About Children's Books -
My Book House
This section of the site is under construction until this summer.
Here is the text and soon, I hope, the images of the Book House page. Other resouces, which I have saved but not put online yet are listed below.
BOOK HOUSE PAGE
Photos of sets, of each volume, how to date your Book House, some background information... we have put these together in one place on the net. People have fond memories of hours spent with this remarkable set of books, the creation of one woman, Olive Beaupre Miller, who drew from her reading and travels to design a treasure trove of literature that grew from nursery tales to epic poetry as the series of books progressed. Everything from the writing, to the illustrations, to the bindings, to the publishing, marketing, and sales by a team of women, resulted from the evolving vision of one person. That is what makes these books unique.
We offer the earlier sets from the 20s, 30s and early 40s, the six volume Black and Green Sets, the Rainbow edition, and the bright blue sets.
Please call for information about sets currently for sale. 503 838 5452 Approximate prices are listed in the chart below. We try to find earlier sets in very nice condition.
- Book House Sets Currently for Sale
- About Our Book House SETS for Sale
- Simplified Publication Data
- Contents of Book House volumes
- Sources and Links
- Note to Dealers
Some Book House Sets, all sold with prices realized:
My Book House, first,"A" printing. All points. 6 volume black set with "Blackstone" binding. #9315 G- to VG. Assembled set. $155
My Book House, 7th, or G, printing. 6 volume black "Castle" binding VG to VG+. #19552 Original set. The illustrations on this page are taken from this particular set. SOLD
My Book House, 7th, or G, printing. 6 volume black "Castle" binding. G- to VG+. #9103 Assembled set. $110 SOLS
ON HOLD My Book House, 11th printing, 6 volume black "Castle" binding VG+ to VG+. #9313 Assembled set. $190
My Book House 13th printing, 6 volume black "Castle" binding VG to VG+ nice vol 1, scratched plates #9314 Assembled set. $185 SOLD
My Book House, 12th printing, green Fabrikoid (washed) binding, G- to VG. #19517 Original set. SOLD
My Book House, 22nd printing, 12 volume Rainbow (green to blue), VG+ to NF, #19551 Original set SOLD
HOLD My Book House, 27nd printing, 12 volume bright blue, VG to NF, #10404 Assembled Set. $115 SOLD
One time only bargain! UNMATCHED 12 volume later Rainbow set from 1960 and 1963 printings. SOLD
My Book House in Wooden Case, 16th pr. A charming old house in original condition. 19376 Click on the picture or title for a page with more pictures, information, and ordering link. SOLD
About Our Book House SETS for Sale
IMPORTANT: Printing and edition were used by the company interchangeably. Printings of early volumes are displayed on the lower corner of the title page. See more information and table below.
Original sets for sale: These were purchased by us as complete sets with identical printings and owner names ( if any), comparable wear, and matching top edge colour.
Individual volumes and assembled sets from different printings: We no longer stock individual volumes or assembled sets of the Book House.
"Comparable wear" With most 6 volume sets Volume One is looser and more faded, and may have a flaw or two (G to VG-), Volumes Two and Three show that they have been read frequently (VG- to VG). Volumes Four, Five, and Six are in nice shape, perhaps with some spine fading, (VG-VG+). If a set does not follow this pattern, we will note the fact. "Comparable wear" is our term, not a bookseller's term. When we quote the condition on this page, (for example, G to VG) it refers to the lowest grade book and the highest grade book. I look at each page and page number of Volume One, look slowly through Volume Two and flip through the others. We don't want any surprises!
Wooden Book Houses: According to Dorothy Loring Taylor, these charming sets were created for the Chicago Century of Progress exhibition of 1933-34 as promotional items. They are not uncommon, but usually have condition flaws. Look for the original paint, original chimneys, and the original books within. Any repairs should be noted. (We currently have a rare wooden Christmas Book House with special bindings and stairs for sale.)
We try to keep 6 volume black editions in stock, the "A" first printing in a formal Deco Blackstone binding and the later printings with the black Castle spine binding. We usually have a 6 volume green Fabrikoid edition, a 12 volume Rainbow edition, and a 12 volume brilliant blue edition in stock. Rarer items, like the wooden house and the red edition and the two part 12 volume editions come and go. We have never seen the original cardboard bookhouse or the miniature metal one, but they do come on the market from time to time.
(We currently have a rare wooden Christmas Book House with special bindings and stairs for sale SOLD.)
Simplified Publication Data:
Because Miller wanted to keep the book close to the child, Book House Volumes were all issued without jackets. All the volumes we carry were issued with pasted-on plates.
The information below comes from Olive Beaupre Miller and the Book House by Dorothy Loring Taylor, a book we highly recommend. Look on the lower corner of the title page to see the edition (printing) number or letter: the sequence runs A-H, then 9, 10, 11, ....... Edition and Printing were used interchangeably by the company. Below are the title pages for an "A" Blackstone first printing, a "G" 7th Castle printing, and a 22th Rainbow printing. Click on a jpg to enlarge it..
- Blackstone binding (black cloth) A through E "A" printing or First Edition 1920 and 1921. "A" and "B" were not marked. C-E are marked and were also issued in different bindings.
- Black Castle Spine binding or whitewashed Green Fabrikoid binding F - 16
- 12 volume sets began in 1935, issued in both red sets and green sets, but bibliographical information for editions (printings) 17 to 20 is complex. (Read the book!)
- Rainbow edition 1937 Twentieth Edition This first printing of the Rainbow edition was not marked. Rainbow Editions continued through the 25th printing and 21 through 25 were marked.
- Brilliant Blue editions 26 though 31. The parent guide "In Your Hands" first appeared at least in 1943 and accompanied Brilliant Blue editions subsequently.
There's more, including a reissued Rainbow with parent guide, and a white Book House with printed cover illustrations, but we don't handle later Book Houses.
We've provided minimal information on early editions (printings), but Taylor's book contains much more detail on these printings and on later ones: 20 pages of detailed bibliography.
Contents of Book House volumes:
Six volume sets
The titles envision a child growing up in a Book House, from the sunshine of the Nursery, climbing up one pair of stairs to Folk Tales and though the hall of Fairy Tales, pausing to explore a Treasure Chest of legends and ascending to the Tower Window, where the whole of literature lies spread out "Far streches all the world away / and naught shuts out the sky;/ And knights, and maids and all of life/ Go marching, marching by." In the final Latch-Key volume, the children take the key and enter in, "for me are all its glories."
People remember the pictures for the Book House vividly. However, aside from the cover plates and the early volumes of the 12 volume sets, the pictures have been reenvisioned as line drawings in a harmonious Deco palette of acqua, cream, peach, orange, and brown. On the 6 volume sets these colors blend with the cream coloured paper. Above are an illustrations from Volume One used in printings A through 19, followed by an illustrations by Maginel Wright Barney and Milo Winter. To me, this reworking of the pictures contributes to the unity of the six volumes that takes them beyond a scattered anthology.
Vol. 1 In the Nursery - Milo Winter plate: 432 pages of nursery rhymes, short poems like Who Has Seen the Wind, and simple Nursery Stories from many cultures, Indian, Native American, Dutch, Japanese, France, Scotland, England, along with simple written tales. Numerous pictures in text.
Vol. 2 Up One Pair of Stairs - a Chester H. Lawrence Little Red Riding Hood plate on A printing, followed by a Snow White and Rose Red plate on B printing. 448 pages of longer and more complex folk and written stories, as well as poetry: Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Brownies in the Toy Shop... Longfellow, Wordsworth, a little Shakespeare, and much more.
Vol. 3 Through Fairy Halls - Alice Beard plate. 448 pages Longer fairy tales and variants (like Rhodopis, the Egyptian Cinderella). Short stories from around the world, some excerpts from longer works, and a little poetry.
Vol. 4 The Treasure Chest - N. C. Wyeth plate. More longer stories, like the Nuremberg (sic) Stove, and Tolstoy's Where Love Is, There is God Also, retold excerpts from Dickens and George Elliot, Theodore Roosevelt on George Rogers Clark, Greek Myths, some poetry, some biography. 448 pp.
Vol. 5 From the Tower Window - M. D. Charleson plate. Stories, epics, and legends from history: The Exile of Rama, Cuchulain, Beowulf, the Homecoming of Ulysses, King Alfred, Don Quixote, Joan of Arc (my favorite volume as a child). 448 pp.
Vol. 6 The Latch Key - Chenoweth plate - A volume for parents, teachers, librarieans, and older children, a long section on the Lives of Authors, and short articles on Mother Goose, Folk Tales, Myth, Epic Poetry. An address by Miller on How to Judge Stories for Children, discusses the value of imaginative literature (not unsound, though!), truthful realistic fiction, and good writing; in closing she discusses her process in selecting material for the Book House. The last 100 pages comprise various indexes Author/Title/Important Characters Index, then a Geographical Index, then a Historical Index, then a Special Subjects Index, then a thoroughly explained Index According to Ethical Theme. 320 to 448 pp. pp.
Twelve volume sets
Aside from some rearranging within volumes in Vol 1 and Vol 2, little was changed in the six volumes for the first 16 years. However, Mrs. Miller was always concerned about the durability of the sets, hoping that they would last though several childhoods. The 17th, 18th, and 19th printings divided the material into shorter books with less stress on the spine. The Rainbow Edition, the 20th printing (1937) was published on stronger white paper which eliminated the usual margin and gutter tears.
In the process, My Book House definitely lost that 20's look, and the metaphor of the child's climb up through the Tower of literature along with the frontis poem faded. However, Mrs. Miller always adapted her material to her current child readers, and the Rainbow edition evolved into a more modern set with many fresh selections, which format continued with gradual changes until the 50's.
Vol. 1 In the Nursery. Endpapers: green and white pictorial in squares. All the nursery poetry from the original Volume One was placed here, sorted into countries, for the benefit of the adult reader, I suppose. I would like to know the source of the plate for volume 1.
Vol. 2 Story Time. Endpapers same. All the stories from the original Volume One, along with the Milo Winter cover, were placed here.
Vol. 3 Up One Pair of Stairs. Pictorial endpapers by Mariel Wilhoite. Material from or similar to that in the Original Volume Two, appeared in the new Vol. 3 & 4
Vol. 4 Through the Gate. Endpapers same.
Vol. 5 Ov
er the Hills. Endpapers same. Material from or similar to that in the original Volume Three (called Through Fairy Halls) appeared in volumes 5, 6, and 7. That is, more material was added for the middle-aged child.
Vol. 6 Through Fairy Halls. Endpapers same.
Vol. 7 The Magic Garden. Endpapers same.
Vol. 8 Flying Sails. Endpapers: Knights on Horseback and a Phoenician Ship. Material similar to of reprinted from the original Book Four, The Treasure Chest appleared in Volumes 8 & 9.
Vol. 9 The Treasure Chest. Endpapers same.
Vol. 10 From the Tower Window. Endpapers same. Material similar to or reprinted from the original Book Five, From the Tower Window appeared in Volumes 10 & 11.
Vol. 11 In Shining Armour. Endpapers same.
Vol. 12 Halls of Fame. Endpapers same. The same as the original Volume 6, with some articles omitted, still larger than the others of the 12 volumes.
What's the best Book House to own? The best Book House is the one with personal meaning for you. However, if you are new to the Book House, a six volume Book House might be better for a homeschooling family with strong readers, and a 12 volume Rainbow Book House might be better as gift to a young family.
Sources and Links
Olive Beaupre Miller and the Book House for Children by Dorothy Loring Taylor. Chicago Review Press, 1986.
An interesting history of Miller and her publishing company in which publishing, marketing, and distribution were handled almost exclusively by a loyal corps of women over many years. Miller's papers are contained in the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith, her alma mater, and include a biography by her daughter, quoted at length. Dorothy Loring Taylor's collection of Book Houses is extensive and she provides a thorough bibliography of Book House editions and others of Miller's publications. Indespensible for a collector of My Book House.
Book House Blog at http://www.mybookhouse.com/2006/09/my-book-house-backstory.html
Note to Dealers
PLEASE, PLEASE read the publication data information above and post the PRINTING, not the copyright date on your listings. If you also post the date as well, post the most recent copyright date in any volume, not just the earliest date. Note the COLOUR of the set. Check to see that you have an original set, not an assembled set, see above. Thanks to Elaine Woodford and Eileen Serxner, children's book specialists, who got the point right away, being old hands at this. They pack beautifully, too!
We use this pricing table and adjust for condition and any unusual variants.. what if we found a Fine to Fine "A" printing in its cardboard box some day! An adjustment would be called for.
Aside from the regular $3.50 charge, the cost of Domestic shipping, in a box of course, is included in the price.
Foreign shipping is expensive. As an example, for 6 volume sets, Canadian shipping would be about $33, Europe about $46, Asia and Australia about $76. Contact us for foreign shipping and we will set up an individual line for you on our Shopping Cart.
Pricing. We use this table as we price, adjusting for condition.
Original first printing A set in VG to VG+ condition 280
Original first printing A set in G to VG condition 200
Adjust for B printing.
C through 16th printing original set in VG to VG+ condition 220
C through 16th printing assembled set in VG to VG+ condition 175
C through 16th printing original set in G to VG condition 145
C through 16th printing Assembled set in G to VG condition 115
Original 20th in VG to VG+ condition 250
Assembled 20th in VG to VG+ condition 200
Original 20th in G to VG condition 180
Assembled 20th in G to VG condition 140
Original later Rainbow in VG to VG+ condition 210
Assembled later Rainbow in VG to VG+ condition 160
Original later Rainbow in G to VG condition 150
Assembled later Rainbow in G to VG condition 120
"Later" meaning printings of the first run, not the Rainbows subsequent to Bright Blue..
Any original bright blue in VG to VG+ condition 160
Any assembled bright blue in VG to VG+ condition 120
Any original bright blue in G to VG condition 110
Assembled bright blue in G to VG condition 85
And speaking of condition and prices:
We offer sets in nice condition, either ranging from Very Good to Very Good Plus or Good to Very Good. They are nothing like the first printings I inherited from my mother's family of five brothers and sisters and read over and over again (pictured below). Read-to-pieces Bookhouses like these abound, and so it is certainly possible to find less expensive copies elsewhere.
We have titled this page both as My Book House and the Bookhouse for Children so it can be easily searched.
Submitted by Beverly (not verified) on Fri, 2012-11-30 06:26.
I was just packing up my things to move and found my book house set. I stopped packing and sat down to find the stories that I loved so well as a child. I was wondering where I would go to find out if I could republish one or two "legends" with new illustrations.
Submitted by admin on Fri, 2012-11-30 07:43.
That's a good question and I don't know the answer. I would guess that Mrs. Miller used public domain material in the first place, but then her company copyrighted the wording, and the fact that the copyrights were renewed might make using the material problematic. You'll have to look further, I'm afraid.
Submitted by Lynn Drahnovsky (not verified) on Sun, 2012-11-18 10:56.
My mom just found her set of my book house books. Her's are the blue ones with the number 26 and a copywrite date of 1937. She was wondering if they are worth anything, she almost had me burn them! I have no idea on how to find their value.
Can you help me?
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Sun, 2012-11-18 17:38.
Please read the chart above and work down from there. We price pretty much on the level of the market, but our condition grading is very strict, which might make our prices appear a bit higher.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 2012-10-31 15:06.
I have a green set of My Bookhouse. They are in excellent condition and the title page of the ist book has a number 10 printed in the lower left corner of the page. the next page has the copyright as 1920 & 1925. Does this mean anything as far as value goes.? I would like to sell this wonderful set but don't know how to go about establishing a price. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Thu, 2012-11-01 04:37.
Check every book, not just the first one. If they have different numbers, they are from different sets originally, and not as valuable. According to Taylor, the tenth printing ("edition") was published in March 1926.
If they all have the number ten, you can look at my chart for a price, but keep in mind that we are extremely strict about condition. If I say a book is Very Good, there is probably little wrong with it aside from an inscription, lightly bumped corners, maybe some light rubbing, not super tight, but firm with good hinges and usually straight or with a very slight slant, maybe 1/4", possibly some light soil on the boards, but that's a judgement call, light to no scratches on the plates. The pages would generally be clean and unwrinkled with no other marks and certainly no tears. This is the traditional bookseller's version of Very Good. It is not the Ebay or Amazon version, but quite a few dealers on Abebooks still grade this way.
You can read the Looking Through a Book page and the linked page to Buying and Selling Books for ideas. Remember that you will have to ship it.
Submitted by TERRY (not verified) on Fri, 2012-09-28 17:13.
We [my wife and I] are, and will be for years remodeling an old house in Boise, ID. However, in storage, we have my original Book House for Children set. It has the parental guide, and the blue books, plus the 3 volume nursery rhyme set, along with the black history set.
My parents bought these for me at a fair held at Navy Pier in Chicago when I was about 5 years old [1947 or thereabouts]. It could have been a railroad fair.
I read those books, and wrote papers based on ideas from them up to and including the time I was getting a degree in Finance in the early 70's.
I plan on using them with the family kids if I ever retire. They were wonderful books for me, far batter than anything else then or since.
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Sat, 2012-09-29 09:37.
Thank you for another wonderful Book House story! And good luck on the endless remodel... Suzanne
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 2012-07-28 09:45.
I just uncovered this set of books as my husband and I cleaned our attic today. Memories came flooding back as soon as I saw the books. My question is this:
We also see a lovely dark-wood bookcase that seems created specifically for holding just these six books and I can picture it in my mind's eye as the holder of my 6-volume set when I was a girl. Any chance this case is original to the set or perhaps something my grandmother picked up over the years? Thank you for your help.
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Tue, 2012-07-31 08:26.
If the set fits exactly, it would be a strange shape for a normal bookcase. Look all over the sides and back for any clues.What printing of the Book House was it, what colour? I have found several variations on Taylor's early Book House accessories, one book-end rack and a couple of different Book House houses. I think it is very likely that your bookcase goes with the original Book House set, as Miller was always looking for new ways to market the books. If you could send me a jpg, I'd love to post it here. (Hint: if you had registered I would be able to answer your query directly too.... hope you see this(
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 2012-06-11 21:50.
I used to have these books when I was young, but they were all ruined one year when our basement flooded. I now have a son of my own and can remember loving these books. There was one in particular I liked, but I can't remember which one. It had a story about three ducks. One was named Klip Klap Kepalookie?? It's close to that anyway. I was wondering if you could help me out. I would like to start rebuilding my set and would like to start with the one this story is in. Also, I distinctly remember having "The Treasure Chest" with a picture of a treasure chest on the cover and light green binding, but so far, I haven't been able to find any pictures of it online. I'm wondering if it was part of a different series or if it was just a rare copy. Thanks for your help.
Submitted by Elphaba (not verified) on Wed, 2012-07-18 17:57.
This Dutch poem can be found in volume #1 "in The Nursery". I will find the entire text and send another response tomorrow.
This was my daughter's favorite poem -- she made us read it so often that I believe I could type it from memory even now -- my daughter is now 45 years old!! But I wouldn't want to make a mistake. I have the entire set from my own childhood. It has been well-loved. Until tomorrow ...
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Wed, 2012-06-13 11:17.
I only stock the earlier Rainbow Editions, but they were reprinted again in the 50's and 60's.
1953 was the last edition printed under Mrs. Miller, then the Book House was sold to United Educators.
United Educators printed various rainbow editions from 1956 through 1971 and made some changes, so maybe your green Treasure Chest was one of them. I think there was always a painting on the cover, though, as opposed to a single drawing and I doubt if they had more paintings commissioned.
I look for your story later,
Submitted by Nancy D. Baxter (not verified) on Wed, 2012-05-09 08:56.
Thanks to your site, I now know that I grew up (and still have) Volumes I - VI in the whitewashed Green Fabrikoid binding series of My Book House; the number '12' is on the bottom proper right of the title page. Volume I is in about the same condition as your volume you show above, and a few of the first pages are missing. My sister and I were recently reminiscing about the books, and going through Volume I, re-lived the times when our mother would read to us. Three of our favorites were'Teeny Tiny', 'The Doll Under the Briar Rosebush','The Tale of a Black Cat' (which she would also draw for us). After paging through the rest of the volumes (and finding a four leaf clover that has left a brown stain on a page - but I'm not removing it), I realized we hadn't gotten past the second volume, and it occurred to me that I should read the rest of them. I'm 63, don't have grandchildren yet, but my 3 cats might be willing to listen if I read out loud. Thanks for all your work on this (labor of love). NancyB
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Fri, 2012-05-11 08:09.
People's Book House stories are always so special. If you email me with the page numbers you are missing, I would be glad to send you some scans of them so you could insert them in your volume One. I am sure you and your cats will enjoy the rest of the volumes. Really an amazing collection, and you are lucky to have such an early set. Do you suppose it was from your mother's family?
Submitted by Stu Cartwright (not verified) on Mon, 2012-03-19 13:53.
Just found your website surfing around. Do you only sell books or do you also buy books? Or perhaps consign them?
I have a full set of Olive Beaupre Miller's classic My Bookhouse which I believe is a first edition from 1920 (Vols 1&2)and 1921(Vols3-6). I seek to find them a good home, and if I make a little that'd be nice, too! Any suggestions? These are wonderful books with which my father learned to read. I can send more information, specific to the set, if anyone is interested in acquiring the books. Here is a link to some pictures of my set.
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Wed, 2012-03-21 10:07.
We generally don't buy over the net and also can't purchase books in this condition. However, I've published your link here and someone who is looking for an inexpensive, very early, intact set might be interested. As a rule, I don't want to do this, because I can't guarantee the purchase, but Book Houses are an exception, I guess. If you are going to state that these are a first edition, read the bibliographical material carefully so that you are sure your information is correct. To most readers, "first edition" implies a first printing of the first edition.
Book House sets were a wonderful way to learn to read because they got more challenging and more sophisticated little by little as a child progressed through the books. By the time I got my mother's set, the early volumes were long gone (5 children in her family!), so I just began on the later ones.
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Sat, 2011-10-01 07:14.
Please post some comments! If you're reading this you probably have some special memories connected with the Book House... and I will try to make that tattered Book House picture smaller, too.
Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 2012-04-15 11:11.
I have my original set of My Book House from the 1930's - 1940's but am missing the index. Somehow over the years, this volume has disappeared. My books are in very good condition with the exception that as a child I drew some very creative drawings on the inside covers. Would anyone know where I can obtain the index to this set?
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Tue, 2012-04-17 03:32.
Are you looking for volume 12? This volume contains articles but also constitutes a kind of annotated index to the set. Your best source here is Ebay because you can see pictures of the book and be sure that it matches your set.
There was also a Parent Guide, beginning in the 1940's (1943 is earliest recorded in Library of Congress), an extra volume. It was variously published as:
In Your Hand, A Parents' Guide Book, blue like the 43 to 47 bookhouses, hard or soft cover, written and edited by Beatrice M Hunter.
In Your Hands was also copywrited in the 50's and 60's, and beginning in 1967 Hunter's name was dropped.
All this is from Dorothy Loring Taylor's book. I have never purchased or seen a Parent Guide.
Submitted by Beverly White (not verified) on Thu, 2012-03-22 08:21.
I was so happy to find your site. The name of my 30 year old business Happy Tymes was inspired by my set of 1940's books, and they continue to serve me well. Through the years, I've purchased sets as I could find them, for our 5 children's families.
Here is a link to an online article that notes the profound influence that MBH has had on me. The second one is my website artist profile.
Many Happy tymes to you!
Submitted by admin (not verified) on Thu, 2012-03-22 16:04.
What a delightful newsletter! Full of great teddybears. I'll have to put this on our bear page once I get it organized. Suzanne
END OF BOOK HOUSE TEXT
Other Resources: I may end up putting some of these on oldchildrensbooks.net because the comments are at least as interesting as the articles
What are Collectible Children’s Books? What are Rare Children’s Books - written after reading too many Ebay descriptions!
Collecting Children’s Books a very long article we wrote for ABE in 2002, last updated 2019.
Links for Collectors
Evelyn Sibley Lampman’
Books for Collectors
New Reference Books for Collectors (Contains Reviews on about 30 new children's books on books with individual pages for each..
Tips for Choosing Books with Children
New Books about Reading with Children