A one-of-a-kind trove reveals what rural 19th-century American boyhood was really like.

Ida recalled another of her older sons’ pastimes, when the three were between the ages of 10 and 15: “The great indoor amusement … was writing story books, these they covered & kept in a box, till they really had quite a library.”

In 2013, Pamela Russell was at an auction house in southern New Hampshire when, she writes, she “stumbled across a flimsy, old shoebox filled with tiny, carefully constructed, handwritten books.”

Just amazing! This reminds me so much of what my children do.


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