Beautiful Joe An Autobiography By Marshall Saunders, Judson Press: "I could not go away from Miss Laura even to die. When my last hour comes I want to see her gentle face bending over me and then I shall not mind how much I suffer" page 341.
I just discovered this book, Beautiful Joe, through a link on goodreads.com. I quickly skimmed a digital copy on Google books, but I long to sit down with a proper copy, one with soft, aged paper, and sink into this sweetly moral story about the goodness of dogs. Of course, the title caught my eye right away as my own dear canine companion was also named Joe. The bits I read online make me believe that Margaret Marshall Saunders also knew the beautiful relationship that can happen between people and dogs.
Margaret Marshall Saunders? Yes, even though the frontispiece illustration says only Marshall Saunders. Fortunately, there is an official "beautiful Joe" website to fill us in:
"Because women authors were not popular at the time she disguised her sex, using her middle name Marshall. Margaret also relocated the story to a small town in Maine and changed the family's name to Morris to win a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. The book was first published in 1893 and quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. By 1900, over 800,000 copies sold in the U.S., 40,000 in Canada and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. And by the 1930's world wide sales were over 7 million copies.
Beautiful Joe was chosen as one of the 10 best children's books in Canada, and for more than a century Margaret Marshal has been one of Canada's best known writers of children's stories."
A tribute to my own beautiful Joe is on my flickr website if you would like to see it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rebeccafeind/sets/72157611862802728/