Josephine Scribner Gates

(1859-1930)

A very popular writer of children’s books at the turn of the 19 th-20 th century was Josephine Scribner Gates. Josephine Scribner was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, in 1859, the daughter of Charles H. Scribner, a Knox County lawyer. In 1869 the family moved to Toledo, Ohio. In 1881 Josephine married Charles Gates and spent the rest of her life in Toledo. Her brother, Harvey Scribner, a lawyer in Mount Vernon, was also a writer.

Through 1915 Mrs. Gates had written at least 23 books. She was known especially for her “Live Dolls” series. The doll theme developed the idea of dolls who came to life and behaved much the same as the children who played with them. She skillfully blended stories of fantasy with lessons in behavior. Many of the books were attractively illustrated by Virginia Keep. Josephine had one daughter, who most likely furnished the inspiration for many of the books.

Most of her books were published in several editions, some being combined in “omnibus” collections. Most of the titles are still available in the rare book market, and are very collectible.

Josephine Gates died in Toledo in 1930.

Following is a list of titles in chronological order:

 

The Story of Live Dolls (1901) Nannette Visits Her Grandma (1911)

More About Live Dolls (1903) Tommy Sweet-Tooth and Little Girl Blue

The Doll that Was Lost and Found (1903) (1911)

The Story of the Lost Doll (1905) The Turkey Doll (1912)

The Story of the Three Dolls (1905) Little Girl Blue Plays I Spy (1913)

The Live Dolls’ House Party (1906) One Day in Betty’s Life (1913)

Little Red, White and Blue (1906) Nannette and the Baby Monkey (1914)

The Live Dolls’ Busy Days (1907) Captain Billie Leads the Way to the Land of

The Live Dolls’ Play Days (1908) “I Don’t Want To” (1914)

The April Fool Doll (1909) The Land of Delight: Child Life on a Pony

Sunshine Annie (1910) Farm (1915)

Little Girl Blue Lives in the Woods The Story of Mince Pie (1916)

‘Til She Learns to Say “Please” (1910) The Secret of the Live Dolls (1924)

The Live Dolls Party Days (1910) The Book of Live Dolls (1945)

The Live Dolls in Fairyland (1911) The Live Dolls in Wonderland (1946)

 

References: Coyle, p. 237; Elliott, p. 33; Lorey, p. 410.