THE FIRST AMERICAN GEOGRAPHY
I N colonial days geography was spoken of as "a diversion for a winter's evening," and acquaintance with it was considered an accomplishment rather than a necessity. Some rudimentary instruction in the science was occasionally given at the more advanced schools, but the topic was not taken up in the elementary schools until after the Revolution. A knowledge of it was first made a condition for entering Harvard in 1815, and a dozen years more elapsed before Massachusetts named it among the required studies in the public schools. To begin with, it was not introduced as a separate study, but the books were used as readers. The same was true of the early school histories. However, geography presently won a place of its own and kept it in spite of the protests that the scholars' attention was thereby being taken away from " cyphering."
The pioneer of American authors of school geographies was Jedidiah Morse. On the title page of most editions of his books his name was appended with " D. D. Minifter of the Congregation in Charleftown, Maffachufetts." He was born in 1761, graduated from Yale in 1783, and the year following published at New Haven his first geogra-