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Treasure 58: Princess Mary's Gift Book, 1914

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Historic Documents Details
One of our treasures this month was a wartime endeavour of Princess Mary (25 April 1897 - 28 March 1965), the third child and only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary.

Princess Mary's Gift Book was a fundraising volume published on 27 November 1914 by Hodder & Stoughton. All profits from its sale went to the Queen's 'Work For Women' Fund, which was created to secure paid employment for women whose livelihood was threatened by the war.

The volume features stories and poems by some of the most popular authors of the day such as J. M. Barrie, Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. The stories are accompanied by black and white illustrations and colour paintings by famous artists like Arthur Rackham and all the artwork was created specifically for the book.

Princess Mary's Gift Book was designed to appeal to all members of the family. It opens with a piece by J. M. Barrie on how best to enjoy a holiday in bed and includes many other stories and poems including Magepa the Buck and Out of the Jaws of Death: A Pimpernel by H. Rider Haggard and Baroness Orczy.

The gift book was sold for 2s. 6d. and half a million copies were sold within a month of its publication.

View the Treasures from our Collection interactive exhibition on the touchscreen to find out more about Princess Mary and her gift book - and discover the coincidence linking the book to one of the biggest supernatural scandals of the 20th Century.
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