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قراءة كتاب A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

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‏اللغة: English
A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

A Brief Account of the Educational Publishing Business in the United States

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

speaking of the United States of 1814,—territory consisting of the original thirteen states and Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Louisiana, admitted at the time when Adams wrote his book,—but he evidently didn’t know that Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina, the highest peak east of the Mississippi, is more than 400 feet higher than the mountain that bears Washington’s name.

If the geographers drew upon their imaginations when describing the physical features of the country, so also did the statesmen. That great apostle of democracy, Thomas Jefferson, sent a communication to Congress after the Louisiana Purchase, conveying what he considered good information about the new possession. The most curious statement in this strange document was about the mountain of salt. He informed Congress that this mountain was said to be 180 miles long, 45 miles wide, and all of white, glittering salt, with salt rivers flowing from cavities at the base. In all probability Lewis and Clark disillusioned Mr. Jefferson in 1806, when they returned from their trip to the Pacific coast and gave accurate descriptions of the country they had traversed.

The first English Grammar written in America was prepared by Professor Jones, a mathematical professor, as Dr. Chandler tells me, at William and Mary College. This book was written about 1703 and was printed in London. Only one copy of this grammar is now known, and that is contained in a London collection. Another book was prepared by Caleb Bingham, the first edition of which was printed in 1799. It was called The Young Lady’s Accidence. This was the first English Grammar used in the Boston schools. Its only predecessor used in this country was Part II of Webster’s Grammatical Institute.

Lindley Murray left his native country and settled in England in 1784. The following year he wrote and published in England his Grammar of the English Language. This Grammar was the standard textbook for fifty years throughout England and America.

The illustrations in the early schoolbooks were as bad or worse than the text matter. They were not only entirely lacking in artistic quality, but, worse than that, they frequently pictured horrible things that the child during his school day had constantly under his observation. What twentieth century publisher would dare to use illustrations in Readers, Geographies, or any other textbooks, picturing the burning of an unfortunate victim at the stake, a widow burning on the funeral pyre of her husband, or the bloody details of an Indian massacre? And yet these awful things are pictured in a Geography not yet a hundred years old.

Nearly all the books that appeared prior to 1840 were printed from type, for neither the stereotype nor the electrotype plate was in use before that time. Dr. Vail tells us that the early editions of the McGuffey Readers, copyrighted, as I have said, in 1836 and 1837, were so printed. The type impressions of the limited editions were clear and distinct for the most part. Whether these impressions would have been clear had as large and as many editions been printed from standing type as we now print from plates, is of course a matter of conjecture.

It is not necessary to remind you that publishers may to-day furnish a duplicate set of plates to any concern on earth desiring to reproduce one of their books, and that the book may be reprinted by the purchaser without the bother and expense of resetting the type; but the printer of the early days was not so fortunate, for if a concern in New York wished to reprint and sell a book originally printed in Boston, he was obliged to reset it, taking as copy the Boston production.

You remember that stereotyping was not perfected by Stanhope until 1800, and that stereotype plates were not used in the manufacturing of schoolbooks until a later date, but that they were commonly used before electrotyping came into