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Published by Samuel Wood & Sons

The Young Child, or, First Book
The Young Child's A,B,C or, First Book. NY: Published by Samuel Wood & Sons, ca 1820.

The ABC, as a separate instructional text, was not widely used by American colonists. An inquiry into its origins and subsequent development as a teaching tool may explain why. The meaning of the word has changed since the Middle Ages, when it was referred to by one of its Latin names, "abecedarium". It was originally the child's first book of religious instruction, beginning with the alphabet and containing within a very few pages the rudiments of the Catholic faith -- the Pater Noster, the Ave Maria, and the Credo.


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