1810 New-England Primer with woodcuts

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[Primer.] The New-England Primer, Or, an Easy and Pleasant Guide to the Art of Reading : adorned with cuts : to which is added the Catechism. Massachusetts: Printed for the PURCHASER, 1810.

Heartman, New England primer (3rd ed.) 233; Shaw & Shoemaker 20851.

Binding: Hardcover (Leather spine).

[64] p.  Signatures: 32 leaves, [A] B-D in eights. Size: 5"-6" - Vigesimo-quarto (24mo). Multiple illustrations (woodcuts).

A small (24mo) printing of the Primer, which went through multiple editions by various printers during the colonial and early Federal periods, including several printings dated to circa 1810. This copy was originally bound in a leather spine with marbled paper over wooden boards, although the exterior paper has largely perished, exposing the boards. The front board has cracked across the middle and has been reglued to stabilize the board. There are no end papers, so the first and last pages are darkly browned where they have been in contact with the wood. I have added pieces of acid-free paper at the front and back to avoid any further direct contact.

This printing features a frontispiece printed on both sides. Heartman reports “On recto of first leaf are double rows of stars at top and bottom, a cut and ten lines of text; in bound copies this leaf is frequently pasted down.” In addition to the frontispiece, there are small woodcuts throughout to illustrate the rhymes and a woodcut of John Rogers as he is martyred at the stake. A copy of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is added at the end.

There are two 1/2" areas of loss along the gutter of the frontispiece. The fourth leaf (with words organized by number of syllables) has a 1 1/4" horizontal tear. The leaf at the beginning of Signature B has had a section of the bottom edge cut out, so the letter is missing. In the catechism, four pages have marginal lines in pencil marking question and answer blocks. One leaf has a 3/8” hole in the bottom margin, affecting words in the bottom two lines of text.

Heartman (1934 3rd ed.) found seven copies, two of which were in private collections. WorldCat shows four matching copies under three different OCLC numbers: Library of Congress (1003272986), Yale University Library (702206322), and UCLA Library and Rutgers University Special Collections (both 28922856, which also includes listing for other, similar copies). According to the catalog details, the Yale and UCLA copies are missing the frontispiece. Heartman’s list included holdings at Harvard and the American Antiquarian Society, which did not show up in a WorldCat search but are listed in their catalogs. He also lists a holding at the Boston Public Library which does not show up in its catalog.

Shipped Weight: 0 lbs 1 oz.

Inventory No: 1228.