Thursday, January 30, 2014

Vintage Children's Primers & Readers

As you already know, I am a vintage ephemera and graphics fiend. One of my favorite sources for my artwork and art journal pages is artwork from old primers & readers. The New England Primers date back to the 1600's and have a mostly protestant slant, mixing in religious hymns, prayers and morals among the consonants, vowels & reading lessons. Made by fixing thin paper to a wooden board, these primers lasted well into the late 19th century.

I love the well worn covers and pages included in the primers in my possession and enjoy the way they look and feel in my art journals and collage pieces.

Readers were a series of graded primers, used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century.  The few readers I have are mostly from 1920s and 30s and are filled with beautiful full color plates to go with each story. Some of these pages would make nice prints for a child's nursery or library.

All of these books are wonderful to page through and read the stories and whimsical lessons for the younger children, my favorite being this set of thought and discussion-starters for a classroom and the list of "Funny Things to Do".

While I look through these vintage treasures, I can't help but imagine what it would have been like to be a child in a small schoolhouse in the mid 19th century or even early 20th century, and using these for my lesson plans daily. What a delight!

Below is a scan from one of my readers to give your creativity a jumpstart on a winter project. If you do use these graphics, we'd appreciate it if you would post a link to a photo either in the comment section below or on our Facebook page.