Walter Jerrold (1865-1929) was born in Liverpool but spent most of his life in London, where he followed a literary career. Starting work as a clerk in a newspaper counting-house, he went on to become deputy editor of The Observer. He edited many classic texts for the newly founded Everyman's Library, he wrote biographies, he produced stories for children under the name of Walter Copeland. In 1895 he married Clara Armstrong and his five daughters were obviously a ready audience and true inspiration for his bumper collection of nursery rhymes. While explaining that this was based on earlier collections made by John Newbery, Joseph Ritson, and James Orchard Halliwell, he admitted that 'Tradition in the nursery has acted as a severe editor . . .'