Guarding the gate of the Ramsey Playfield is a whimsical statue dedicated to another famous New York City author and storyteller, Miriam Goosebaum.
Never heard of her? Perhaps you know her by her more famous nom de plume – Mother Goose!
Miriam Goosebaum (1701-1790) was a lifelong New York City resident who ran a successful tailor shop alongside her husband Henry Goosebaum on Manhattan Island’s lower east side. Mr. Goosebaum was famous for introducing the ruffled shirt with turnover collar to the Native Americans living in Brooklyn.
While Miriam enjoyed the life of a tailor’s wife with her son and daughter, she longed to be a famous author, and spent whatever free time she had penning fanciful stories about talking animals and innocent women looking to escape their life of drudgery far away from their stifling and ungrateful families.
By the mid 1760’s several of Mrs. Goosebaum’s short stories had been published, including The Neglectful Son who never Writes, Little Red Riding Hood Marries and Irishman just to Spite her Family, and Old Mother Hubbard’s Husband Hasn’t Taken her Anywhere Nice in Years. In 1770 she published her most famous work to date Whore in Boots. Though it was never proven, many thought the the title character was loosely based on the chamber maid Henry had run off with in 1769.
Miriam began writing stories under the alias Mother Goose in 1770, after her son Jack threatened to sue her over a story he believed was about an embarrassing incident from his childhood. Fearing negative publicity, Goosebaum’s publisher ordered every copy of Little Jack Horner Wet His Bed until he was Fifteen destroyed.
When Miriam “Mother Goose” Goosebaum died in 1790, she passed on all publishing rights to her son and daughter. Still bitter from the years of humiliation at the hand of their mother, Jack and Sheila Goosebaum had all Mother Goose stories rewritten. These new stories, minus all of the Goosebaum’s dirty laundry, have been published over and over and have been read and enjoyed by generations of children to this very day!