Early Nineteenth-Century Primer for Reading Lessons and Religious Instruction
The Columbian Primer, Enlarged and Improved: or, An Easy and Pleasant Guide to the Art of Reading. Adorn'd with Cuts. To Which is Added, The Assembly of Divines Catechism.
Boston: Printed by Thomas Fleet, 1801. (BRB0390)
First published in 1790, The Columbian Primer was a popular successor through the first half of the nineteenth century to The New England Primer, the standard first book for beginning readers in colonial America. This 1801 edition begins with alphabets, single syllables for children, and words with one through six syllables. On display, the illustrated ABC is accompanied by a two-line verse for each letter (for example, A: “In Adam’s Fall / We sinned all”). Religious instruction, found throughout the volume, includes the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed, verses for little children, instructive questions and answers, the Shorter Catechism of the Westminster Assembly, and "A dialogue between Christ, Youth, and the Devil."