Lot 177 of 222:
Early 19th c. of popular American children's primer  

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Lot closed - Sold For:$270
Estimate:
$200 - $300

Title:
New-England Primer Improved for the more easy attaining the true Reading of English. To which is added, The Assembly of Divines' Catechism
Author:
Place:
Hartford
Publisher:
Hudson & Goodwin
Date:
1803
Description:

16mo (95 x 76 mm). [80] pp. Half-title, printer’s ad on last page, dated October 1803. 24 woodcut scenes printed from 4 six-compartment blocks, one half-page woodcut. Original half roan and blue paper-covered birch scabboards. Printed by Lincoln & Gleason.

An early 19th-century edition of the perennially popular American children’s primer, combining the basics of learning one’s letters  – alphabets, syllabaries, and simple sentences – with the fundaments of religious instruction. Provenance: 1811 inscription in a juvenile hand, 1811 / Manna Aldermann / Book; later pencil inscription re gift to Andrew Haskell.

The earliest known edition dates to 1727 (known in 2 copies, of different issues), but the primer was probably first printed in the late 17th century, possibly by the Boston printer/publisher Benjamin Harris. Hundreds of editions appeared during the next century and a half, but only a handful of copies survive of most editions. While contents and illustrations vary throughout the book’s publishing history, all editions include variations of the 24 charming woodcut emblems, illustrating 4-syllable rhyming couplets for each letter of the alphabet (except I and V), and a woodcut of the martyrdom of John Rogers (here on fol. B5v). 
 
In spite of the inevitable foxing and some soiling by small hands, this copy is in strictly original condition, in a contemporary possibly Hartford half-binding using the typical thin wooden boards known as scabboards, and with a young girl’s near-contemporary ownership inscription. OCLC locates 9 copies. Shaw & Shoemaker, 4726; Heartman, A Bibliographical Check-list, 3rd edition, NY 1934, 198.
 
Donated by Musinsky Rare Books, New York, NY.
Lot Amendments
Condition:
Foxing and some finger-soiling; (two small wormholes to lower cover, a few small tears and stains to paper.
 
Item number:
244160
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