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Themes - Writing

Harriet Vaughan Cheney, Eliza Lanesford Cushing, Eleanor H. Lay

Photograph of The Snow Drop cover

Harriet Vaughan Cheney,(1796-1889)

Eliza Lanesford Cushing,(1794-1886)

Eleanor H. Lay,(18??-1904)

The Snow Drop cover

Three liberal American women who emigrated to Canada with their husbands all considered the education of Canadian children in mid-19th-century Canada important enough to merit the publication of periodicals for a children's readership. Mrs. Cheney, a poet and writer of historical sketches, and Mrs. Cushing, a playwright, were Montreal-based sisters who had both been published in the United States and were regular contributors to the Literary garland before their husbands died in 1845 and 1846 respectively.

In 1847, together they launched The Snow Drop, a monthly periodical written for girls aged 6 to 12 and primarily concerned with social roles and domestic responsibilities appropriate for young women. Eleanor Lay's husband, the founding editor of a rival periodical, the Maple Leaf, died in 1853 leaving Lay responsible for her family and finances. Lay capably took over her husband's editorial role and ensured the continuation of the Maple Leaf. Although both periodicals reflect contemporary values, each solicited and published the work of Canadian women writers. As a result, Canadian families were introduced to Canadian materials, ensuring greater relevance for the education of their children.


Crawford, Isabella Valancy. — The Snow drop or Juvenile magazine. — 1847-1853. Monthly, illustrated

Crawford, Isabella Valancy. — Maple leaf. — 1852-1854. Monthly, illustrated

Crawford, Isabella Valancy. — Winona, or the foster-sisters, edited by Len Early and Michael A. Peterman. - Peterborough, ON : Broadview Press, 2007. — 334 p.

Farmiloe, Dorothy. — Isabella Valancy Crawford the life and the legends. — Ottawa : Tecumseh Press, 1983. — 90 p.

Galvin, Elizabeth McNeill. — Isabella Valancy Crawford : we scarcely knew her. - Toronto : Natural Heritage/Natural History, 1994. - 135 p.

Gerson, Carole. — "The snow drop and the maple leaf: Canada's first periodicals for children". — Canadian children's literature. — 18/19 (1980). — ISSN 03190080. — P. 10-23

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