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    E. H. Cushing [editor]. The New Texas Primary Reader. Houston: E. H. Cushing, 1863. First edition. 12mo. 96pp. Original blue paper-covered boards. Covers are chipped and stained. Spine is missing, but binding is still intact (though front cover is tenuously attached). Dampstain to inside front cover, lightly affecting first few pages. Minor toning and foxing to pages; pages 58-62 are missing top corner. Housed in a custom leather, gilt-stamped box, an inner slipcase and protective chemise, with ribbon pulls. Overall, good condition.

    This volume in the "New Texas Series," for the use of primary schools in Texas, was edited and published by E[dward]. H[opkins]. Cushing (1829-1879), editor and publisher of the Houston Telegraph. When hostilities made dealings with Northern publishers impossible, Cushing, a former teacher, printed some of the only textbooks available during the Civil War, but as Raines notes, this edition was short-lived as "[t]he surrender of Kirby Smith nipped in the root this enterprise of Confederate School Books, and the discarded McGuffey, Davies, and Webster came again into use."

    From the "Advertisement" at the front of the book, Cushing writes. "Since the separation of the Confederate States from the United States and the consequent cessation of intercourse, our people have felt the want of many things for which they were accustomed to depend on the Northern cities. Perhaps no want has been more seriously felt than that of school books."

    This little book contains lessons on a variety of topics, including history, spelling, nature, etiquette and religion. It is notable for its many Texas-specific chapters, including lessons on Texas trees, rivers, birds, sugar production, towns and cities (San Antonio, Galveston, Houston, and Austin), and an interesting lesson titled "Some Hard Words To Spell" ("Guadalupe," "Refugio," "Seguin,""Bexar," etc.), complete with pronunciation guide. In his note to teachers the the beginning of the books, Cushing writes of the importance of educating Texas children on Texas matters:

    "To Teachers: The editor has attempted to prepare a book suited to the wants of schools. It is mainly a compilation, but it is particularly adapted to schools in Texas, where some years experience in teaching has led him to find no little fault with the productions of the school book machines of Cincinnati and New York. It may be thought that a single State presents too narrow a scope for an enterprise of this kind. The editor is not of that opinion. Texas is an empire of itself. It should be the aim of every parent and teacher, to cultivate a State pride in the children. Such a pride is an incentive to good actions and the sure foundation of power and influence. What can better induce this than that the books first put in the hands of children should inculcate it?"

    Laid in is a folded receipt to "Jas. Jones" dated Jan. 15, 1864, acknowledging payment of $5.00 to the Telegraph office, signed by Cushing.

    References: Raines, page 59.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    14th Saturday
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