Gallica Friday: Learning Your ABCs in 1933

Gallica, the online search engine of the French National Library (BnF), is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Or maybe since the baguette. Gallica Friday highlights some of the fun, interesting, and curious things I found by happily clicking around Gallica.

There’s an endless list of alphabet books on Gallica, and I’m sure someone, somewhere will spend days going through them and writing a thousand-page French-style dissertation. But here’s a particularly fun one from the 1930s. Not only are the images very sweet, but the author is extremely committed to the convention of having all words in a sentence start with the relevant letter. This gets a bit more complicated when we get to the end of the alphabet.

So we have Zoe who’s riding a zebra at the zoo (the perks of having a name that starts with Z). Yvon on a yawl with her yatagan (mmokay, this is getting weird). Xavier who hides away to drink a glass of sherry (French kids!). And Wilhelmine wearing a waterproof coat on a train wagon and looking terribly sad. Wilhelmine’s life would certainly have been easier now with the world wide web, wouldn’t it?


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