History of American Schoolbooks

By Charles Carpenter | Go to book overview

IV
Special Primers

A NUMBER OF out-of-the-ordinary primers were published from time to time which stood slightly apart from regular class-texts but which were so used. Many of the A-B-C books printed during the last half of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century were basically primers, containing subject matter common to the general run of these texts. To cite an example, the Picture Alphabet, printed at Concord, New Hampshire, in 1834, with the sub-title Easy Road to Learning for Good Boys and Girls, was a book of this sort. Another was The Pretty Alphabet, published in Boston a little later. Still another, The Instructive Alphabet, printed in New York in 1814, had a temperance slant. Under an illustration of a jug filled with "ardent spirits," it was stated that "this article.... slays even more than the sword."1Tom Thumb's Picture Alphabet, a Boston publication, was a text on the order of the rhyme alphabets in the New England Primer.

Some of these little books were extremely plain and simply printed publications, but a few had attributes which were ex-

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1
The temperance movement started about this time, in an era when Boston had a licensed saloon for every twenty-one males over the age of sixteen. For information on the beginning of this movement see Chard Smith , Yankees and God ( New York: Heritage, 1954), pp. 327-328.

-43-

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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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