The story of Margery Meanwell and her brother Thomas was first published by John Newbery in 1765, and has been reprinted in numerous editions and interpretations since. According to the introduction of an 1881 edition, “few nursery books have had a wider circulation, or have retained their position so long. The number of editions that have been published, both in England and America, is legion, and it has appeared in mutilated versions.” This mid-19th century American edition is one of the “mutilated versions.” The story here is greatly abbreviated—even omitting how Margery acquired her two shoes and, thus, her nickname—and is written in verse rather than the prose of the original. However, the lesson to be learned is the same: children who are industrious and kind will be rewarded with wealth and success.
The History of Goody Two Shoes (New York: Nafis & Cornish, 1848)