Marshall's British Histories

Author: Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall
Dates: 1905–1920
Publisher: E.C. & T.C. Jack, London; Hodder & Stroughton, New York

One of the most famous Storybooks of English History is, Our Island Story, by H. E. (Henrietta Elizabeth) Marshall. Published in 1905, it was widely read throughout the british Empire for the first half of the twentieth century, and did not go out of print until the mid fifties. Marshall followed up this initial success with a series of other juvenile history books, written over the following to decades. She wrote in other genre's besides comprehensive history, but she is best known for her three part series on the british Isles, beginning with Our Island Story and following with Scotland's Story, and Our Empire Story. Scotland's Story tells the history of Scotland's resistance to English Domination, from the age of Malcolm Canmore to the Union of Scotland and England into Great britain. Our Empire Story tells the history, from early times to turn of the 20th century of british colonies in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India. Her special talent for writing episodes from history as if they were fairy tales, made her extremely popular with children who were happy to read her books purely for their entertainment value, rather than for serious studies. As she says in her introduction:

I must tell you, though, that this is not a history lesson, but a story-book. There are many facts in school histories, that seem to children to belong to lessons only. Some of these you will not find here. But you will find some stories that are not to be found in your school books,—stories which wise people say are only fairy tales and not history. But it seems to me that they are part of Our Island Story, and ought not to be forgotten, any more than those stories about which there is no doubt.

Charles I execution
These three books, together with This Country of Ours, a history of the United States which focuses heavily on the colonial period, provide an excellent introduction to the history of the English speaking people throughout the world, and give a romantic, rather than an analytical, or critical overview of the growth and dominance of Great britain during the nineteenth century. Probably no nation is more responsible for the world-wide spread of modern ideas including parliamentary democracy and free trade than that Great britain, and much of modern life is impossible to understand without a grasp of british history. The Marshall books do not attempt to explain these difficult concepts, but rather lay the foundation for understanding the soil from which modernism has sprung.

Following up her great success with English Histories, Marshall turned her talents to Europe. In 1912-1913 she published a History of France, and History of Germany, as well as a condensed version of Continental History called Story of Europe. These, like her british series, were story based and lavishly illustrated. At some time during the First World War Period she traveled to Australia and also to the United States. It was while she was in the U.S. that she wrote This Country of Ours, her book of American History.

In addition to her Histories, Marshall contributed to several other series including E. C. Jack's Told to the Children and Children's Heroes. She also write a series of biographies, including those of Cromwell and Napoleon, in which she used to teach geography lessons. Finally, her English Literature for Boys and Girls is an introduction to the history of English literature, from the Celtic and Saxon times, to the late 19th century. In this book she takes a highly unusual approach of telling the stories of how the great works of English literature came about, and essentially gives the biographies, and a short synopsis of the works of the subject authors. Although written at an accessible level, the content might be of great interest to a college English major, rather than a secondary school child.

Our Island Story   by H. E. Marshall
Marshall's storybook of English history is an undeniable classic, popular with generations of British children. It takes a romantic view of English history, combining the most well-known stories from British history with legends and folklore. It begins with the legends of Albion and Brutus, and covers Roman Britain, the British Middle Ages, and the rise of England through the Hanoverian Kings. 230 credits

Scotland's Story   by H. E. Marshall
A child's history of Scotland, from legendary days through the time when the kingdoms of Scotland and England were joined together. Relates in vigorous prose the thrilling exploits of the heroes and heroines who defended Scotland from its English invaders. Includes the stories of Macbeth, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce, Mary Queen of Scots, the poet king and the beautiful lady of the garden, the Glen of Weeping and many others. 186 credits

Our Empire Story   by H. E. Marshall
This book provides a vivid and picturesque account of the principal events in the building of the British Empire. It traces the development of the British colonies from the days of discovery and exploration through settlement and establishment of government. Included are stories of the five chief portions of the British Empire: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and India. 203 credits

This Country of Ours   by H. E. Marshall
Marshall's history of the United States begins with a full account of the English exploration and settlement of North America and ends with the presidency of Woodrow Wilson. Nearly 100 stories from American history are grouped under 7 headings: Stories of Explorers and Pioneers, Stories of Virginia, Stories of New England, Stories of the Middle and Southern Colonies, Stories of the French in America, Stories of the Struggle for Liberty, and Stories of the United States under the Constitution.276 credits

English Literature for Boys and Girls   by H. E. Marshall
A terrific and accessible introduction to English literature by one of Britain's greatest authors of juvenile history. All of the major authors and literature of England are covered, from the Celtic ballads to the nineteenth century greats such as Dickens and Thackeray. Short examples of most of the literature is included, along with fascinating biographies.329 credits

History of Germany   by H. E. Marshall
A history of Germany from the first encounter of the Teutonic tribes with the Romans to the eve of the First World War. The first part of the book traces the migrations of the Germanic nations throughout western Europe and their unification under Charlemagne. During the middle ages the Holy Roman Empire was a loosely controlled confederacy of German states, which did not become united until Prussia rose to prominence in the 18th century.186 credits

Story of Europe   by H. E. Marshall
This book presents the broader movements of European history, emphasizing the main factors which have gone into the development of the various European states from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Reformation. The history of England is included only when that country plays a prominent part in the politics of Europe. A full treatment of the period immediately following the fall of the Roman Empire is given, since that period provides the necessary key to future developments. Maps, timelines, and genealogy charts of the various royal houses of Europe contribute to making this book an excellent resource for the study of the Middle Ages in Europe.108 credits

History of France   by H. E. Marshall
Marshall's history of France covers the Rise of the Franks under Clovis to the height of the French monarchy under Louis XIV. Main topics include the Frankish empire, the Norman/Crusades period, the Hundred Years War era (rife with civil wars, and rebellion when told from the French p.o.v.), and Renaissance/Reformation period, which was more of a struggle between the rising merchant class and the nobility, than an actual religious war. Marshall's histories brings the characters to life, although her biases--as always--are somewhat Whiggish. 0 credits