This little booklet dates back to the 1930s. There is no copyright date on it, but there are so many of these for sale online that I've come by the date due to the consensus of sellers. 1930s. Fine with me.

I bought this copy a couple years ago at an estate sale. It's in such good condition I didn't actually think it was old.

Metropolitan Mother Goose_ft-bk_tatteredandlost

Met Mother Goose_C_tatteredandlost

Met Mother Goose_A_tatteredandlost

Met Mother Goose_B_tatteredandlost
Click on any image to see it larger.

I have found very little about the illustrator Emma E. Clark. I can tell you she was born in 1883 in New York City and died in 1930 in Whitestone, New York. Her medium was gouache. Click here to see another illustration by Clark.

Okay red lights flashing, red lights flashing...how could she have illustrated this in the 1930s and be dead. Well, from what I've been able to determine, this little booklet was originally published in the 1920s. I do recall seeing a 1920s version somewhere, though it's usually the 1930s one that shows up for sale. Then again, I could be wrong about everything. I do know this little booklet is for sale all over the net. It's also available online here.

Now is where it gets interesting. Today is the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.
The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City on March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of the city of New York and resulted in the fourth highest loss of life from an industrial accident in U.S. history. The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers, who either died from the fire or jumped to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent immigrant Jewish women aged sixteen to twenty-three. Many of the workers could not escape the burning building because the managers had locked the doors to the stairwells and exits. People jumped from the eighth, ninth, and tenth floors. The fire led to legislation requiring improved factory safety standards and helped spur the growth of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, which fought for better working conditions for sweatshop workers. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory was located in the Asch Building, now known as the Brown Building of Science, a New York University facility. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and a New York City landmark. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
So you're wondering what this horrific tragedy has to do with Mother Goose and Met Life? It's the woman who is listed on the title page, Elizabeth C. Watson. I can't verify that this Elizabeth C. Watson is the same who wrote "Home Work in the Tenements" (link to Google Books) in 1911, just a short time before the tragedy. The Elizabeth who wrote this piece was the Secretary of the Work and Wages Committee of the Child Welfare Exhibit.

In 1913 she was part of the team that wrote the "Second Report of the Factory Investigating Commission, 1913."

I cannot verify whether or not Elizabeth C. Watson for the Met Life Mother Goose booklet and the studies on tenement housing and labor are the same woman. Really, it doesn't make any difference. The fact that my searching her name brought up the labor articles on such a historic day is what's important.

Take a moment and remember those who died 100 years ago at the hands of greedy employers and women with few worker's rights. Bless those who died and the families they left behind.


  1. Wows. Absolutely amazing how the web has made such little known and little remembered incidents hit so close to home. I learn something new every day. Let's see how long I can cling to these little factoids.

  2. Great illustrations and so rich in color! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. I had never heard of this. Such awful conditions. Thank goodness many things have changed ( a little).