T HE first period of American school-book authorship was characterized by erratic efforts and random shots in many directions. It did not become the general custom to put forth books in nicely graded series until well toward the middle of the nineteenth century, and in consequence many isolated spellers, primers, and readers were published and used for a brief period within a limited area. Readers of any sort for beginners were very few previous to 1825. So far as I am aware the first was The Franklin Printer, published in 1802, " containing a new and ufeful felection of Moral Leffons adorned with a great variety of elegant cuts calculated to ftrike a lafting impreffion on the Tender Minds of Children." The elegant cuts were a frontispiece portrait of Benjamin Franklin and about a dozen text illustrations of Bible scenes.
The book in size and general appearance had very much the look of a New England Primer. Indeed, the introduction says it was intended " as a fubfti-tute for the old Primer which has of late become almoft obfolete." The most important portions of the volume were " a variety of tables, moral leffons and fentences, a concife hiftory of the World,