The New-England primer, improved, or, An easy and pleasant guide to the art of reading : to which is added, the Assembly's Catechism
The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies. It became the most successful educational textbook published in 18th century America and it became the foundation of most schooling before the 1790s.
In the 17th century, the schoolbooks in use had been brought over from England. By 1690, Boston publishers were reprinting the English Protestant Tutor under the title of The New England Primer. The Primer included additional material that made it widely popular with colonial schools until it was supplanted by Noah Webster's Blue Back Speller after 1790.
The New England Primer was first published between 1687 and 1690 by printer Benjamin Harris, who had come to Boston in 1686 to escape the brief Catholic ascendancy under James II. Based largely upon The Protestant Tutor, which he had published in England, The New-England Primer was the first reading primer designed for the American Colonies.
While the selections in the New England Primer varied somewhat across time, there was standard content for beginning reading instruction. Included were the alphabet, vowels, consonants, double letters and syllabariums of two letters to six letter syllables. The 90-page work contained religious maxims, woodcuts, alphabetical assistants, acronyms, catechism answers, and moral lessons.
The primer remained in print well into the 19th century and was even used until the 20th century. A reported 2 million copies were sold in the 18th century. No copies of editions before 1727 are known to survive; earlier editions are known only from publishers' and booksellers' advertisements.
This volume dates from 1821.
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