Books, Pamphlets, and Other Publications

Books, pamphlets, magazines, and other publications were a vital part of the Humane Education movement in the late 19th- and early 20th-centuries. These publications took many different forms. In some instances they were collections of stories or songs, such as Songs of Happy Life compiled by Sarah J. Eddy. In other cases they were “autobiographies” told from the perspective of a dog or a horse, a genre of writing in which Anna Sewell’s 1877 novel Black Beauty is perhaps the most widely known. Black Beauty remains a very popular novel, has been translated in to a number of languages, and has recently been digitized. The enduring legacies of publications like this speak volumes about the power of literature and art to teach people to have compassion and empathy for other species.

In addition, more factual-based leaflets and brochures with tips on how to properly care for animals were published on a regular basis by groups like the American Humane Education Society (AHES). In almost all instances there was the inclusion of images based on what the visual and printing technologies of the day would permit. Organizations would go to considerable expense to ensure that illustrations were included in these publications, a testament to the value they placed on these visual representations.

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A Mother’s Lessons on Kindness to Animals, front cover. Signed by Henry Bergh (founder of the ASPCA) to George T. Angell (founder of the MSPCA and AHES). Collection of MSPCA Angell.

The History of the Robins by Sarah Trimmer. Collection of the National Museum of Animals & Society.

Songs of Happy Life, compiled by Sarah J. Eddy. Collection of the National Museum of Animals & Society.

Beautiful Joe, published in 1893 by Margaret Marshall Saunders. Collection of National Museum of Animals & Society.

Manual of Moral and Humane Education, 1910. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

Humane Education Leaflets–Farm Animals. Published by the American Humane Education Society. Collection of MSPCA Angell.

Cover of Our Dumb Animals, Volume 64 no7 (July 1931). Collection of MSPCA Angell.

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