What's the Controversy Behind 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'?



Brain stuff, Lauren Vogel bomb here. If you visit the town of sterling Massachusetts today, you'll find a small copper statue of woolly little creature meant to be a replica of the original Lim that followed nine year old Mary Sawyer to school in eighteen fifteen below the statue is a plaque inscribed with the famous opening verse end ascriptin Mary had a little lamb. It's fleece was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went the lamb was shared go. Jon Rao stone. So who exactly was Mary Sawyer? And who was this John Ralston who allegedly wrote the original poem, according to a sixty page book, titled the story of Mary and her little lamb and published in nineteen twenty eight by none other than karma yoga, Henry Ford. More on that later, Mary Sawyer was a typical New England schoolgirl who nursed starving lamb back to health winning a lifelong friend in this book, an adult Sawyer recounted. I got the lamb worn by wrapping it in an old garment and holding it in my arms beside the fireplace in the morning much to my girlish, delight it could stand and from that time and improved rapidly. It soon learned to drink milk and from the time it would walk about it would follow me anywhere. If I only called it. The books behind the music story of the song explains that before leaving for school one morning Sawyer whistled for the lamb and it came faithfully trotting over at which point her brother NATs justed. Let's take the lamb to school with this. She tried to hide the lamb in a basket under her chair. But it was discovered when she stood up to recite a lesson and the fluffy critter started to bleat her teacher. Polly Kimball laughed outright, which caused Sawyer some embarrassment. So she took the lamb out to a shed until school was over for the day. John Ralston was a local boy preparing for college who happened to be visiting the old red school has that day and was according to Sawyer very much pleased with the instant of the lamb so Ralston went home wrote a three stanza poem and return the next day on horseback to hand deliver the original verses of Mary had a little lamb to Sawyer herself. Or so the story goes in sterling Massachusetts meanwhile in Newport, New Hampshire the folks celebrate hometown hero. Sarah Joseph a hail as the author of this beloved nursery. Rhyme HALE is also famous for her role in creating the modern American thanksgiving by a long running letter campaign to five US presidents as a young poet and writer HALE moved to Boston in eighteen twenty eight to become the editor of the first women's magazine in the United States later known as good he's ladies book. It was in Boston that helmet Lowell Mason, a young musician composer intent on bringing music education into America's public schools. Mason inhale shared, the belief that sim. Children's poems set to music could be used teach good Christian morals to kids that would help them. Grow into productive and upright citizens at Mason's. Request HALE wrote a short book fifteen poems called poems for our children, which was published in eighteen thirty Mason than wrote simple melodies to accompany each poem, including these six verse poem, then known as Mary's lamb. Interestingly the tune Mason wrote for Mary's limb, which was included in his eighteen thirty one book, juvenile liar likely the first public school songbook sounds nothing like the melody we know today that melody was borrowed later from the course of a popular minstrel show song called good night ladies, so which story is true. So you're claimed that the first three verses of Hale's poem were identical to the one written by young John Ralston, although the piece of paper gifted to Sawyer had long since disappeared and rows don't tragically died while a freshman at Harvard. So he wasn't around corroborate. When hails version was included in school readers nationwide in the eighteen. Fifties. So you're assumed that the author had simply expanded on Ralston's original three verses, but HALE denied ever seeing another version of Mary had a little lamb and swore. She had conjured the story holy from her imagination. Both Sawyer inhale signed letters in sworn statements in their old age hail just days before death in eighteen eighty nine professing that they were telling the truth of the origin of what had already become a classic nursery rhyme. Enter Henry Ford after both of the women were long gone automobile. Magnate Henry Ford stepped into the fray in nineteen twenty seven he took up the cause of Mary Sawyer moving the wooden frame of Mary's original red schoolhouse from sterling Massachusetts to the nearby town of Sudbury where Ford owned an inn and then in nineteen twenty eight he published the aforementioned book, which gives Ralston full credit for the original versus and asked. Why a respected local woman who served as a matron of the local hospital would make up such a wild story in repeat it her entire life. Hails defenders asked the same question. Sandra Sonics in volunteer archivist of these Sarah j HALE collection at the Richards free library in Newport, New Hampshire writing for the library's website said the story of Mary Sawyer implies that somehow Sarah HALE came across this never published schoolhouse poem, and plagiarized it. How could you have come across? It. Henry Ford's book explains the two towns where Sawyer inhale lived. We're close to each other. They're ninety miles apart over the most direct route. That would have been followed in eighteen fifteen Henry had not yet invented the automobile. So the distance was considerable in a Baltimore Sun story from nineteen ninety eight about the ongoing feud between sterling Massachusetts and Newport, New Hampshire a hail supporter and Newport librarian weighed in let's face. It. Henry Ford made good cars. I don't think he's a good

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