|There were few textbooks available to young students in the 18th and 19th centuries. Instead, students would use blank books, more commonly referred to as copybooks, to copy their teacher's lessons entirely by hand. Many of these early books were made by hand, until the local stationers eventually began supplying ruled and plain copybooks, often with advertisements on their wrappers. |
My photos of the penmanship copybook shown above are from a 2008 exhibit, 350 Years of Books for Children at the University of Washington's Suzallo Library. Penmanship exercises were a common form of copybooks. This one is from a Hampstead, Massachussettes student, Tristram Little, and dated 1823-1826. I do love the text in it; Be careful to keep your book very clean.
|Below is a great example of a typical 19th century copybook. This one belonging to Eli Lee Harrison, is estimated to be from around 1850, according to Pat Pflieger at the Merry Coz where I found this example. It was produced by the L.S. Learned Company (love the name) of New England. The woodcut images on the front and back covers portray the Pilgrim's landing on the shores of Cape Cod near Eastham, MA (lovely place I might add). The inside pages are pale blue and filled with Eli's rather poorly-executed penmanship exercises such as this odd little verse; Idleness and ignorance are the parents of many vices. Well ok, I'll take less ignorance, but I could surely use a lot more of the idleness vice. |