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Books of Instruction. 0584: Anon., The Little Primer

Author: Anon.
Title: The little primer
Cat. Number: 0584
Date: No date
1st Edition:
Pub. Place: London
Publisher: J. L. Marks
Price: 1 half-penny
Pages: 1 vol., 8pp.
Size: 10 x 7 cm
Illustrations: Title-page vignette, frontispiece and six further wood-cuts
Note: Pages uncut

Images of all pages of this book

Page 001 of item 0584

Introductory essay

Primers had been common in Britain since the middle ages. Chaucer's Prioress, for example, speaks of a child who 'sat in the scole at his prymer'in the Canterbury Tales (Carpenter 1984: 424). At first primers usually contained mostly religious matter - often the catechism - alongside the alphabet and other material designed to teach literacy and numeracy. By the eighteenth century, the secular material - the alphabet, numbers, syllables, short sentences, and so on - had become more dominant. This primer, published by J.L. Marks probably some time around 1840 or 1850, is fairly typical of the many that were published throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

William B. Todd suggests that J. L. Marks was printing under the imprint used here (91, Long Lane, Smithfield, London) from 1836-57 (Todd 1972: 126). Several of the other works in the Hockliffe Collection published by Marks have very similar front covers: see 0006, 0009, 0016, 0075, 0146, 0585, 0748, 0772, 0823 or 0860.

Carpenter, Humphrey & Pritchard, Mari, The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature, Oxford: OUP, 1984

Todd, William B., A Directory of Printers and others in Allied Trades, London and vicinity, 1800-1840, London: Historical Society printing, 1972