In Colonial America
Town School at Dedham Massachusetts, built in 1648
Map of Colonial
Facts about the Hornbook
I. Paddle shaped board with paper sheet attached.
The Dame School
A New England Dame school in
old colonial times, 1713. Engraving. (Bettman Archive)
Facts about the Colonial Dame School
I. Opened to women who were usually
not allowed in grammar schools.
II. First private elementary schools and taught by women in their
A. Contained the ABC's in both small and capital letter.
B. Contained short syllabic processions.
C. Contained the benediction and either the Lord's Prayer or Scripture.
II. Covered with pellucid horn -- lamination of the colonial age.
III. Decorated with jewels and leather by wealthy.
III. No desks, maps, blackboards; perhaps only a hornbook.
A. Essentially day care for the colonial world.
B. Not widely thought of as important, but it is the main school
C. It is used extensively for the first century of colonial development.
The New England Primer
The New England Primer's Cover -- 1805 edition
Facts on the New England Primer
I. Benjamin Harris publishes the first primer in 1690, with
a possible early edition in England.
Hornbook with authorized Catechism
A. Essentially religion: Words
B. Religion is the way to salvation -- associated with reading as
the path to knowledge.
III. Less than ninety pages.
IV. Three inches wide by four inches long.
V. Ends its use in the nineteenth century.
A. Three million copies printed.
B. Required reading in school and church.
in the Northern Colonies
in the Middle Colonies
in the Southern Colonies