From The Confessions of a Daddy by Ellis Parker Butler. 1907, Century Co.: New York.
It’s always interesting to me that not all “children’s” books are really meant for children. One such example is The Confessions of Daddy. It follows a brand-spanking new dad through the crazy adventures of early fatherhood, with chapter titles such as ‘Our Neighbor’s Babies,’ ‘When She Came,’ and ‘The Day of the Spank.’
The book is dedicated to the author’s daughter, which lends a slight autobiographical nature to the book and its wacky episodes of child-rearing. It’s quite endearing and certainly adds that personal personal connection between the author and the reader–even if it isn’t really a child.
But the most fascinating thing about this book is the humorous inscription found on the inside. Given the context, it’s possible that the book was a gift to either an expecting father or as a gift to an adolescent with a bit a of cheek. Many of the inscriptions we find in the books of the Baldwin are specific to birthdays and holidays (especially Christmas) and only include the date and a to/from line. So it’s always a pleasant surprise when we find more personal notes that give a us a better picture of the relationship between the giver and receiver and the context of the gift.