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

Click image to enlarge
Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$270
$200 - $300

New-England Primer Improved for the more easy attaining the true Reading of English. To which is added, The Assembly of Divines' Catechism



Hudson & Goodwin



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

Foxing and some finger-soiling; (two small wormholes to lower cover, a few small tears and stains to paper.

Item number:
Shipping info:

We have a full service shipping department to ensure proper packing and safe delivery of purchases at reasonable cost. We are specialists at packing and shipping books and works on paper.   All lots purchased by the same client are combined for shipping in order to keep the cost as economical as possible.  Our preferred method for domestic shipments is UPS Ground but we can also ship via FedEx or USPS Priority Mail. We do NOT ship USPS Media Mail under any circumstances.For international orders we select the most appropriate carrier depending on the value and weight of the items purchased.  We are happy to accommodate special arrangements by request.

Invoices are sent out the day following the auction and include a minimum $10 handling fee plus actual shipping and insurance charges.

Shipping estimates can be obtained  by contacting [email protected] prior to the auction.


Terms and conditions


All accepted bids are contracts and are considered final and non withdrawable.


A buyer's premium of 20% will be applied to all purchases.


The person posting the bids online has to be the person who has registered for the auction.