Books On Books Collection – Eulalie Minfred Banks

The ABC Book No. 764 (1927-29)

The ABC Book No. 764 (1927-29)
Eulalie Minfred Banks
Linen book. Saddle-stitch, staples. H307 x w255 mm. 8 linen leaves including cover. Acquired 19 January 2023.
Photos: Books On Books Collection.

The cloth alphabet book is the successor to the hornbook and battledore in the aim to provide learning material able to withstand sticky fingers, tantrums and other hard usage. The publisher Platt & Munk, eventually acquired by Grosset & Dunlap, had a strong line of cloth books for children and an equally strong host of competitors on both sides of the Atlantic: Dean’s Rag Books, Samuel Gabriel & Sons, McLoughlin Brothers, Routledge & Warne, Saalfield, Raphael Tuck & Sons, and many others.

Creating a competitive edge for one alphabet book over another was a challenge. The pedagogical features, choice of images, style of drawing, the colors, the quality of printing as well as the sturdiness of the material all played a role. For decades and numerous works for Platt & Munk, illustrator Eulalie Minfred Banks provided an edge. For this alphabet book, she served as author as well as illustrator, signing every page with her distinctive signature — “Eulalie”. She will probably be better remembered for her illustration of Watty Piper’s The Three Little Pigs, The Gingerbread Boy, The Little Engine that Could and The Story of Little Black Sambo (authored by Helen Bannerman, edited by Piper).

Further Reading

Abecedaries I (in progress)“. Books On Books Collection.

Corinne Ringel Bailey”. 27 February 2023. Books On Books Collection.

Andrew White Tuer“. 26 December 2022. Books On Books Collection.

Arne, Nixon Center. 2015. “The History of Cloth and ‘Cloth-like’ Books“. Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. 2015. Accessed 6 February 2023.

Barton, Phyllis Settecase. 1992. An Annotated Bibliography Honoring Eulalie Banks Children’s Book Illustrator in Celebration of Her 97th Birthday June 12 1992. Old Town Temecula, CA: Pictus Orbis.