History of American Schoolbooks

By Charles Carpenter | Go to book overview

III
Nineteenth-Century Primers

THE New England Primer and contemporary texts of its class, as has been shown, were not exclusively reading and word- lesson books. Before evolving in that direction, numerous primers were issued similar in substance to the New England Primer to the extent that they were composite texts -- books of a miniature school collection nature.1 These books were built on the New England Primer model, and in most cases copied a portion of its material.

The first issues of the Royal Primer,2 the Boston Primer and the New York Primer were almost identical with the New England Primers. A number even used that wording in some way on their title pages, to show that they were adaptations of the older text.

Some of the American primers that were widely used were

____________________
1
The term school collection came to designate a text which covered general subjects. Many of the early American schoolbooks were so called, although the term originated in Europe. In Arabia and some other countries where there is not too high a standard of elementary training the school collection type of text is still used.
2
The American editions were lineal descendants of the Royal Primer printed in London by John Newbery, the early English publisher of children's books, whose name has been honored through the American annual Newbery medal.

-35-

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History of American Schoolbooks
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Preface 7
  • Contents 11
  • I - The Early American Schools 15
  • II - The New England Primer 21
  • III - Nineteenth-Century Primers 35
  • IV - Special Primers 43
  • V - Beginning of Readers 57
  • VI - Following the Initial Readers 67
  • VII - The Mcguffey and Contemporary Readers 79
  • VIII - Grammars 93
  • IX - Rhetorics and Foreign Language Books 110
  • X - Arithmetics 122
  • XI - Spelling Books 148
  • XII - Literature Texts 160
  • Xlll - Elocution Manuals 168
  • XIV - Handwriting and Copybooks 177
  • XV - School Histories 196
  • XVI - General Science Texts 212
  • XVII - Physiologies And Mental Science Texts 233
  • XVIII - Geographies 245
  • XIX - Progress of Schoolbook Publishing 271
  • Bibliography 279
  • Index 301
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