Selected Special Collections
McGuffey Reader Collection
Learning to read. McGuffey's reader. The Prints and Photographs Division, The Library of Congress.
The McGuffey Readers, a series of textbooks, which fused moral instruction with the teaching of language skills, are credited with revolutionizing elementary school education in the United States. A major collection of McGuffey Readers cited in Harvey C. Minnich's William Holmes McGuffey and his Readers was assembled by Maude Blair, a Detroit educator. In 1937 Miss Blair donated to the Library 195 different editions of readers, primers, spellers, and the New Eclectic Speaker, most of which show signs of classroom use. The Blair gift has been joined with items taken from the Library's general collections and forms the nucleus of the McGuffey Reader Collection in the Rare Book and Special Collections Division. The 1938 Annual Report of the Librarian of Congress describes the collection as including copies of all the first editions except the First Reader (1836) and McGuffey's Rhetorical Guide (1841). Also see McGuffey Reader Collection.