The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

owned by folklorist Francesa Claremont, with a handwritten letter from fellow-folklorist Barbara Lowe


Iona and Peter Opie


Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1952
The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery RhymesThe Oxford Dictionary of Nursery RhymesThe Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

Printing Details

Second edition, with corrections. Hardback, bound in the original cloth boards with gilt titling to spine. 22.5 × 14.5cm, xxvii +467pp.

This copy belonged to folklorist Francesca Claremont, and is signed by her to the ffep. She had pasted in relevant newspaper clippings and made some marginal notes throughout. Additionally, there is a 1953 handwritten letter from fellow folklorist Barbara Lowe, who specialised in the folklore of traditional games and dance, and the letter mentions a singing-dance called 'Maiden in the Mor Lay'. She also mentions her current interest is in games, songs, dances etc connected with 'moors, mires, morasses, marshes and their ilk'.

This classic dictionary brings together over 500 nursery rhymes, songs, nonsense jingles, lullabies, and rhyming alphabets traditionally handed on to young children. All the items have been arranged alphabetically, from 'A was an apple-pie' to 'Yankee Doodle came to town' and include such favourites as 'A frog he would a-wooing go', 'Baa, baa, black sheep', 'Dance to your daddy', 'Jack and Jill', and 'Old Mother Hubbard'.

With each item comes a unique set of historical and bibliographical notes that record the earliest known publication of each piece, describe the circumstances of its origin, illustrate changes in wording over time, and indicate variations and parallels in other languages. In a detailed and fascinating introduction, the editors describe the different types of rhyme, the earliest published collections, theories of origins, and such questions as whether or not individual rhymes originally portrayed real people and who was Mother Goose.


A good, readable copy but well-read. There is some marking to the cloth to the upper board, and light rubbing to the spine ends and corners. Internally, the binding has been neatly reinforced with tape at the frontispiece and as mentioned, there are newspaper clippings and manuscript marginal annotations throughout. A good copy of this important book, with an interesting provenance.



By clicking the Buy Now button you'll transfer the product information and shipping price in encrypted form over a secure connection to PayPal's server where you'll complete the transaction.

The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery RhymesThe Oxford Dictionary of Nursery RhymesThe Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes

Browse by Date


Browse by