Our Roots


VHE Our RootsIn 1916, when there were no superstores, no thought of Internet shopping, and few notable children’s books for sale anywhere, Bertha Mahony opened a children’s bookshop in Boston.

Searching for a wider audience, she sent out traveling book exhibits and launched one of the first bookmobiles. The Horn Book was her most lasting contribution: energetic, persuasive, and ambitious, it truly allowed Bertha to blow the horn for fine books for boys and girls.

In this portion of the Virtual History Exhibit, you will find profiles, articles, and reminiscences about Bertha, the Bookshop, and the first days of The Horn Book Magazine.


OurRootsVerticleBertha Mahony Miller
All about the Horn Book’s founding editor

The Bookshop for Boys and Girls
In the beginning, there was retail. Bertha Mahony opened her bookshop in 1916 and started her trailblazing ways.

The Book Caravan
In the summers of 1920 and 1921, The Bookshop for Boys and Girls went on the road. We have news clippings about the truck, a diary kept by the booksellers, and lots of photos.

A Little History of the Horn Book by Karen Jameyson
Text from a Horn Book brochure, c. 1985

Why is it called the Horn Book?
How Bertha Mahony and Elinor Whitney came up with the Magazine‘s name

Horn Book Magazine editorial
Bertha Mahony’s editorial in the first issue of The Horn Book, October 1924


Barbara Bader on Horn Book history



Reminiscences of early Horn Book days (September/October 1999 Horn Book Magazine)

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