History of American Schoolbooks

By Charles Carpenter | Go to book overview

XIV
Handwriting and Copybooks

OUR AMERICAN PIONEERS, not too plentifully laden with the luxuries of life, must have given handwriting very meager attention except from the standpoint of utility. Chances are they looked upon penmanship somewhat as they viewed their food, their clothing, and the ordinary necessities of their hourto-hour existence. It was not until the necessity to educate children became a public problem that the matter became something to ponder. Handwriting did not take on enough importance to achieve the "copybook" stage until about a century after the first colonists arrived.

The printing house of Benjamin Franklin and David Hall in Philadelphia, in 1748, produced some "copy" examples in The American Instructor or Young Man's Best Companion, by George Fisher, already described. As far as is known, this was the first printing of handwriting material in Colonial America. Before that what writing study undertaken seems to have consisted of copying from the English-produced lettering models or from individual examples set down by writing teachers. Christopher Dock, the early Pennsylvania schoolmaster, according to reports that have come down to us, exchanged holograph writing examples between schools for the use of pupils, and

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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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