The Hole Book: Teaching Kids Gun Safety In 1908 (Lots of Images)

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The Hole Book was written and illustrated by Peter Newell in 1908. The delightful books teaches children the consequences of mishandling firearms. It is notable for being the first book to use a hole punched through the pages as a storytelling gimmick. The book is now in the public domain can be downloaded from Archive.org here.

I have embedded the book below for your enjoyment (and education) …

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Hat Tip: Brain Pickings / Conor.


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Robert Evans

    What a great old book!

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Isn’t it though. Interesting how people viewed things back then.

      • Tielman

        The “stan lee’s” of their time. Also the value of propoganda among illiterate persons.

  • Doopington

    I don’t know what pistol calibers they had in 1908, but that thing traveled (and penetrated) like three towns before it spalled, and boy do I want me a box of that!

    • Giolli Joker

      DU rounds, they were available to civilians back then!

    • JaxD

      That’s an .88 magnum, it shoots through schools.

    • Scott Forster

      They had 9mm, 32ACP, 45ACP, 44 Long Colt, amongst others

      • Tielman

        O.K. Scott ^^ wins the furtherest, baddest, most wow factored facts. How many out there know there are guns that can fire s.o.u.n.d.l.e.s.s.l.y. And I aint blowin smoke either.

    • jamezb
  • Psylant

    What do they mean by- “It would have been more thrilling if it had punctured Timothy, who was in need of drilling.” ??

    • Nathaniel

      He had a cavity in his teeth, I assume.

    • noob

      seems a harsh punishment for taking the day off school to fish.

  • au

    now i know where did they get the idea for this video:

  • JT

    lol. somebody beat me to the DU theory. Still, were handguns that common in 1908? I would have though it would have been a shotgun or a plinker or something.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      Yes very common

    • Tielman

      Never take a knife to a gunfight ………….. or a plinker or something.

    • JT

      Ah, I see. I know people owned them. I didn’t think they had a big following. Same for people freaking out back then about automatic weapons, but barely anyone shot or owned those to my knowledge

    • Unlucky Eddy

      Well it wasn’t that far removed from the Wild West Era, Handguns were quite common if you go by sales of Colt and other handgun manufactures

  • Bohem

    Watermelon:-D

  • M.M.D.C.

    Is that a schofield perhaps?

  • Truth

    The Hole Book: Teaching kids racial stereotypes in 1908

    • Chase

      It’s just some good old fashioned family racism.

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

      It was a different time and a different world then.

      • Nomar Abdiel Vazquez Vazquez

        Sadly that they couldn’t see the humanity of the “other”

  • Ian

    Aside from the casual racism, the artwork seems to be very good for a children’s book over 100 years old.

  • Frosty_The_White_Man

    The Russian balloon vendor is worthy of a meme. Great find!

  • abecido

    Gun safety in 1819:
    http://archive.org/stream/accidentsofyouth00londiala#page/n5/mode/2up

    The “don’t play with guns” story is on page 84. A “don’t play with gun powder” tale begins on page 100.

  • Blake

    really great post; it’s stuff like this that makes this place so unique among firearms sites!

  • jamezb

    Thank you, that was great!

  • Ben 10

    wish i had one of these when i was a kid. still, its funny to see how similar children’s books are, even those that were printed in 1908. someone should reprint these and sell them at gunshows.

  • Roland_1911

    10mm
    ‘Nuff said
    ;-)

  • Tenacious221

    Any progressive seeing this will notice nothing but the watermelon on the black family’s shelf.

    • Nomar Abdiel Vazquez Vazquez

      hard not to too. Sadly it was how most white people saw black people then.

  • Aunt Jenima

    Laaaawdy! It be makin holes in de watuhmelun!

  • harry

    At the end of the day, gun should place into a gun safe drawer for child’s safety. >>>
    http://www.experienceihc.com/safes/