the end despise their faults". Introducing Brothers Grimm, number 123, Stead writes that "they only gathered up the stories of common poor folk, who had no books. Wise, great and rich men never cared to listen to such nonsense but these stories have done good to you and me and have brought mirth and joy into millions of homes". He continues by asking his "Bairns" to "pass their books to the poor".

On the subject of patriotism, in number thirty-six, Great Events in British History, he preaches "that in order to make life worth living for the millions, there must always be some who are ready to die for their fellow men". Again in number forty-three, King Arthur, he says, "God grant that when you come to pass hence, you may have been like King Arthur, tender, brave and chivalrous, loving-hearted and just". He describes Tom Thumb, number thirty-nine, as "a true-hearted son who cared more for his humble home and his loving mother than for all the splendours of the King's Court". On the appreciation of Mother Nature he encourages his "Bairns" to "always do to your pets what you would wish your parents to do to you" and in the Story of The Robins, number nine, his sermon is on the robbing of birds' nests. In the Quest of the Golden Fleece, number 101, his introduction becomes rather awesome for the young when he explains that "though there are no real live fiery dragons living now, there are others in the shape of DISEASE, WAR, DRUNKENNESS and GAMBLING". However, as the years passed fewer lectures appear in the Books for the Bairns as his involvement with world affairs grew. His sermons had found an international clientele and his aim was to reform the world.

In 1907, Stead brought out a new series of thirteen paperbacks entitled Collection Stead, a French edition of some of the most popular titles from the Books for the Bairns. In France the Books for the Bairns had been sold successfully to French schools for the teaching of English. Stead thought that using the French edition alongside the English edition would facilitate the teaching of the respective languages in both countries. All thirteen titles were translated into French by Mile. Latappy and were published in Paris, using the same illustrators and in the same format as their English counterparts. The cost of each number was twopence, post free, while schools were charged ten shillings per hundred including post and packing. In 1910 W. T. Stead made arrangements with the same French publisher in Paris to reissue the first thirteen titles again and to continue producing more French titles. Simultaneously they were printed in a French series entitled "Les Livres roses pour la jeunesse": each title was given the same running number in both series. However, the First World War made it increasingly difficult to continue and though "Les Livres roses pour la jeunesse" carried on for a number of years, Collection Stead ended with number 191 in 1916. From 1915-1916, most titles dealt with war subjects and it is interesting to note that two of the titles, 150-151 La Guerre sur mer and La Guerre dans les airs correspond to War at Sea and War in the Air, the second and third titles of the Puffin Picture Book Series published in 1940 during the Second World War.

The "Penny Novels" and the Review of Reviews were phased out at the turn of the century but Books for the Bairns continued. In 1899, Stead made a successful appeal for benefactors to buy for the poorhouse children a set of fifty Books for the Bairns at nineteen shillings the set. When he died in 1912, the editorship was taken over by his daughter, Estelle. The series ended in 1920 with the final number 288, entitled The Story of Bent Pin, where it was stated that it was the last issue at present, but that all titles were still available by post from the "Stead Publishing House". On 30th January 1923, Estelle Stead introduced the new Series of Books for the Bairns at twopence each. These were weekly titles with large coloured letters and figures on a white background. A different colour was used with each issue. At 8¼" x 5¼" they were larger than the first series which measured 7¼" x 4½". However, when on 7th August 1923, they were discontinued with issue 28 entitled The Wonderful Ship, not even offers of free crystal wireless sets could attract customers. In 1926-27 Ernest Benn Ltd. reissued twenty-five titles at sixpence each and offered the remainder stock of Books for the Bairns at inflated prices which did not find many sales. Ernest Benn's edition had an entirely different cover in a dull blue and was slightly bigger than the original. These also failed to capture the children's imagination because by then other publishers had realised the lucrative market of children's books. Though many publishers succeeded with hardback children's books, it was not until 1940, when Allen Lane began the "Puffin" series, that W. T. Stead's sales enterprise and instant success were ever matched in the paperback industry.

Copyright © 1987 Sally Wood Lamont M.B.E

Webmaster's Note... This article was first published as "Biography of W.T. Stead", in Sally Wood-Lamont's, "W.T. Stead and his Books for the Bairns", (Salvia Books, Edinburgh, 1987). My thanks to the author for permission to reproduce her work here.


1. Baylen, J.O., 'Stead's Penny "Masterpiece Library"', Journal of Popular Culture, 9(3), (1975), p. 710.
2. Robertson Scott, J.W., The Life and Death of a Newspaper, (London 1952), p. 126.
3. Ibid, p. 127
4. Stead, Estelle, My Father, (London 1913), p.112.
5. Whyte, Frederic, The Life of W.T. Stead, Volume I, (London 1925), p.155
6. Stead, W.T., If Christ came to Chicago, (London 1894), p.XIV.
7. Smith, W.S., "The Astounding William T. Stead", Christian Century, July 3rd,80,(1963),p.857.
8. Borderland, A Quarterly Review and Index, Volume 1(1), (July 1894), p.7.
9. Ibid,p.17.
10. War Against War! A Chronicle of the International Crusade of Peace, 4, (London Feb. 3rd 1899), p.49.
11. Whyte, Frederic, The Life of W.T. Stead, 2 vols, II, (London 1925), p.235.
12. Robertson Scott, J.W., The Life and Death of a Newspaper, (London 1952), p.158.
13. Whyte, Frederic, The Life of W.T. Stead, 2 vols, II,(London 1925), p.313.
14. Baylen, J.O., "Stead's Penny 'Masterpiece Library'", Journal of Popular Culture, 9(3), (1975), p.712.
Bibliography of Books for the Bairns (First Series, 1896 - 1920)
1. Mar. 1896 Aesop's Fables
2. Apr. 1896 The Tales and Wonders of Jesus, Vol 1
3. May. 1896 Nursery Rhymes
4. Jun. 1896 Nursery Tales
5. Jul. 1896 The Adventures of Reynard the Fox Vol 1
6. Aug. 1896 The Wonderful Adventures of Old Brer Rabbit, by J.C. Harris 
7. Sep. 1896 Cinderella and Other Fairy Tales Vol 1
8. Oct. 1896 The Pilgrim's Progress or John Bunyan's Dream Vol 1
9. Nov. 1896 The Story of the Robins Vol 1, by Mrs Trimmer
10. Dec. 1896 The Christmas Stocking, by Elizabeth Wetherall
11. Jan. 1897 Gulliver's Travels Among the Little People of Lilliput, by Dean Swift.
12. Feb. 1897 The Ugly Duckling and Other Stories
13. Mar. 1897 The Frog Prince and Other Stories 
14. Apr. 1897 Eyes and no Eyes and The Three Giants 
15. May. 1897 Gulliver Among the Giants Part 2 of Gulliver's Travels.
16. Jun. 1897 Our Mother Queen: Story of the Longest Reign, by W.T. Stead.
17. Jul. 1897 The Jubilee Story Book, by W.T. Stead.
18. Aug. 1897 Twice One are Two
19. Sep. 1897 More Nursery Rhymes
20. Oct. 1897 More Stories about Old Brer Rabbit, by J. C.Harris.
21. Nov. 1897 Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress Part 2
22. Dec. 1897 The Christmas Tree and Other Stories, by Hans Andersen.
23. Jan. 1898 Tales from the Travels of Baron Munchhausen
24. Feb. 1898 The Story of a Donkey
25. Mar. 1898 The Marvellous Adventures of Sinbad the Sailor
26. Apr. 1898 Aesop's Fables Part 2
27. May. 1898 The Labours of Hercules
28. Jun. 1898 The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe
29. Jul 1898 The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Part 2
30. Aug 1898 Perseus the Gordon Slayer, by Canon Charles Kingsley.
31. Sep 1898 Favourite Stories from English History
32. Oct 1898 Coal Munk Peter and his Three Wishes, by Wilhelm Hauff.
33. Nov 1898 Story of Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
34. Dec 1898 Christmas in Other Lands 
35. Jan 1899 Hymns with Pictures
36. Feb 1899 Great Events in British History
37. Mar 1899 The Stolen Princess, by Edith Frodsham
38. Apr 1899 The Seven Champions of Christendom
39. May 1899 Tom Thumb's Adventures
40. Jul 1899 The Trotty Book, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.
41. Jul 1899 Fairy Tales from Flowerland Compiled by Margaret W. Rudd.
42. Aug 1899 Punch and Judy, by George Cruickshank.
43. Sep 1899 King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
44. Oct 1899 Stories from "Sandford and Merton"
45. Nov 1899 Fables of the Fontaine
46. Dec 1899 The Sleeping Beauty: a Fairy Tale Play
47. Jan 1900 From January to December: Nature Studies
48. Feb 1900 A Book of Merry Thoughts, by W. Busch & H. Rogers.
49. Mar 1900 The Enchanted Doll, by Mark Lemon
50. Apr 1900 The First Birdie Book, by W.T. Stead (with Bewick's engravings)
51. May 1900 Tales of Long Ago
52. Jul 1900 Fairy Tales from China
53. Jul 1900 The Redcross Knight Part 1
54. Jul 1900 The Redcross Knight Part 2
55. Aug 1900 Storybook of Country Scenes
56. Sept 1900 Fairy Tales from India
57. Oct 1900 The Mad Tailor and The Caliph Stork
58. Nov 1900 Snow Queen, by Hans Andersen.
59. Dec 1900 The Bairns' Bible, by W.T. Stead.
60. Jan 1901 Wonder Tales for Boys and Girls, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
61. Feb 1901 Brer Fox and Brer Rabbit, by J.C. Harris
62. Mar 1901 Pictures from England's Story
63. Apr 1901 Pictures from England's Story Part 2
64. May 1901 Stories from Ancient Rome
65. Jul 1901 Uncle Tom's Cabin Part1
66. Aug 1901 Uncle Tom's Cabin Part 2 
67. Sep 1901 Alfred the Great
68. Oct 1901 Shock Headed Peter and Other Funny Stories, by Dr Hoffmann.
69. Nov 1901 Cinderella, a Musical Play
70. Dec 1901 Father Christmas, the Editors Story 
71. Jan 1902 Don Quixote Part 1
72. Feb 1902 Max and Moritz, by the author of Merry Thoughts .
73. Mar 1902 Don Quixote Part 2 
74. Apr 1902 Kings and Queens of England
75. May 1902 The Crowning of the King in Westminster Abbey
76. Jun 1902 I Wish I were the King or Harry's Dream, by W.T. Stead.
77. Jul 1902 Fairy Tales from Persia Translated by J. A. Lee.
78. Aug 1902 Fairy Tales from Japan
79. Sep 1902 Fairy Tales from Africa Edited by Marion L. Adams.
80. Oct 1902 Sunday Stories, by Rev. Frederick Langbridge.
81. Nov 1902 Dick Whittington: a Musical Play in Four Scenes
82. Dec 1902 The Diverting History of John Gilpin
83. Jan 1903 Stories from Chaucer. Illustrated by Edith Ewen.
84. Feb 1903 Illustrated Recitations for School and Home Part 1. Edited by R.S. Wood.
85. Mar 1903 Babes in the Wood and Other Nursery Tales
86. Apr 1903 Animal Stories
87. May 1903 The Pied Piper of Hamelin and The Jackdaw of Rheims
88. Jun 1903 Little Snow White and Other Fairy Tales
89. Jul 1903 A Seaside Story, by Eleanor M. Warren.
90. Aug 1903 Life's Little Ones: Simple Stories of Insect Life, by Mrs W. G. Mathews.
91. Sep 1903 The Legend of the Birch Tree
92. Oct 1903 Tales from Shakespeare Illustrated by Edith Ewen.
93. Nov 1903 Beauty and the Beast (a Fairy Play)
94. Dec 1903 New Nursery Tales about the Old Nursery Rhymes
95. Jan 1904 Fairy Tales from the South Pacific
96. Feb 1904 The Story of Joseph and his Brethren
97. Mar 1904 The Ancient Mariner, by S. T.Coleridge
98. Apr 1904 Pictures to Paint
99. May 1904 Some Fairy Tales of the Ancient Greeks Illustrated by Rosie M. Pitman and B. Le Fanu.
100. Jun 1904 Budgie and Toddie, by their Long Suffering Uncle. Illustrated, by Felix Leigh.
101. Jul 1904 Quest of the Golden Fleece, by Nathaniel Hawthorne
102. Aug 1904 The Jolly Family at the Seaside, by W.T. Stead. Illustrated, by Ernest H. Mills.
103. Sep 1904 A Picture Book for the Bairns
104. Oct 1904 Illustrated Recitations for Schools Part 2 - Intermediate. Edited by Robert S. Wood.
105. Nov 1904 Bluebeard: a Nursery Tale Play
106. Dec 1904 The Fairy of the Snowflakes
107. Jan 1905 Sunday's Bairns, by Mark Lemon.
108. Feb 1905 The King and the Woodcutter
109. Mar 1905 Thor and the Giants, by Victor Plarr
110. Apr 1905 The Wishing Carpet and the Princess of the Sea
111. May 1905 The Water Babies Part 1, by Charles Kingsley.
112. Jun 1905 The Water Babies Part 2, by Charles Kingsley.
113. Jul 1905 The Story of Hiawatha. Retold, by Queenie Scott-Hopper
114. Aug 1905 Songs and Games, by Froebel. Translated, by Margaret Levy and Lucy Marks.
115. Sep 1905 Holiday Stories, by Gladys Davidson.
116. Oct 1905 Prince Want to Know
117. Nov 1905 The Slave of the Lamp a Play, by Marion Adams.
118. Dec 1905 In the Christmas Firelight, by Queenie Scott-Hopper.
119. Jan 1906 Ivanhoe retold, by Sir Walter Scott.
120. Feb 1906 Robin Hood and his Merry Men
121. Mar 1906 Parables for Little People
122. Apr 1906 The Rambles of Rat, by A.L.O.E.
123. May 1906 The House in the Wood By the Grimm Brothers. Illustrated by B. Le Fanu and George Morrow.
124. Jun 1906 Chief of the Giants: the Story of Hawthorn-Hair and the Beautiful Princess Olwen
125. Jul 1906 Letters from Fairyland, by Amy Sutherland. Illustrated by Constance Foxley.
126. Aug 1906 Cecily Among the Birds, by Maude Prower
127. Sep 1906 The Wise Men of Gotham, by A. Stapleton
128. Oct 1906 Red Riding Hood, a Play, by Gladys Davidson
129. Nov 1906 Mother Michael and her Cat
130. Dec 1906 The Yellow Dwarf, by the Countess D'Aulnoy
131. Jan 1907 The Flying Dutchman
132. Feb 1907 The Grateful Mouse Princess, by Edith Renauf.
133. Mar 1907 The King of the Golden River, by John Ruskin. Illustrated by Richard Doyle.
134. Apr 1907 The Lady of the Lake and the Lord of the Isles, by Sir Walter Scott.
135. May 1907 The Mad Tailor and the Caliph Stork
136. Jun 1907 The Animals at the Zoo, by Constance Barnicoat.
137. Jul 1907 The Magic Rose, by Gladys Davidson.
138. Aug 1907 A Summer in Squirrel Land, by L. Reid
139. Sep 1907 What Katy Did, by Susan Coolidge.
140. Oct 1907 The Babes in the Wood A Play, by Louise Egerton.
141. Nov 1907 The Foolish Fox and the Wise Little Hen with Pictures for Painting
142. Dec 1907 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.
143. Dec 1907 Alice Goes to Court Part 2 of 142 
144. Jan 1908 The Giant with the Golden Hairs Illustrated by Fanny Railton.
145. Feb 1908 Old Fireside Tales
146. Mar 1908 The Wild Swans, by Hans Andersen.
147. Apr 1908 A Book of Nonsense, by Edward Lear.
148. May 1908 The Gold Brocade, by Mrs St. Clair Tisdall.
149. Jun 1908 Heroes in Real Life
150. Jul 1908 A Flight from Fairyland 
151. Aug 1908 The Magic Seven
152. Sep 1908 Stories of the Persian Kings, by W. Hamblin. 
153. Oct 1908 A Queer Horse and a Strange Bear
154. Nov 1908 Maid Marion a Play, by Marion Adams.
155. Dec 1908 Tales Told in the Rag Bag, by Mrs W.G.Mathews.
156. Jan 1909 The Palace Under the Sea, by Hans Andersen. Illustrated by B. Le Fanu and Mrs Bishop-Culpeper.
157. Feb 1909 Two Bad Boys and Their Pranks, by Morley Adams.
158. Mar 1909 The Teddy Bears and Their Adventures with the Dolls, by Morley Adams. 
159. Apr 1909 Curly's Trip to Toyland and his Visit to the Clockmen, by L. C. Shadwell.
160. May 1909 Prince or Tailor? by Frank Mundell.
161. Jun 1909 Tales from Tennyson, by Edith L. Elias. 
162. Jul 1909 The King of the Swans
163. Aug 1909 The Story of Undine 
164. Sep 1909 The Brownies and Other Fables for Little Folk, by AmyRean.
165. Oct 1909 His First Pair of Trousers and Other New Stories, by Ethel Harding and Mary Fay.
166. Nov 1909 Ali Baba and the Thieves: a Play 
167. Dec 1909 The Gambler Prince, by Jessie D. Kerrvish. 
168. Jan 1910 A Brownie's Love Story, by Amy Eddison.
169. Feb 1910 A Little Grey Man. Translated from the French of Ed. Laboulaye.
170. Mar 1910 The Swallow from the Land of Egypt 
171. Apr 1910 Frank's Wonderful Journey, by Florence Tapsell 
172. May 1910 The Boy Who Wanted to Know
173. Jun 1910 The Pride of Princess Olga. Illustrated by Herbert Railton and B. Le Fanu.
174. Jul 1910 The Amazing Adventures of Barney Boo-Roo and Johnny Jelly-Boy, by Susan Robinson. Illustrated by S.G. Petherick.
175. Aug 1910 New Fairy Tales from Russia
176. Sep 1910 Merry Mind the Fiddler and Lady Greensleeves, by Frances Browne. Illustrated by S.G. Petherick and C.S. Hayward.
177. Oct 1910 The Queen of the May: a Fairy Play, by Carol Cartwright.
178. Nov 1910 The Enchanted Village, by Amy G. Eddison. Illustrated by C.S. Hayward.
179. Dec 1910 Little Peter - Second Part of the Enchanted Village, by Amy G. Eddison. Illustrated by C. S. Hayward.
180. Jan 1911 The Cuckoo and the Merry Tree, by Frances Browne
181. Feb 1911 Thrilling Adventures of the Young Fur Traders, by R.M.Ballantyne.
182. Mar 1911 The Black Dog of the House
183. Apr 1911 The Tale of a Tortoise and the Glass Hill. Illustrated, by B. Le Fanu and George Morrow.
184. May 1911 Our Fairy Place (The Crystal Palace) and the Wonders Inside, by W.T. Stead.
185. Jun 1911 The Crowning of King George V in Westminster Abbey
186. Jun 1911 Little Breeches, by Charles Bennett.
187. Jul 1911 Fables about Animals, by La Fontaine.
188. Aug 1911 The Talisman, by Sir Walter Scott
189. Sep 1911 The Basket of Violets, by Ethel Carnie. Illustrated, by B. Le Fanu and Constance Foxley.
190. Oct 1911 The First Baby  and Other Original Stories
191. Nov 1911 Snow-White and the Bears: A Play, by Marion Adams.
192. Dec 1911 The Spotted Cat, by Amy Eddison.
193. Jan 1912 In Lazy Land, by Ethel Carnie.
194. Feb 1912 The Raksha Rajah, by Jessie D. Kerrvish.
195. Mar 1912 The Last of the Minstrel 
196. Apr 1912 The Barber's Bargain
197. May 1912 Adventures of Bright-Eyes, by Jessie Phillips. Illustrated by C. S. Hayward and B. Le Fanu.
198. Jun 1912 How Jack Learned to Play, by Lucy M.Dorman
199. Jul 1912 The Strange Adventures of Three Brownies Written and Illustrated by G.E.Hobbs.
200. Aug 1912 Kit-Kat, by Amy G. Eddison.
201. Aug 1912 The Tale of Pat, by  Amy G. Eddison.
202. Sep 1912 Peter Good-for-Nothing, by  Mabel E.Worsfold. 
203. Oct 1912 The Magic Shoe, by  Ethel Carnie.
204. Oct 1912 Pictures and Stories from Holland
205. Nov 1912 The Princess and the Monster: a Play, by  Lilly Whitcombe
206. Dec 1912 A Brave Boy's Fight, by J.H. Newton. 
207. Jan 1913 Little Heart, the Gypsy, by Gertrude Doughty.
208. Feb 1913 The Story of Wango, by Jessie Phillips. 
209. Mar 1913 The Reason Why, by N.I.P. Illustrated by C. Shirley Hayward and B. Le Fanu.
210. Apr 1913 Stories of the Greek Tyrants, by W. Hamblin.
211. May 1913 Stowaways and Pirates, by John G. Peters. 
212. Jun 1913 Pictures and Stories From Germany
213. Jul 1913 Tales from a Fairy Garden, by Maud Gillespy.
214. Aug 1913 Tales and Legends of the Isle of Man, by Jessie D. Kerrvish.
215. Sep 1913 Little Welcome and the Pixie's Quest, by Margaret E. Gully and Dorothea Birch. Illustrated by C. Foxley and B. Le Fanu.
216. Oct 1913 Pictures and Stories from Denmark 
217. Nov 1913 The Magic Fan: a Play, by Carol Cartwright.
218. Dec 1913 Patrick and the Pixies, by Christine Chandler.
219. Sep 1914 The Drinking Stones
220. Oct 1914 Shipwrecked
221. Nov 1914 Baron Bold, the Smuggler: a Play.
222. Dec 1914 Stories of Christmas Among our Allies Illustrated by C. Foxley and Brinsley Le Fanu.
223. Jan 1915 Stolen, by Gipsies, by Nelson Fedden.
224. Feb 1915 Two Little Tales from Japan. Translated by Yei Suzuki.
225. Mar 1915 Amelia and the Dwarfs, by Mrs Ewing.
226. Apr 1915 Fairy Tales from Australia, by Ethel Buckland. 
227. May 1915 The Porcelain Palace of Pekin, by Dorothy Saunders.
228. Jun 1915 Pictures and Stories from Sweden 
229. Jul 1915 The Changeling Told and illustrated, by W.Foyster.
230. Aug 1915 The National Songs of the Allies and Neutral Nations, by Hubert Bath.
231. Sep 1915 (Snuffles Extra) "Might - or Right?" Topical War Play for Children
232. Oct 1915 Alice in Wonderland: a Play. Adapted, by Marion L. Adams.
233. Nov 1915 Topical Dialogues for Boys and Girls, by Christine Chandler and Bessie Hawkins
234. Dec 1915 Fairy Tales from the Lands of our Allies, by F. Tapsell. Illustrated by W. Foyster and Grace Beuzeville.
235. Jan 1916 The Quest of Orpheus, by Lilian Blackwell. 
236. Feb 1916 The Special Fete Days of Japan, by Yei Suzuki.
237. Mar 1916 Stories of the Great War: Heroic Bairns of France. Translated from the French of M. Charles Guyon, by N. Groom-Johnson.
238. Apr 1916 Stories of the Great War: Fights in the Air Translated from the French of M. Charles Guyon, by N. Croom-Johnson.
239. May 1916 Pictures and Stories from Ireland, by Sophie Sturge
240. Jun 1916 Our Bird Friends and How They Live, by Rowland J. Knight. With seven illustrations by Bewick.
241. Jul 1916 Golden Eggs and Other Stories of the Great War. Translated from the French of Mile. H.S. Bres., by Norman Groom-Johnson.
242. Aug 1916 Stories of the Great War: Fights on the Sea Translated from the French of Mile. H.S. Bres., by Norman Groom-Johnson.
243. Sep 1916 The Humbacked Horse: a Russian Fairy Tale, by Z. Shklovsky and Z. Edwards.
244. Oct 1916 Jack and the Beanstalk and the Little Pilgrims, Play: Adapted by Marion L. Adams.
245. Nov 1916 Stories of the Great War: the Boy Soldier, by Norman Croom-Johnson.
246. Dec 1916 Stories of the Great War: King Albert the Good, by Norman Croom-Johnson.
247. Jan 1917 Mollie and the Months, by Lilian Dalton. Illustrated by Winifred Foyster.
248. Feb 1917 Fairy Tales from Ireland Arranged by M. Fay.
249. Mar 1917 Heroes of Russia Translated by Norman Groom-Johnson.
250. Apr 1917 Heroines of the Great War Translated by Norman Croom-Johnson.
251. May 1917 Some Freshwater Fishes, by Ernest A. Litten. Illustrated by C.Tate Regan.
252. Jun 1917 Russian Fairy Tales
253. Jul 1917 Flowers and Their Names, by E. A. Lawrence. Illustrations from Flowers of the Field.
254. Aug 1917 Tale of a Cat: Kit-Kat & his Friends Written and illustrated, by Amy G. Eddison.
255. Sep 1917 Shakespeare, by John Booth
256. Oct 1917 The Marriage of Fairy Moondew Illustrated by Grace Beuzeville and Winifred Foyster.
257. Nov 1917 National Heroes of Canada, by Madge S. Smith
258. Dec 1917 Stories from the Trotty Book, by Elizabeth Stuart Phelps.
259. Jan 1918 Life-Story of Robert Louis Stevenson, by Jenny Vulcan.
260. Feb 1918 A Patriotic Seven, by Amy Whipple.
261. Mar 1918 A Bundle of Old Books, by John Home
262. Apr 1918 The Bee Book By Madge S. Smith
263. May 1918 Animal Life or Riverside Residents, by Ernest A. Litten.
264. Jun 1918 The Story of Gallant Merchant Service Written and illustrated by G.E. Hopcroft.
265. Jul 1918 The Brave Diver and Eleven Other Stories
266. Aug 1918 The Tale of Pat, by Amy G.Eddison.
267. Sep 1918 The Life of Abraham Lincoln, by Norman Groom-Johnson. Illustrated by G. Beuzeville and W. Foyster.
268. Oct 1918 The Masque of Time-A Play, by Hugh Mytton.
269. Nov 1918 The Story of Flying Machines, by T.W. Scott
270. Dec 1918 The Enchanted Islands, by G.E. Hopcroft. Illustrated by G. Beuzeville and W. Foyster.
271. Jan 1919 The Life Story of Charles Dickens, by Norman Groom-Johnson.
272. Feb 1919 French Fables in Rhyme
273. Mar 1919 The Story of the Submarine Written and illustrated by G.E. Hopcroft.
274. Apr 1919 The Yellow Dwarf, by the Countess D'Aulnoy
275. May 1919 How Railways Began Written and illustrated by G.E. Hopcroft.
276. Jun 1919 The Golden Goose and Other Stories
277. Jul 1919 Wings without String, by W.G. Mathews. Illustrated by John Napper.
278. Aug 1919 Angus with the Ass's Ears, by Margaret O. Curie. Illustrated by Winifred Foyster.
279. Sep 1919 Lady Barbara's Party, by Hugh Mytton. Illustrated by Grace Beuzeville and W. Foyster.
280. Oct 1919 The Story of Nelson, by G.E. Hopcroft. Illustrated by G.E. Hopcroft.
281. Nov 1919 Our Winter Birds: their Haunts and Habits, by Ernest A. Litten. Illustrations from Bewick.
282. Dec 1919 A Christmas Carol By Charles Dickens
283. Jan 1920 The Wonderful Adventures of Mr Fox, Mr Bear and Mr Wolf.
284. Feb 1920 Swiss Family Robinson Part 1 Illustrated by John Napper.
285. Mar 1920 Swiss Family Robinson Part 2 Illustrated by John Napper.
286. Apr 1920 The Post Boy Illustrated by Grace Beuzeville and W. Foyster.
287. May 1920 The Story of Thumbkin
288. Jun 1920 The Story of Bent Pin Illustrated by Grace Beuzeville and W. Foyster.

About this website

I founded this website in 2001 to assist me in my own research on W.T. Stead, little knowing then that it would become the largest online resource on Stead's life and career. Today this site is used by students, scholars and institutions around the world and has significantly contributed to the Study of W.T. Stead and the evils which he campaigned against. I hope you find it useful.

If you have a question that explicitly concerns any of the content on this website, feel free to Contact me and I will get back to you at my earliest convenience. However, please note that I no longer work in academia. With a very "busy" business to run, the time I can spare responding to enquiries through this website is finite, to say the least. So, please do not ask me to do research for you or assist in matters of family history.

Finally, though this website includes a section on Stead's obsession with spiritualism, I myself am not remotely interested in the subject. So, if you think you have seen Stead's ghost in your kitchen or believe you are the reincarnation of the great editor himself (or anyone else who died on the Titanic), I beg you not to tell me about it..

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As a subscription-free resource, this website depends on donations to help with the cost of development, hosting and historical research. Please consider making a contribution to help me preserve this valuable resource for future researchers. All donations are very gratefully received.

Owen Mulpetre, BA (Hons) MPhil

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