London: David Nutt, 1894. First edition of a seminal reference work by the first scholar to define children’s games as a separate genre of folklore; Gomme’s Traditional Games has preserved many. Numerous textual illustrations, diagrams, and tables. Binding extremities lightly rubbed. Spine slightly toned with minor wear to crown and tail. Very light foxing and offsetting to endpapers in both volumes. The occasional minor tear to lower or outer margins. A very good set. Publisher’s maroon cloth, double ruled in blind with beveled edges, gilt spine. Black coated endpapers. Two volumes, octavo. xix, [1, errata], 433, [1, blank], [1, colophon]; xv, [1, blank], 531 pp. Item #16426
Alice Bertha Gomme, Lady Gomme, (1853-1938) was a folklorist, suffragist, founding member of the Folklore Society, and wife of George Laurence Gomme (1853-1916), who also was a folklorist and public servant. Traditional Games focuses on the history, formal structures, and cultural significance of games. In it, Gomme has also created a comprehensive system for their classification. Though she edited and wrote other works, The Traditional Games is her most notable. It includes singing rhymes, methods of playing, and descriptions of eight hundred games that children were known to play in the latter half of the nineteenth century, with comparisons of variants, that were collected by Gomme’s nearly eighty correspondents in 112 locations. In addition to being an advocate for women, she thought that games were a valuable and significant part of childhood and collected games herself. Gomme was known for teaching various games to schoolchildren (Oxford DNB).