Sarah Josepha Hale was an early American writer and editor who is best known for her poem “Mary’s Lamb,” which would later be put to music as “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The fifth volume of the Juvenile Miscellany, a periodical dedicated to works for children of which Hale would later become editor, features the first printing of “Mary’s Lamb.” While many issues of this periodical were published between 1826 and 1836, the volume on display has become the most well known because of Hale’s poem, which has become one of the most popular and recognizable English nursery rhymes. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was also cemented in history when Thomas Edison recorded it using his tinfoil phonograph invention, making it the earliest known recording of a musical performance and a human voice. It would have been impossible to predict the long and storied future of this simple children’s poem in 1830 when it was published, but it remains accessible thanks to the forethought of collectors and the donor who gave it to Lehigh for preservation.
Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879).
The Juvenile Miscellany, vol. 5, no.1
Boston: Putnam & Hunt, 1830.
Lehigh University Catalog Record: https://asa.lib.lehigh.edu/Record/415579