An Early Edition of the First Schoolbook Printed in America for the Colonies and the First Appearance of Any of Aesops Fables Printed in America
New Guide to the English Tongue: In Five Parts.
Boston: Printed and sold Kneeland and Adams, 1766.
DILWORTH, Thomas. A New Guide to the English Tongue: In Five Parts. Containing, I. Words, both common and proper, from one to six syllables: the several sorts of monosyllables in the common words being distinguished by tables, into words of two, three, and four letters, &c. with six short lessons at the end of each table, not exceeding the order of syllables in the foregoing tables. The several sorts of polysyllables also, being ranged in proper tables, have their syllables divided, and directions placed at the head of each table for the accent, to prevent false pronunciation; togeter with the like number of lessons on the foregoing tables, placed at the end of each table, as far as to words of four syllables, for the easier and more speedy way of teaching children to read. II. A large and useful table of words, that are the same in sound, but different in signification; very necessary to prevent the writing 1 word for another of the same sound. III. A short, but comprehensive grammar of the English tongue delivered in the most familiar and instructive method of question and answer; necessary for all such persons as have the advantage only of an English education. IV. An useful collection of sentences in prose and verse divine, moral, and historical; together with a select number of fables, adorn’d with proper scupltures, for the better improvement of the young beginner. And, V. Forms of prayer for children, on several occasions. The whole, being recommended by several clergymen and eminent schoolmasters. Boston: Printed and sold Kneeland and Adams, 1766.
Early American edition, and second Boston edition. Small octavo (6 3/16 x 3 1/4 inches; 157 x 95 mm). [ii]-xii, , 11-165, [1, blank]. With twelve woodcuts of Aesops Fables. Bound without A1 (Portrait) and text leaves B3-B6 (pages 3-10). There seem to be 5 American printings of this title before our present copy, however they are all virtually unobtainable and almost all known copies are lacking multiple leaves. We could find only one copy of our present edition at Yale University. That copy is described as "imperfect, several leaves mutilated." The previous American editions are as follows: 1747 Philadelphia- only one known copy (Pennypacker), now at Columbia University. 1754 New York- only one copy at American Antiquarian Society 1762- Philadelphia- Only one copy at Conneticiut Historical Society
1762- Delaware- Only one copy at Columbia University 1764- Boston- One copy at American Antiquarian Society and One at Boston College.
Full contemporary American sheep. Boards rubbed and and corners bumped. Paper is toned and worn, as usual for American paper of this time. Leaf B2 with bottom margin torn, affecting a few letters. Leaves B7 and C7 with closed tears with not loss of text. Some occasional staining throughout. Previous owner's old ink signature and notes on front pastedown. Previous owner's bookplate on front pastedown. Still a very good copy of an early American children's book which are usually not found in good condition.
The first American edition (Philadelphia, 1747) which was printed by Benjamin Franklin of this was the first schoolbook printed in America for the colonies. It also contains the first American edition of Aesops Fables. Miller states "F[ranklin's] printing of this very popular school book was the earliest in the Colonies." He goes on to mention a possible unseen edition of 1766, however we believe this not to be completed and not related to our 1766 edition. "Parker, in drawing up the partnership accounts on Feb. 1, 1766, reported that D[avid] H[all] had completed nine half-sheets towards the printing of a new edition of Dilworth. BF[ranklin's] reacton to this query: 'Has not Dilworth been printed several times before?'...No extant copies of other BF printings or that of DH 1766 edition are recorded." (Miller 415).
ESTC N505706. Miller 415.