Shown here is a bound collection of two short stories for children about a foundling, Jack, and an orphan, William. They both reflect Romantic ideals of childhood and nature as set out in Rousseau’s Émile, or on Education. The Story of Little Jack was first published in 1787 and, selling well, continued to be issued in new editions, such as this one, for over 30 years.
The History of Little Jack, a foundling; together with the History of William, an orphan reveal similarities with other orphan stories from the period. Both of Day’s titles, for instance, echo an earlier novel by Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, first published in 1749.
Their author, Thomas Day, was a writer, philanthropist and abolitionist, but who made his name as a children’s author. Day is best known for the bestselling children’s book The History of Sandford and Merton.
- Full title:
- The History of Little Jack, ... a foundling ... With the History of William, an orphan. [By T. Day.]
- 1820, Dublin, Ireland
- Book / Children's book / Illustration / Image
- Thomas Day
- Usage terms
- Public Domain
- Held by
- British Library
- Article by:
- Ruth Richardson
- London, Poverty and the working classes, Childhood and children's literature
Ruth Richardson explores the world of poverty, high mortality, prejudice and charity that influenced the creation of Oliver Twist.
- Article by:
- John Mullan
- Childhood and children's literature, The novel 1832–1880
Why do orphans appear so frequently in 19th-century fiction? Professor John Mullan reflects on the opportunities they provide for authors, considering some of the most famous examples of the period.