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London, New York & Toronto : Hodder & Stoughton

Princess Mary's gift book 1914

26.0 cm (Height) x 3.0 cm (Depth) (book measurement (conservation)) | RCIN 1024334

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  • Princess Mary’s Gift Book, published in 1914, followed the example set by Queen Alexandra’s Gift Book (published in 1908 in aid of charity) and later continued by Queen Mary (1915) and the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) (three gift books were published on his behalf between 1920 and 1926 for wounded war veterans).  Princess Mary, later Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood, was the only daughter of King George V and Queen Mary and was heavily involved with her mother during the war years in charitable works and nursing, to the extent of training as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1918 (a privilege which she received as a 21st birthday present).  On 16 November 1914 she launched an appeal by which she funded the giving of a Christmas present (in the form of a brass tin embossed with her silhouette containing cigarettes, tobacco and chocolate) to every man serving in the Great War.


    Her gift book, which contained a collection of children’s stories and illustrations by the leading authors and artists of the day, was published to raise funds for The Queen’s Work for Women Fund (a subsidiary of the National Relief Fund, which raised money for several military and civilian charities during the war years). The fund, which was set up in August 1914, was intended to initiate and subsidise projects for employing women who were out of work as a result of the war. It is unfortunately not known to what extent Princess Mary was actively involved in the production of the volume to which she lent her name, since no correspondence survives in the Royal Archives. Copies of the book are readily available today from secondhand book dealers around the world; it is now better known as the source of the illustration on which the Cottingley Fairies photograph hoax was based, rather than for the charitable work which it enabled.

  • Measurements

    26.0 cm (Height) x 3.0 cm (Depth) (book measurement (conservation))

    26.0 x 3.0 cm (book measurement (inventory))

  • Alternative title(s)

    Princess Mary's gift book : all proceeds from sales are given to The Queen's "Work for Women" Fund, which is acting in conjunction with the National Relief Fund.