Mother Goose

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Mother Goose

Mother Goose, name associated with nursery rhymes. Most English nursery rhymes have been ascribed to Mother Goose. The origin of the name is still a matter of dispute. Some trace it to a French collection of tales by Charles Perrault (1697) that had the subtitle Contes de ma mère L'Oye [tales of mother goose]. This name has in turn been traced to Queen Goosefoot, Charlemagne's mother (see Bertrada), who was a patron of children. Others claim an American origin in Mother Goose's Melodies, published 1719 in Boston by Thomas Fleet, whose mother-in-law was said to be Elizabeth Vergoose. A collection of Mother Goose rhymes was published by John Newbery in London in 1765. The subject matter of the rhymes has been linked by some scholars to actual events in English political history.

See The Annotated Mother Goose, ed. by W. S. and C. Baring-Gould (1970); study by S. K. Abbey (1967).

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