History of American Schoolbooks

By Charles Carpenter | Go to book overview

VII
The McGuffey and Contemporary Readers

NOTHING NOVEL APPEARED with the introduction of William Holmes McGuffey's reading texts, which were eventually to hold such a very high place in the esteem of the average American. With no noticeable innovations and nothing radically different from other readers current at the time, the initial McGuffey readers, in makeup and general content, could hardly have outstripped any reasonably well-gotten-up competitors on their merits, and it does not seem that they did so. It was only after the readers had been published for several years that they were improved to a point where they began to earn the popularity that was to put them at the top of all American reading texts in volume of distribution.

Before the publication of his initial reader, it seems that McGuffey had in mind the issuance of a number of such texts, and at one time had a manuscript of one volume written. While teaching in elementary schools in Ohio and later during his early days in Miami University, he enjoyed the reputation of being an unusually capable instructor of "reading and speaking"; and, prior to 1833, his brief Method of Reading had been printed in London. This all contributed to later developments.

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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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