Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Samuel James Smith
With over 122 million copies sold since 1838, the McGuffey Readers taught more Americans to read than any other textbook. Initial publication coincided with a unique period in U.S. history as the West was settled, newly arrived immigrants assimilated, and the common school movement gained momentum. At this time, the nation was at a critical point of forming a distinct identity. These phenomena created a demand for textbooks that would not only meet the practical need for curriculum in developing schools but also extend prevailing American values both to children new to the frontier and those new to the nation. In the emerging textbook industry, McGuffey Readers reformed the content of America's textbooks and how that content was presented to students. William H. McGuffey was born in Pennsylvania in 1800 before his family moved to Ohio during his infancy. A prodigious child, he was issued a teaching certificate at 14 ...