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Michigan State University

American Textbooks: Colonial Days to 1960: Reading series

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Dick and Jane readers (1930s-1970s)

The iconic "Dick and Jane" readers were published by the Chicago-based Scott, Foresman Company.

"Dick and Jane" volumes in Special Collections include:

A parallel series was produced for Catholic parochial schools:


McGuffey's Readers (1830s-1880s)

McGuffey's Readers were a series of graded texts, ranging from phonics and basic reading exercises (First) up to selections for high school students (Sixth).

William H. McGuffey (1800-73) created the first McGuffey Readers in the 1830s, and his brother Alexander H. McGuffey (1816-96) carried on the work thereafter.

There were multiple editions and revisions of each title. MSU Special Collections has 46 McGuffey volumes, including:

Background: Lukens, Rebecca. "William Holmes McGuffey." American Writers for Children Before 1900. Ed. Glenn E. Estes. Detroit: Gale, 1985. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 42.

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