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Friday, September 2, 2022

Bigham - The Wonderful Secret - Keeping the Public in Public Domain

 This past week we lost Joanne Ladd, who for many years was known to many as Mother Goose. 

Please notice I didn't say we lost Mother Goose.  Joanne mentored so many Mothers Goose.  One of them, Trudy Bulkley, wrote the following for the In Memoriam page of, which lists Michigan's events, organizations, and more.

 Joanne Ladd always loved books for children and rhymes to share. For countless children and families she was the REAL Mother Goose telling stories and reciting age-old nursery rhymes with love and laughter, assisted by a gentle Goose puppet.  She lived in Flint, Michigan; her other name was Joanne Ladd. She was welcoming and generous with all her experience and enthusiasm for the rhymes and the traditions. She edited a newsletter that brought other aspiring Mothers Goose together. This quintessential Mother Goose went to share stories and nursery rhymes beyond this earth, mid-August 2022.

This is why I can't say we lost Mother Goose for Joanne always did so much to share Mother Goose.  

Here on Storytelling + Research = LoiS I've also included stories from two wonderful Public Domain books that continue Mother Goose characters in appropriate situations.  Frank Baum, known best for the Wizard of Oz books also wrote a very unusual look at The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, and Mother Goose in Prose, both of which have had stories here.  I almost posted another of his Mother Goose stories here, but decided on Madge Bigham's Stories of Mother Goose Village, which has also been posted here.  At the end of today's story I'll say a bit more, but Joanne would know that her audience is getting restless and dive right in to Mother Goose!

Many libraries nowadays are lending seed packets.  Perennial plants and wildflowers return after winter passes.  (I'm trying to find more wildflower seeds for a roadside entrance to my driveway!)  Similarly Mother Goose, and the love of her spread and nurtured by Joanne, will continue.  Surely that is the essence of Keeping the Public in Public Domain.

This is part of a series of postings of stories under the category, "Keeping the Public in Public Domain."  The idea behind Public Domain was to preserve our cultural heritage after the authors and their immediate heirs were compensated.  I feel strongly current copyright law delays this intent on works of the 20th century.  My own library of folklore includes so many books within the Public Domain I decided to share stories from them.  I hope you enjoy discovering new stories.  

At the same time, my own involvement in storytelling regularly creates projects requiring research as part of my sharing stories with an audience.  Whenever that research needs to be shown here, the publishing of Public Domain stories will not occur that week.  This is a return to my regular posting of a research project here.  (Don't worry, this isn't dry research, my research is always geared towards future storytelling to an audience.)  Response has convinced me that "Keeping the Public in Public Domain" should continue along with my other postings as often as I can manage it.

Other Public Domain story resources I recommend-

  • There are many online resources for Public Domain stories, maybe none for folklore is as ambitious as fellow storyteller, Yoel Perez's database, Yashpeh, the International Folktales Collection.  I have long recommended it and continue to do so.  He has loaded Stith Thompson's Motif Index into his server as a database so you can search the whole 6 volumes for whatever word or expression you like by pressing one key.

  • You may have noticed I'm no longer certain Dr. Perez has the largest database, although his offering the Motif Index certainly qualifies for those of us seeking specific types of stories.  There's another site, FairyTalez claiming to be the largest, with "over 2000 fairy tales, folktales, and fables" and they are "fully optimized for phones, tablets, and PCs", free and presented without ads.
    Between those two sites, there is much for story-lovers, but as they say in infomercials, "Wait, there's more!"

The email list for storytellers, Storytell, discussed Online Story Sources and came up with these additional suggestions:        

         - David K. Brown -

         - Richard Martin -

         - Spirit of Trees -

         - Story-Lovers - is now only accessible through the Wayback Machine, described below, but the late Jackie Baldwin's wonderful site lives on there, fully searchable manually (the Google search doesn't work), at .  It's not easy, but go to snapshot for October 22 2016  and you can click on SOS: Searching Out Stories to scroll down through the many story topics and click on the story topic that interests you.

       - World of Tales - 

           - Zalka Csenge Virag - doesn't give the actual stories, but her recommendations, working her way through each country on a continent, give excellent ideas for finding new books and stories to love and tell.

You're going to find many of the links on these sites have gone down, BUT go to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine to find some of these old links.  Tim's site, for example, is so huge probably updating it would be a full-time job.  In the case of Story-Lovers, it's great that Jackie Baldwin set it up to stay online as long as it did after she could no longer maintain it.  Possibly searches maintained it.  Unfortunately Storytell list member, Papa Joe is on both Tim Sheppard's site and Story-Lovers, but he no longer maintains his old Papa Joe's Traveling Storytelling Show website and his Library (something you want to see!) is now only on the Wayback Machine.  It took some patience working back through claims of snapshots but finally in December of 2006 it appears!

    Somebody as of this writing whose stories can still be found by his website is the late Chuck Larkin -  I prefer to list these sites by their complete address so they can be found by the Wayback Machine, a.k.a., when that becomes the only way to find them.

You can see why I recommend these to you. 

Have fun discovering even more stories

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