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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: 8

atlas.

Cover designs were not used until quite late in the nineteenth century, and of course books whose covers bore no designs of any sort were far less attractive than those bound to-day.

In 1874, under the direction of Mr. James McNally, of Rand McNally & Company, that concern began the publication of atlases, pocket and large wall maps. In 1872, the Company had introduced the then new relief line engraving process for making maps—a process which revolutionized the methods of that day and cut the cost of production by several hundred per cent. Maps that can now be bought for from 25 cents to $1.00 each used to cost, under the old method of map making, all the way from $5.00 to $10.00 apiece. The modern map, well and thoroughly made, records faithfully every fact concerning the surface of the earth now known to man, and there is very little about it that scholarly geographers do not now know. In addition to the modern map’s accuracy, it is as much more attractive than its forebears to the eye as the beautiful color pictures now used in textbooks are seen to be when compared with the muddy wood cuts that appeared in schoolbooks a century or more ago.

It is not necessary for me to speak in such a presence as this of the contents of modern schoolbooks in order to point out how vastly superior in every respect they are to the contents of books of the earlier days. It would be a work of supererogation for me to comment at length, for instance, upon the character of the literature now included in reading books, or to note the scientific work that is now commonly done in the preparation of one of the most difficult books to prepare, namely, the primer, whose text matter and vocabulary are so splendidly adapted to the capacity of the young child, and whose illustrations picture his pets, his toys, his games, his playmates, and other things with which he is thoroughly familiar. I asked a literary friend to pick out a half dozen of the choicest selections of literature that he knew in modern readers. He replied as follows:

“Even a cursory survey of modern school readers soon reveals that no period in the whole world’s literature has been neglected as a source of selection. We have majestic passages from the Bible, Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, and Bunyan. The later centuries of English literature afford the names of Sir Walter Scott, Wordsworth, Shelley, Browning, Dickens, Thackeray, and on to Tennyson and Stevenson. The early classic American period contributes freely from Longfellow, Lowell, Emerson, Thoreau, and Irving, and our early patriots and philosophers like Washington, Patrick Henry, Franklin, and Lincoln, live to-day in the school readers. Even our modern authors have their place. James Whitcomb Riley, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Joel Chandler Harris, and a score of others are no strangers to the child who has in his possession a school reader of the present day. If these were not enough, we have occasional excursions into the Greek and Roman myths, and for the little people touches of the fascinating German and Scandinavian folklore.

“Most wonderful of all, however, is the skill of the editors and publishers of these modern readers in selecting from this world-wide galaxy of authors just the particular poem, tale, or episode that the childish mind can assimilate and digest, and thus be left not only with an introduction to these famous authors, but better yet with a desire to know more of them.”

Recently it was my pleasure to examine the illustrations in a set of modern school readers. I found in them a number of pictures beautifully done in color, copied from some of the masterpieces of world-famous artists, as, for instance, The Age of Innocence, by Reynolds, The Blue Boy, Gainsborough, The Melon Eaters, Murillo, Portrait of a Man, Franz Hals, King David, Rubens,

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