The New England Primer: Revisiting Colonial America's Best-Seller

Tuesday, 12 Jun 2007

"It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds."--William Ellery Channing
A little more than three hundred years ago, The New England Primer was introduced in Boston as a textbook for the instruction of the colony's children, not only in the basics of the English language, but in the basics of Christian doctrine and Bible knowledge. This small volume served America as the primary text for elementary education until the dawn of the twentieth century. From the nation's founders to its Civil War soldiers, from youths in rapidly burgeoning colonial cities to farm kids on the frontier, everyone would have been familiar with its ...

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