Reviewing of children’s books in the early 19th-century U.S. was … spotty. Journals devoted to education were—unsurprisingly—the most likely to critique the books; most periodicals were content to print glowing notices.

Samuel Goodrich’s works for children were loved by their young readers and (usually) praised by adults. His works for adults, however …. Poetry wasn’t his forte; and reviewers weren’t slow to point this out. Goodrich also could be a polarizing figure; and a number of reviewers weren’t slow to forget this. (Park Benjamin has some especially sharp words about Goodrich’s writing.)

Here are collected reviews and notices of most of Goodrich’s work, loosely organized by date of the work’s original publication. When the notice or review is brief, it’s included on this page. Long reviews are separate files. Reviews of the periodicals for which Goodrich was responsible have another page. Notices and reviews of The Token are collected on a separate page. The editor of the periodical containing the piece is noted after the page number. Each title is linked to its description in the bibliography.

The Youth’s Arithmetic, 1819; 2nd edition, 1820

Connecticut Mirror, September 10, 1821: p. 2, col 3. Ed. S. Lincoln.

Arithmetic.—We have examined a little work recently published in this city and for sale by Huntington & Hopkins, entitled, “The Youth’s Arithmetic, being a plain and easy method of teaching the practical use of numbers—for the use of schools—second edition.”

This little work sells for but twenty five cents, and yet it embraces all the rules commonly found in other school arithmetics. But what recommends it particularly in our view, is the greater simplicity in the manner of treating the subject than is found in any other work on the same subject. The following extract will give some idea of the happy adaptation of the work to the capacity of learners.

Simple Multiplication is the process of collecting several equal numbers of the same kind into one amount.

Illustration—Take three parcels of cents of four each, put them all into one parcel and count them, they make 12; three times 4 therefore (or what is the same thing, 4 and 4 and 4) are equal to 12.

Multiply 5 by 4. Here take 5 parcels of cents of 4 each and count them, they make 20; 5 multiplied by 4 therefore (that is, 5 and 5 and 5 and 5) are 20.”

Compare this with the abstruse manner in which Daboll has treated the same point.

“Simple Multiplication, teacheth to increase, or repeat the greater of two numbers given, as often as there are units in the less, or multiplying number; hence it performs the work of many additions in the most compendious manner.”

On the whole we cannot give a better idea of the work in question than in the following words of the author.

“The success of a small work entitled “The Child’s Arithmetic,” has encouraged the author of it to revise and complete the plan of that hasty performance. This little book is the result, and is now given to the public with a sincere wish that it may serve to facilitate and enliven a study which has hitherto been one of the most difficult and repulsive to which children are brought.

“As the method here attempted to simplify the study of Arithmetic is in some respects new, the author requests the attention of the teacher to the following plan of the work.

“1st. The definitions are given in plain and simple language, and are then illustrated to the senses of the pupil.

“2d. The rules are also given in plain language, and are then clearly exemplified.

“3d. There is a gradation in the examples, the first in a rule being very simple, and the subsequent ones gradually increasing in difficulty.

“4th. Questions to be put by the teacher are placed at the end of the examples in each rule, both to exercise the scholar and to determine whether he thoroughly understands the subject.

“5th. Every rule is exercised by practical questions of such a nature, as actually arise in the business of life.

“6th. The work goes no farther than is necessary fully to instruct the learner in the practical use of numbers, as applied to the business of the mechanic, the husbandman and the merchant.

[“]In filling up this outline, the author has endeavored to exclude all puzzling and useless questions;—to separate and distinguish the subjects, in such a manner as clearly and distinctly to present each rule separately to the mind of the pupil; to avoid the obscurity of too much brevity on the one hand, and the embarrassment of too many words on the other; and generally to make such a work as shall assist all learners to an easy acquisition of the useful parts of arithmetic.”

We recommend this work to teachers as one likely to abridge their labor, and also as making a saving which to the poorer classes may be some object. And we urge this recommendation the more heartily, as we have understood that committees frequently prohibit the study of arithmetic in the District Schools, on account of its occupying too much of the teacher’s time.

Tales of Peter Parley about America, 1827

American Annals of Education, 9 (August 1827): 512. Ed. William Russell.

This neat little volume is very happily adapted to the class of readers for whose use it is intended. It furnishes a very entertaining narrative, embracing a good deal of useful information. Books of this kind, we hope, will soon become more numerous than now; and the author of this volume will doubtless find it worth while to proceed with the series which he has so successfully begun. The same neatness of execution which characterises the present will be a valuable recommendation to subsequent publications.

Review. Youth’s Companion, 2 (1 Aug 1828): 40. Ed. Nathaniel Willis.


The Tales of Peter Parley about America. With Engravings.

The Tales of Peter Parley about Europe. With Engravings.

These are the titles of two neat little volumes, which are lately published in this city by Mr. Goodrich, and which may be obtained at his Bookstore, No. 141, Washington-Street. They are called tales, because they are in the form of a story or a narrative of what a man saw who travelled about from one place to another, and who gives some account of the different places which he visited.—They are the tales of Peter Parley; who is not a real person. Parley means one who loves to talk, or to tell others about different things that he has seen. The writer calls his supposed traveller Peter Parley, because he makes him tell or relate what he knows. In the book first named above, there is the picture of an old man, standing on the Boston common with a cane in his hand; who has a very pleasant countenance, and his lips appear as if children would love to hear him talk.—Opposite the picture, on the first page, the book begins as follows.

“Here I am. My name is Peter Parley. I am an old man. I am very grey and lame. But I have seen a great many things, and had a great many adventures in my time, and I love to talk about them. I love to tell stories to children, and very often they come to my house and they get around me, and I tell them stories of what I have seen, and of what I have heard.

“I live in Boston. Boston is a large town, full of houses with a great many streets, and a great many people or inhabitants in it. When you go there you will see some persons riding about in coaches, and some riding on horseback, some running, and some walking. Here is a picture of Boston.

“When I was a little boy, Boston was not half so large as it is now, and that large building which stands very high, as you see in the picture, called the new State House, was not built then. And, do you know that the very place, where Boston stands, was once covered with woods, and that in those woods lived many Indians? Did you ever see an Indian? Here is a picture of some Indians.”

After the same manner, Parley goes on from one thing to another, telling a few things about them, till he passes through a great part of America.—Besides the pictures already named, there are pictures of a wigwam, of Indians shooting a deer, of a fawn, of Indians spearing salmon, of Wampum killing a bear, of an Indian village on fire, of Dutchmen and Frenchmen, of Turks and Chinese, of a French ship chasing an American, of Negroes dancing, of Ladies and Gentlemen of Peru, of S. American Indians, of the Andes, of an Anaconda, of Slaves searching for diamonds, of a vessel ashore, of a Tiger, Leopard and Ostrich, of the ships of Columbus, of Columbus going ashore, of Montezuma wounded, of the death of Atahualpa, of the building of Jamestown, of Smith rescued by an Indian girl, of a battle of the French War, of the battles of Lexington and Bunker Hill, of Indians shooting at Parley, and of the surrendeer of Cornwallis. The titles of the pictures will inform our readers of the greater part of the subjects of the Tales; and we believe they will suppose them to be very interesting. We can assure them that they are so, and that they would be much pleased to read them in the book itself, and to see the pictures by which they are illustrated.

The Tales about Europe are very similar to the first; the volume is about the same size, and has a much larger number of cuts. They are both well adapted to the understandings of small children, to “convey to them, under the guise of amusement the first ideas of Geography and History.” The author proposes to continue the series, and produce books of the same kind respecting Africa and Asia.

Review of second edition. American Annals of Education, 4 (March-April 1829): 191. Ed. William Russell.

This entertaining little volume is now adapted for use in primary schools, by the addition of questions at the foot of each page, and an appendix of explanations, embracing some important parts of elementary knowledge connected with the stories. The plan of this work is calculated to render it useful as an attractive introduction to more advanced stages of education; and its copious engravings furnish many sources of pleasure for the imaginative minds of children. Some of the cuts, however, those in particular which represent scenes of cruelty and suffering, might be advantageously exchanged, in another edition, for delineations of objects or events connected with happier associations.

The Child’s Botany; 1828

Ladies’ Magazine 1 (May 1828): 239. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale

The Child’s Botany.—S. G. Goodrich, Boston.” We have looked over the pages and plates of this little book, with much pleasure. We have long thought Botany a study in which children would be much interested, could it be simplified, and adapted to their capacities. It is a study congenial, in many respects, to their habits and feelings. The delight with which they roam the fields, and pluck beautiful flowers, would be enhanced by knowing there was some importance attached to the objects they were pursuing. Though the restraints of school are often irksome, yet it is a positive pleasure to children to acquire ideas, to learn—and the book that furnishes hints by which a walk in the garden may be a lesson, is not only adding to their knowledge but their happiness. The study of Botany, at an early age, will also have an excellent effect in familiarizing children to the terms of that science; the hard names, that often appear so formidable to older persons, would be acquired by them, if not with facility, at least without disgust.

The little work at the head of this article appears to be written and arranged in a manner well calculated to answer its design—that of pleasing and instructing childre.

Tales of Peter Parley about Europe, 1828

American Journal of Education 3 (June 1828): 384. Ed. William Russell.

The Tales of Peter Parley, about Europe, with Engravings. S. G. Goodrich, Boston. 1828. 16mo. pp. 96.

This little volume is designed as a companion to the corresponding one of tales about America, and is adapted to primary or elementary schools, as well as families. Its object is to excite curiosity, and create an interest in geography and history, so as to prepare the young mind for regular treatises on these branches of education. Questions on the principal subjects of every chapter are annexed to each page of the work, with a view to produce attention and cultivate the memory. The style, throughout, is familiar and striking; and the book will prove a very interestig one to its little readers; as has been the case with its predecessor, the volume on America, of which notice was taken in the 20th number of the Journal.

There are, however, some things which it would be desirable to have modified in a second edition, we allude to several of the remarks on the character of the European sovereigns and the nobility, which, though for the most part unfortunately too true, still admit of qualification and occasional exceptions. Some alterations should be made in a few of the cuts illustrative of national customs. Our ojbection to these is, that the impressions which they would produce would be too general, and might tend to foster national prejudices.

Ladies’ Magazine, July 1828: 335. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.

“THE TALES OF PETER PARLEY ABOUT EUROPE.—S. G. Goodrich, Boston.”—We like the plan of this little work, and think children will derive more benefit from geographical stories, than sentimental ones. The style of the book is good, and yet well adapted to the capacities of those for whom it was written. The engravings are also pretty fairly executed, but with some of the designs we are not so much pleased. Pictures may be made very instructive to children, and in books intended for children, they ought to be so made. But to interest the child some particular object or action should be represented. Views of cities with their crowded buildings, are not at all calculated to engage and consequently inform the young mind. In “Parley’s Tales” we have all the capital cities of Europe, and all looking so much alike, that a child can see but little difference between London and Rome—between the appearance of the greatest commercial city in the world and “the Niobe of nations.” Such pictures then do not convey true impressions to the mind, and therefore they are not useful,—that they are not very pleasing, any person may be convinced by exhibiting them to a child in contrast with those that display persons, or events. Nothing connected with early education should be deemed unimportant, and as pictures have a very decided influence on the minds of young children, care ought to be taken that those admitted into books, designed for them, be significant, and faithful, and easily understood. “Where are the children to whom Peter Parl[e]y is going to tell his stories?” asked a little boy while looking at the picture of the gentleman in the frontispiece. “Where are they?” We could not tell him, but we would suggest whether the good man would not appear more appropriate in the character of a teacher, than he does as a traveller especially in the frontispiece.

Peter Parley’s Winter-Evening Tales, 1829 [text online]

American Journal of Education, 4 (September & October 1829): 476. Ed. James G. Carter.

This work contains eight coloured engravings, and about as many Tales. It is beautifully got up, and we doubt not will be welcomed by the little admirers of Peter Parley. It is, we think, the prettiest of the popular books that have come from the quill of this ‘great unknown,’ in nursery literature.

Peter Parley’s Method of Telling About Geography, 1829; as Parley’s Geography for Beginners, at Home and School, 1844 [excerpts online]

American Journal of Education, 4 (September & October 1829): 480.

Peter Parley’s Method of teaching Geography to Youth—with nine Maps, and seventyfive Engravings. Hartford. H. & F. J. Huntington

This work is well calculated to answer the purpose for which it is written, viz. to teach the first steps in geography. Such a work is much wanted, there being no one, either expressly designed for, or suited to this end. There are several valuable works for more advanced scholars, but none that is calculated to help the child easily and agreeably over the somewhat difficult grounds which lie between the primary reading lessons, and this popular and useful portion of juvenile study.

The neatness and clearness of the maps, the abundance of the illustrative cuts, and the free and colloquial (though we regret to say, somewhat careless) style of Mr Parley, together with the attractive qualities of the white paper and large print, are calculated to make the book a favourite with pupils, and we trust, with their teachers. It appears to us that schools which have the use of a book like this, must profit by it in the more rapid and thorough progress of its pupils, and as we esteem everything that promises advantage to youth of importance, we commend this book to them, who, with ourselves, are interested in the cause of education.

Ladies’ Magazine, November 1829: 536. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.

PETER PARLEY’S GEOGRAPHY FOR CHILDREN. With nine Maps, and seventy-five engravigs. Hartford, H. & F. J. Huntington—pp. 122. Peter Parley, alias S. G. Goodrich has furnished some of the best books for the instruction of children which have ever issued from the American Press. The manner of story-telling which he has adopted is far preferable to the dialogue; it is more concise, more natural, and sustains the interest of the book more unbroken. In the arrangement of the pictorial department also, Mr. Goodrich excels. He has a correct judgment of the effect of such representations, and makes his books intelligible at once to the understanding of a child, not a load of words which he must carry in his memory till some fortunate chance shall reveal how it may usefully be appropriated. The variety of pictures in this little Geography is one of its useful improvements over other books of the same class. Pictures not only illustrate the story, but impress the ideas meant to be conveyed on the mind of the child with a vividness and correctness words can never impart. The division of the matter into short lessons, the mingling of familiar phrases, and comparisons, and the benevolent tone of moral sentiment which runs through the book, are all excellencies of a kind that cannot fail to be appreciated by any one interested in the important question of early education. We hope the Geography will be widely circulated—it should be in the possession of every child in our country.

The Malte Brun School Geography, 1830; also, A System of School Geography, Chiefly Derived from Malte-Brun [all reviews]

American Annals of Education, 1 (February 1831): 87.

Western Monthly Magazine, 2 (March 1834): 159-163. Ed. James Hall.

Peter Parley’s Tales of Animals, 1830

American Journal of Education, 4 (September & October 1829): 479-480. Ed. James G. Carter.

Peter Parley’s Tales of Animals, embracing the descriptions of nearly 300 Quadrupeds, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects. Illustrated by numerous Engravings. Boston. Carter & Hendee. 1829.

We are not certain that the author of this volume has not made a mistake in bringing it forward under the name of Peter Parley. It seems to assign to it a juvenile character which does not properly belong to it; for it is in fact written for more advanced classes in schools, and to such, it is certainly well suited.

p. 480

It is avowedly drawn in a great measure from the Library of Entertaining Knowledge, and seems to embody the most valuable and interesting parts of that work, so far as they relate to the higher classes of quadrupeds.

The author has not been content to insert the loose accounts which have been copied from one compend of natural history into another, for half a century—but he seems to have consulted the latest and best authors, and has therefore given to the work a degree of authority which does not usually attach to abridgments of this sort. He has also taken pains to arrange the descriptions of animals under certain heads, as form, size, colour, appearance, habits, countries, &c., and thus, by presenting one point at a time to the attention of the pupil, has given his work great perspecuity; at the same time that it affords the teacher easy and effectual means for examining his pupils.

The work is richly illustrated with engravings of animals, many of them of an amusing character, and calculated to impress the mind of the student. It is also provided with a frontispiece, which exhibits in outline the principal animals according to their comparative size. There is also a scale of feet in the margin which shows their positive dimensions. The general idea of this interesting and valuable plate, seems to be derived from Bingley, but it is the most complete device of this sort we have seen. The work cannot fail to be highly useful in schools; and, as a book for general reading, should be in every family.

Ladies’ Magazine and Literary Gazette, 3 (July 1830): 335.

Parley’s Animals. We have had this pretty and most agreeable child’s book on hand so long, that perhaps all our little friends have read it before they will see this notice. But no matter—we must say that we are highly pleased with it, and think it a proud testimonial of the estimation in which the education of the young is held among us, that gentlemen of taste and talents thus devote themselves to prepare and embellish books for children. We have before spoken of the excellence of the books published under the name of “Peter Parley’s Tales for Children.” Mr. Goodrich has now given a publication of more importance. We have descriptions here of about three hundred animals—and numerous engravings, in his usual good taste—forming a volume which we heartily recommend as a valuable acquisition to every child’s library. The following anecdotes of the “American Otter,” will be read with interest by every one fond of contemplating the goodness of that Being who has gifted all his creatures with a capacity for enjoyment.

“Their favorite sport is sliding, and for this purpose in winter the highest ridge of snow is selected, to the top of which the Otters scramble, where, lying on the belly, with their fore feet bent backwards, they give themselves an impulse with their hind legs, and swiftly glide head-foremost down the declivity, sometimes for the distance of twenty yards. This sport they continue, apparently with the keenest enjoyment, until fatigue or hunger induces them to desist.

“In the summer, this amusement is obtained by selecting a spot where the riverbank is sloping, has a clayey soil, and the water at its base is of a considerable depth. The Otters then remove from the surface, for the breadth of several feet, the sticks, roots, stones, and other obstructions, and render the surface as level as possible. They climb up the bank at a less precipitous spot, and, starting from the top, slip with velocity over the inclining ground plump into the water, to a depth proportioned to their weight and rapidity of motion. After a few slides and plunges the surface of the clay becomes very smooth and slippery, and the rapid succession of the sliders shows how much these animals are delighted by the game, as well as how capable they are of performing actions, which have no other object than that of pleasure or diversion.”

Pictorial Geography of the World, 1831, rev 1840

Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review 1 (November 1839): 463-464.

The editor of this extensive publication, has a name particularly associated with juvenile literature, but it is well known that he is able to cope successfully with subjects which demand the exercise of the masculine intellect. The present work, of which one or two numbers have been issued, is demonstrative of this. We have seldom seen a publication which seemed more fully to accomplish its design, than this—so far as we have examined it. Its particular object is to popularise geography; to give a present view of the world, physical, political, commercial, and moral—setting forth the various topics in the most entertaining, useful, and practical manner.

The whole work will contain 1100 large royal 8vo. pages, and will be enriched by 1000 illustrative engravings. Its utility as a family book—as a magazine of geographical knowledge for school, and other libraries, is too obvious to need our notice; but it is particularly entitled to our attention as a storehouse of valuable and accurate commercial intelligence. Geography is one of the first studies that should engage the attention of merchants; and we have seen no work comparable to this, in convenience and utility, to our own citizens. The United States are fully treated in the work; and

p. 464

we perceive much valuable information in respect to the western states and territories, Texas, etc., which we have not noticed elsewhere. Some interesting statistical tables we shall take the liberty to transfer to future numbers of our magazine.

We cannot do a better service to our commercial friends, than to commend this work to their attention. It will prove a most useful counting-house companion, and especially claims the notice of young men who are fitting themselves for mercantile pursuits. No man understands the art of making the acquisition of knowledge agreeable and effectual better than Mr. Goodrich, and he seems to have employed his skill to good advantage in the present instance. He has, of course, had large assistance in the preparation of this work, and we are not assured that he is the writer of the sketches of manners and customs dispersed through the volume. It will strike the reader, however, that they are written with great raciness and just discrimination, quite unlike the prosy delineations of the Morses and Pinkertons of other days.

The New-Yorker, 2 November 1839: 110.

This is another of the useful labors of S. G. Goodrich, whose various works for Elementary Education are so popular throughout the country. The work, of which an interesting specimen number is before us, embraces a popular and scientific system of Geography, on the basis of Goodrich’s universal Geography. It embodies, with other useful but less entertaining matter, historical sketches, incidents of travelling, traits of character, &c. and is richly illustrated with pictorial embellishments, maps, diagrams, statistical tables, and other aids of learning that must make it generally acceptable to all classes of readers. (Otis, Broaders & Co. Boston. S. H. Colton, No. 122 Broadway, New-York.)

The New-Yorker, 9 (20 June 1840): 221.

A Pictorial Geography of the World: By S. G. Goodrich.—The voluminous geographical works of Morse, Guthrie and others, published many years ago, are now comparatively valueless from the number and importance of the discoveries made since their completion. They are also without the pictorial embellishments which are more necessary to illustrate descriptions of countries, their manners and productions, than any other branch of learning. The volume before us comprises a system of universal geography, popular and scientific, including a physical, political and statistical account of the earth and its various divisions, with numerous sketches from recent travels, illustrated by more than one thousand engravings of costumes, curiosities, scenery, cities, edifices, ruins, beasts, birds, fishes, trees, plants, fruits, etc. It almost answers the purpose of an Encyclopædia, so various are the subjects which it embraces and so full are its details.

Mr. Goodrich, as most of our readers may be aware, is the author of the numerous works known as ‘Peter Parley’s,’ the most useful and the most universally popular of any series of juvenile books ever published in any country or dialect. These have passed through numberless editions in America and in England, and some of them have been translated into almost every written language. He has brought all the knowledge obtained in the composition of his former productions to his aid in the present undertaking, and it would probably be difficult to find in any geographical work extant a single fact of importance which is not embraced in it. The engravings are uniformly good, and judging by those with which we are acquainted, we infer that they are in an eminent degree correct. The paper and typography are equally excellent, and the volume, comprising one thousand imperial pages, equals in every way the best specimen of book-making ever produced in this country. (Turner & Disturnell, Broadway; and Otis Broaders & Co. Boston.)

Peter Parley’s Tales of the Sea, 1831

Peter Parley’s Tales of the Sea.” Charleston Courier [Charleston, SC] 17 August 1837: 2.

Peter Parley’s Tales of the Sea.—A little volume, bearing this title, has been shewn us, containing matter of a most incendiary character; and we warn booksellers and others against vending them in this community. A reference to one of the chapters will at once satisfy any one of its mischievous tendency, and induce those who have them on hand, either to send them back to the place from whence they were received, or consign them to the flames—indeed, we conceive it would be advisable, in cases of this kind, where deception is practised—for it will not be denied that it is deception to forward to booksellers, works known to be incendiary—to destroy the books, and let the loss fall on those who ship them. Should the circulation of this publication be continued, the offender will subject himself to a prosecution, which will certainly be instituted.

“More Literary Troubles at the South.” The Liberator 8 (29 September 1837): 157, col 1.

The literature of the world is against us!’ We do not see but our brethren of the South will be forced to shut out the 26 letters of the alphabet, by a cordon sanitaire; Primers, horn books, a-b-abs—and all together. Alas for the poor booksellers! Who would have thought that honest Peter Parley was to be lynched as an accomplice of the notorious abolitionists!—Friend of Man.

From the Charleston Courier of Aug. 17.

Peter Parley’s Tales of the Sea.—A little volume, bearing this title, has been shown us, containing matter of a most incendiary character, and we warn booksellers and others against vending them in this community. A reference to one of the chapters will at once satisfy any one of its mischievous tendency, and induce those who have them on hand, either to send them back to the place from whence they were received, or consign them to the flames—indeed, we conceive it would be advisable, in cases of this kind, where deception is practised—for it will not be denied that it is deception to forward to booksellers, works known to be incendiary—to destroy the books, and let the loss fall on those who ship them. Should the circulation of this publication be continued, the offender will subject himself to a prosecution, which will certainly be instituted.

Peter Parley’s Tales about the Sun, Moon, and Stars, 1831

“Children’s Books.” Christian Examiner 10 (May 1831): 212-220. Ed. James Walker & F. W. P. Greenwood. [A review of several works, including Parley’s book, on p. 215:]

2. Peter Parley is, we believe, a great favorite with children, because in a simple way, which they like and understand, he has been telling them tales about almost every thing. This is an intimacy, which we have no intention or wish of disturbing. The Tales about the Sun, Moon, and Stars, will furnish young people with about as much astronomy as they can comfortably bear, in such a manner as to engage their pleased attention, and imprint the facts permanently on their memory. They very early desire to know something about those splendid lights and sparkles, the sun, moon, and stars; and they may be made to know much, if their capacities are consulted as they are by their friend Parley. We were sorry to observe some mistakes, in point of fact, in the present edition; but these, as we are informed, are corrected in another, which will be published before what we are now writing is printed. Particular care should be taken to make all elementary instruction as accurate as possible. Error, planted in the tender mind, is apt to become deeply rooted, if not fruitful, unless eradicated by subsequent cultivation.

The Child’s Book of American Geography, 1831

American Annals of Education, 2 (1 February 1832): 112. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

The Child’s Own Book of American Geography. By the author of Peter Parley’s Tales, with sixty engravings, and eighteen maps. Boston. Carter & Hendee, and Waitt & Dow. 18mo. pp. 64.

We think this little work decidedly the best of the kind which Mr. Parley has published. It has more method than the geography first published under this name, and more of that distinctness and detail, which are essential to a complete course of instruction for children, while it avoids the excessive accumulation of matter which is found in the work, usually called the Malte Brun Geography.

It proposes to adopt the inductive plan, and is in fact constructed to a considerable extent on this plan. But to commence, as in this work, with a map of a state, and that, of course, the state of only a small proportion of the pupils for whom the book is designed, is certainly a wide and unnecessary departure from this plan. It is to begin at the greatest distance from the objects themselves, because the symbols and lines of a map convey even false ideas, if exhibited before the pupil has distinct cnceptions of the things delineated.

The pupil is first required to become familiar with the map of Maine, and is then carried in a course of imaginary travels, illustrated by interesting original designs, over the American Continent. In his directions for the use of the work, the author recommends— 1st to teach the points of the compass, 2. to give some idea of distance and extent, 3. teach the principal geograpical features of the town where the pupil is, 4. teach the pupil what a town or city is, 5. teach what a country is, a state, &c.

The style is simple and agreeable; and we think the work one of the most rational in its plan and interesting in its execution, that we have yet seen.

The First Book of History, 1831

Boston Recorder, vol 16 (June 8, 1831): 90. Ed. Nathaniel Willis.

The First Book of History. For Children and Youth. By the Author of Peter Parley’s Tales. With sixty engravings and sixteen maps. Boston, Richardson, Lord & Holbrook, 1831. Mr. Goodrich’s works are highly attractive to children, for two reasons; they abound in illustrations to the eye, and they are made level with their capacities. The style, however, is not childish, though adapted to children; and the representations are very unlike those miserable cuts which we too often see in books of this class. This work is intended to introduce children to the study of History in an engaging manner, and is recommended to be put into the hands of pupils of from nine to sixteen years of age. It embraces only the Western Continent and will probably be followed by a second volume embracing the Eastern Hemisphere.

American Annals of Education, 3rd series, vol 1 (July 1831): 335. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

The First Book of History. For Children and Youth. By the Author of Peter Parley’s Tales. With sixty Engravings, and sixteen Maps. Boston, 1831. 12mo. pp. 178.

This is intended for pupils of from nine to sixteen years of age. It is very handsomely executed; containing many maps, and illustrated by very appropriate and beautiful cuts. As to the style and manner, it is only necessary to say, that it is history narrated by Peter Parley.

It is not, however, a regular history, coming down from early times in chronological order, but a description of each of the United States, in the order of their geographical situation. The most important towns and public edifices are described as being visited, on an imaginary tour through each State. Instructive anecdotes, and important historical events relating to the particular State, are described in a very interesting manner. There are also questions, at the bottom of each page, for the assistance of the instructor. It embraces only the history of the Western Continent.

“Another Peter Fallen,” by G. D. Philanthropist 2 (2 July 1839): 2.

MAY 27, 1839.

Mr. Editor:—Sir, The case of J. K. Paulding, inserted in the Philanthropist of the 14th inst., reminds me of an incident at college, which a little electrified me, in the winter of 1837 and ’38. A junior class was up for recitation, and something occurred which induced me to mention the case of a negro sale in Georgia, and referred for proof of my assertions to their familiar and favorite author, Peter Parley. The boys hunted, but the story was like the Irishman’s flea, it was not there. The enquiry then was, what could this mean? How could the teacher be so mistaken? And what could make him so very confident about it, too? Presently the mystery was unravelled; one of the young gentlemen said, ‘Sir, theirs is a later edition, and it is not in theirs, mine is an earlier edition, and it’s in mine.’ I then referred to my diurnal, in which the article alluded to, was copied, December 5, 1837, and which is as follows:

“A gentleman who was in Georgia, told me he once witnessed a public sale of negroes there. They were put up at auction—consisting of men, women and children. The bidders examined them, turned them round—and made them walk back and forth; as if they had been cattle or horses. One of the women had three children; a daughter about 14 years old, and two boys about 8 or 10 years old. The children were bought by one person, and the mother by another. The boys did not mind the parting much—but the agony of the mother, and the distress of the daughters, were past description. Such are some of the evils of slavery. it is a bad system altogether.”

This was copied from page 81, of an edition of 1836. Since that time, there has been an edition issued, and in this, the article above is entirely omitted. What is the reason? Has Peter made the discovery that the gentleman from Georgia imposed upon him a piece of historical fraud? He has not said so. Is he become, in his old age, and with his gouty toes, aid-de-camp to the Secretary of the Navy? He has not informed us of this fact. Or has he, in his dotage, become a cunning historical coward? It is true he has not said so, and I would not wish to believe that it is so. But what has he said? He has said this: “In preparing a revised edition, the publisher has taken care to have such corrections made as the changes in the state of the several countries treated of, in the work, render necessary. This edition, therefore, may be considered as adapted to the existing condition of the political geography of North and South America.”

Will the south thank P. Parley for “such corrections?” No, Sir. One part will demand an entire surrender, or none; and another part has too much honor and honesty to respect a servile imitation of a mere catch-penny. Will the north tender her thanks? Not entirely so. One part at least will demand from its historians that plain matter of fact, the whole of it be retained, or none.

I deplore this occurrence, Sir, as one of those numerous instances in which, although we of the north have nothing to do with slavery, yet that same slavery has so much to do with us, that “It does make cowards of us all.”

G. D.

Peter Parley’s Tales about Ancient and Modern Greece, 1832

New England Magazine, June 1832: 530. Ed. Ann S. Stephens.

Peter Parley’s History of Ancient and Modern Greece.

This is one of the neatest of Parley’s books. The author, in justification of his manner of illustrating the classical age, by comparisons drawn from our own history, regrets that the critic will consider two things: “1st, who I am, and 2d, who am I talking to.” The book, however, is not designed for mere children. The engravings are very neat, representing cities, antiquities, dress, and the “immortal gods.”

Peter Parley’s Tales about Ancient Rome, 1832

American Annals of Education, 3 (May 1833): 240. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

Peter Parley’s Tales about Ancient Rome, with some Account of Modern Italy. Illustrated by a Map and numerous Engravings. Boston: Carter, Hendee & Co. 1833. Square 16mo. pp. 208.

The interest of Peter Parley’s works is well maintained in this. In style, it is not inferior to the rest, and the general character is the same. The descriptions are often highly graphic, but many of the engravings are wretchedly executed. We cannot excuse this defect in an author and publisher who has gained so much of his reputation, and done so much good, by improving thepublic taste in this respect. We presume it is owing to the process of stereotyping, which furnished, without great care, very imperfect copies of the best engravings.

Peter Parley’s Method of Telling About the History of the World to Children, 1832

American Annals of Education, 2 (November 1 & 15, 1832): 579. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

Another member of a family of books so well known, will be understood from its name. The sytle and manner are those of Peter Parley. The history commences with the landing of the pilgrims; and more than half the book is occurpied with the early history of the respective states of our country. The child is then led to Canada on one side, and to Mexico and South America, on the other; and in a manner similar to that adopted in the ‘First Steps to Geography,’ is carried back to the old continent and its early history. Instruction is certainly combined with amusement in this, as in other books of Parley; and it has the defects common to the family. They are certainly in advance of most other books for children in many points, while in others, there is great need of correction. We cannot pass unnoticed the unnecessary violations of truth (such as ‘I have been in Egypt myself’) which we think it is always unhappy to mingle with historical records, in books for children. The engravings are numerous, and generally, well selected.

The Second Book of History, 1832

American Annals of Education, 3 (April 1833): 191.

This work is in all respects formed upon the model of the ‘First Book,’ except that the style is adapted to more advanced pupils. The narrative is perspicuous and interesting; but we think there is a defect not usually found in this series of books—we mean the attempt to introduce too many events, rather than to make the pupil familiar with the most important. We admit, however, the difficulty of adjusting the point with accuracy. We regret most, that there is so little of the spirit which we have noticed in the Grecian history—so little to subserve the great end of historical studies, the improvement of the character. We hope the taste of the day will not only justify, but demand more of this, in every school book. The cuts are not so well executed as in most works of this series.

A System of Universal Geography, 1832 [all reviews]

Notice. New England Magazine 1 (August 1831): 184.

Review by J. A. B. Christian Watchman 13 (14 September 1832): 142.

New England Magazine 3 (October 1832): 342.

Review of second edition. American Quarterly Review 14 (September 1833): 126-142.

Peter Parley’s Book of the United States, 1833

Review of 1837 edition. American Annals of Education, September 1837: 432. Ed. William A. Alcott & William C. Woodbridge.

PETER PARLEY’S BOOK OF THE UNITED STATES, Geographical, Political and Historical. With Comparative Views of other Countries. Illustrated by Maps and Engravings. Boston: Charles J. Hendee, 1837. Square 16mo., pp. 208.

This is one of Peter Parley’s most admirable productions. The beauty and accuracy of the maps and engravings, and the fine style in which the work is printed strike forcibly, but we like too, with few exceptions, the matter and manner. The plan is novel and ingenious, and for young pupils excellent, There are some opinions express in the body of the work, which, though they may be just, might as well, perhaps, in this day of excitement, have been omitted. Still, we repeat it, the work is in the main, excellent, and worthy of forming an introduction to the ‘First Book of History,’ for which purpose we understand it was designed by the author.

American Magazine of Useful Knowledge, 3 (September 1837): 480. Probably ed. J. L. Sibley.

PETER PARLEY.—Mr. C. J. Hendee has recently published, in a neat form, Peter Parley’s Book of the United States, Geographical, Political, and Historical, illustrated by engravings. It exhibits the great features of the country, not sectionally, as is usually done, but on a principle of classification which embraces in one view all that may relate to a particular topic; and in order to a better understanding of our own country, the writer takes occasion, throughout the work, to keep up a constant comparison between what pertains to this country and others. Notwithstanding the multitude of works which Peter Parley has presented to the public, he has not exhausted his fund of useful information, but he has contrived to give great interest to the book before us. It contains information valuable for adults as well as youth, though it is designed chiefly for the latter class of readers.

Peter Parley’s Method of Teaching Arithmetic to Children, 1833; also as Parley’s Arithmetic

American Annals of Education 3 (December 1833): 600. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

Like the other works by the same author, this little book is rendered highly inviting by its agreeable and simple style, by its numerous and beautiful engravings, as well as by its neatness of execution. It has also other merits. By providing first lessons in arithmetic from objects, and from those with which the child is familiar, we prevent that early disgust which children often acquire with the whole subject. At the same time, we suspect that many a child will follow the example of some urchins, who carefully secure all the butter, and throw the bread to the dogs. There is not a little danger of rendering dishes so savory as to spoil the taste for simple food; and this is the tendency of too many of the works of this author. We are sorry, also, not to find more evidence of that attention to the natural progress of the mind, in arranging the questions, which is necessary to render a child’s book of permanent value. Of its immediate usefulness and success we have little doubt.

New England Magazine, 6 (March 1834): 261. Ed. Joseph T. Buckingham.

Peter Parley’s Arithmetic, with engravings,’ is a work that meets with a ready sale. Some of our older and sterner schoolmasters, however, would have contracted their brow to see a treatise on numbers ‘with engravings.’ Peter, however, has managed it very adroitly; and if he is unable to construct a ‘royal road to Geometry,’ he has laid out a very pretty path to arithmetic. Carter & Hendee, publishers.

The Third Book of History, 1834

American Annals of Education. 4 (Nov 1834): 531. Ed. William C. Woodbridge.

The Third Book of History; containing Ancient History in connection with Ancient Geography. Designed as a Sequel to the First and Second Books of History. By the Author of Peter Parley’s Tales. Boston: Carter, Hendee & Co. 1834. pp. 189.

This work will unquestionably derive a degree of popularity from that of its predecessors, which it resembles in character. So far as we have examined it, we are pleased with its style and spirit. Its typography appears to be remarkably correct; but we are sorry to find the type, like that of the Second Book of History, and indeed a large proportion of all our books for the young, much too small. The eyes ought not to be tried more than they are with that of the First Book, which is a size larger. This Third Book, like the First and Second Books, is furnished with maps at the end, and is illustrated with numerous engravings; but we suspect that both our correspondents, X and Y, would find fault with the stereotype impressions of the latter.

Peter Parley’s Book of Bible Stories (edited), 1834

Notice. New England Magazine, 6 (March 1834): 262. Ed. Joseph T. Buckingham.

Bible Stories, by Peter Parley,’ are the prominent incidents in the Scriptures, told in a simple manner.

Review. Rose Bud 2 (1 Feb 1834): 91. Ed. Caroline Gilman.

This work is written with the usual delightful simplicity of the nominal author, and is furnished with appropriate engravings. Children do not know just where to turn for subjects of interest in the Bible. Here they will find the scripture narratives, and pious reflections added.

Peter Parley’s Book of Poetry for Children; 1834

Review. Rose Bud 2 (1 Feb 1834): 91. Ed. Caroline Gilman.

This is made up of selections from “Original Poems,” “The Juvenile Miscellany,” “Parley’s Magazine,” the “Rose Bud,” &c. &c. with engravings. A picture of Nancy Ray is there, and our readers will smile to see how she has grown in a visit to the North. Instead of our little short fat-cheeked Southerner of five, Mr. Parley has made her a well-grown Miss of twelve. The book is very pleasing, but we are sorry to see the signatures omitted. It is an excusable pride, which makes us wish our names connected with the poetry of childhood. Young readers rarely look at an index.

The Outcast, and Other Poems, 1836 [all reviews]

The New-Yorker, 1 (March 26, 1836): 2.

Knickerbocker, 7 (April 1836): 427-429.

American Monthly Magazine, May 1836: 519-525. Ed. Charles Fenno Hoffman & Park Benjamin.

Christian Examiner, September 1836: 132-134. Ed. James Walker & F. W. P. Greenwood.

Sketches from a Student’s Window, 1836

New World, 4 (19 February 1842): 128. Ed. Rufus Wilmot Griswold & Park Benjamin.

SKETCHES FROM A STUDENT’S WINDOW. By S. G. Goodrich. Boston: Wm. D. Ticknor.

These light and pleasing sketches are the occasional productions of the author; originally prepared for various periodical works. They evince no very high order of talent or genius, and are entitled only to a negative sort of praise. The work is beautifully printed and chastely ornamented.

Boston Miscellany, March 1842: 141. Ed. Nathan Hale.

SKETCHES FROM A STUDENT’S WINDOW. By S. G. Goodrich. Boston: W. D. Ticknor. 1841.

We regret that we have only room to call the attention of our readers to this pleasant volume of tales, sketches and essays, most of which have appeared before in periodicals and annuals. They are characterized by much taste and spirit, and are quite worthy of being thus collected.

Peter Parley’s Almanac, for Young and Old, for 1836

Portland Magazine, 2 (November 1835): 64. Ed. Ann S. Stephens.

PARLEY’S ALMANAC is the best we have seen, the contents are simple without being silly, useful without dullness, and witty without coarseness. Buy it, read it, and lay it up for reference.

The Knickerbocker, December 1835: 578. Ed. Lewis Gaylord Clark.

PETER PARLEY’S ALMANAC.—This is one of those excellent little collections, for the production of which the author is widely and justly celebrated. Its class may be humble, but it is of itself full of instruction and amusement, judiciously blended,,—touching, in the happiest manner, upon almost every topic of common interest. Uncle Peter uses great plainness of speech, and his inculcations are always wholesome. The astronomical portions are familiarly explained, and the work is illustrated by numerous wood-cuts. It bids fair to have a wider circulation than any other annual of the season. [Transcriber’s note: At this time, of course, The Token—an annual gift book for which Samuel Goodrich was responsible—also was being published.]

Parley’s Cyclopedia, 1836-1838

The New Yorker, 2 (22 October 1836): 77.

Parley’s Cyclopedia”—Two Nos. of this excellent elementary series have been sent us—a “Bible Gazetteer,” or descriptions of all the places mentioned in the Scriptures, and a Dictionary of “The Animal Kingdom”—the former by a Map of Palestine, and both by a number of wood-cuts. To the general excellence of the ‘Parley’ works we have already borne testimony, while their peculiar adaptation to the wants and tastes of children is a matter of perfect notoriety.

Peter Parley’s Bible Gazetteer, 1836; also, Parley’s Bible Cyclopedia; Peter Parley’s Method of Telling about the Geography of the Bible

American Annals of Education, 7 (April 1837): 189. Ed. William A. Alcott & William C. Woodbridge.

PETER PARLEY’S Method of Telling about the Geography of the Bible. With many Engravings. Boston: American Stationers’ Company. 1837. 16 mo. pp. 143.

This is a very neat little book in large type, and adorned with many beautiful engravings. It is calculated to interest children, and there are few who would not, after studying it, turn with more interest to the study of the Bible. Hence, it seems to us exceedingly well adapted to the wants of Sabbath Schools. Perhaps it may not be amiss to observe, that this work is, as we have good reason to believe, a product of the labor of the real Peter Parley himself—a circumstance which will, to many, give it additional value.

Notice. The Knickerbocker, May 1837: 528. Ed. Lewis Gaylord Clark.

Notice. BOSTON WORKS.—Mr. SAMUEL COLMAN, 114 Fulton-street, has the agency for all works of interest or utility which issue from the Boston press. Beside two excellent books already noticed in these pages—‘Twice-Told Tales,’ and ‘The Young Ladies’ Friend’—we have before us, from the above house, a neat volume of some three hundred and fifty pages, upon ‘Practical Phrenology,[’] by SILAS JONES, which has been highly praised by phrenologists; a pleasing, instructive, and comprehensive [’]Geography of the Bible,’ by the world-renowned PETER PARLEY, illustrated by numerous cuts; and a simple but well-written and useful little pamphlet-book, called ‘Emily and Charles, or a Little Girl’s Correspondence with her Brother—designed to aid Children in the Art of Letter-Writing.’ We take pleasure in calling public attention to Mr. COLMAN’s establishment.

Peter Parley’s Dictionary of the Animal Kingdom, 1836

Notice. New Yorker, 1 (1836): 269.

“Peter Parley’s” style has already become so popular with young readers as to need no commendation.

The Maine Monthly Magazine, 1 (July 1836): 48. Ed. Charles Gilman.

PARLEY’S CYCLOPEDIA. The Animal Kingdom. Boston: Otis, Broaders & Co.

We have here another effort of Peter Parley to please and instruct the youthful mind. The old gentleman is really indefatigable in his exertions to benefit the rising generation. He has done more in the space of a few years to raise the standard of juvenile literature, than had been accomplished in a half a century previous.

Peter Parley’s Almanac, for Young and Old, 1837

Notice. The New-Yorker, 2 (12 November 1836): 125. By “F.”

Parley’s Almanac for 1837.—Freeman Hunt & Co. have recently issued this Juvenile Annual, and we are told that of an edition of twenty-five thousand, but three thousand remain unsold. It is well adapted to the instruction of youth, and will serve as a book of reference to old ad young.

Fireside Education, 1838; also Sow Well and Reap Well [all reviews]

Notice. The New-Yorker, 11 August 1838: 333.

Knickerbocker, 12 (September 1838): 261-263.

Notice. The New-Yorker, 5 (September 8, 1838): 397.

American Museum of Science, Literature, and the Arts, 1 (September 1838): 149-152. Ed. Nathan C. Brooks.

Baltimore Literary Monument 1 (December 1838): 144.

Review by Rufus Dawes. Godey’s Lady’s Book, 17 (December 1838): 275-277. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale & Louis A. Godey.

North American Magazine, 48 (April 1839): 380-400.

Christian Examiner 26 (May 1839): 266-267.

The First Reader for Schools; The Second Reader for Schools; Third Reader for the Use of Schools; The Fourth Reader for the Use of Schools, 1839

American Annals of Education 9 (August 1839): 384. Ed. M. F. Hubbard.

The First Reader for Schools by S. G. Goodrich, pp. 96, 16mo. The Second Reader for Schools by S. G. Goodrich, pp. 144, 16mo. The Third Reader for Schools by S. G. Goodrich, pp. 180, 12mo. Boston: Otis, Broaders & Co., 1839.

These books have been prepared with great care, by one of long practice and great skill in the communication of knowledge to the young. The three volumes of the series,—a fourth and completing volume is to follow soon—are well fitted to the end for which they were designed. They are constructed with reference to the gradual development of the child’s powers, and intended to aid that development. There is therefore a gradual progress in them, from the simplest narrative, to moral lessons and the wants of a maturing mind. The author has carefully avoided the highflown in language, and the obscure or difficult in sentiment. The reader will, we think, be allured continually onward by the pleasantness of the way, while yet he will find difficulties enough to give him exercise and strength. A large portion of the pieces, especially in the earlier parts, were written especially for the book, and hence are both fresh and well adapted. The moral effect of the lessons must be very good. The first two volumes are illustrated with many pleasing cuts.

The Young American, 1840

Notice. Brother Jonathan, 3 (19 November 1842): 348.

NEW SCHOOL BOOKS.—Parley’s Young American—a useful historical work for young persons, by S. G. Goodrich, is just published by Robinson, 156 Fulton street.

Review of 4th edition. Magazine for the Million, 1 (6 April 1844): 191.

“THE YOUNG AMERICAN, or Book of Government and Law; showing their History, Nature, and Necessity,” (fourth edition,) is one of our friend Goodrich’s incomparable school books, full of historial information, and admirably adapted to its object. We cordially and heartily recommend it to all schools and heads of families. We shall not tell you, dear reader, how many copies we intend purchasing for our own sweet little cherubs; but they shall each have one—that’s a fact, for this books is multum in parvo without controversy.

Three Months at Sea (edited), 1841

The Magnolia, 1 (November 1842): 320. Ed. William Gilmore Simms.


‘Three Months at Sea, or a Voyage to India,’ is the first volume of a series projected by Munroe & Francis of Boston, for the equal instruction and amusement of young persons. This little book is a very pretty and very readable specimen, filled with information which is equally curious and important to the young beginner, and, indeed, may be relished by many old ones. Certainly, the young people of the present time, have a thousand advantages over their ancestors. In our day, what a treat this volume would have been. How we should have concealed it in the bosom of our Dilworth, our Daboll, our Morse or Goldsmith, and devoured it as a rare pleasure, the sweeter because stolen. Still, we had our stories, which it pains us to think are no longer in fashion,—our Seven Champions, our Sinbad, our Blue Beard, and Robinson Crusoe. But, we certainly had no such editions,—no such fine paper, clear type and really beautiful pictures. Our pictures then were a sad chaos of shade darkening into deeper shade,—confusion worse confounded, in which we could only now and then trace out the action,—the raw head and bloody bones—which was intended to illustrate the tale of terror, or magic, or mystery, or crime. Very different is the style of pictures in the present volume. These are equally well drawn and expressive, and hung in rich red frames that give them an air of the handsomest finish. We commend them for the purpose for which they are designed, and the volume to all good children who find favor in the sign of grandpa.

A Pictorial Natural History, 1842

The Magnolia, 1 (November 1842): 320. Ed. William Gilmore Simms.


Here is a pictorial natural history, embracing a view of the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdom, designed for schools, by S. G. Goodrich, which certainly must make this brance of study pleasant, and facilitate its acquisition with the young. Every page is illustrated by engravings,—rock and ruin, man, beast, bird, tree, plant, flower,—every object, in fact, which can be enumerated under each of the several dependencies which comprise the kingdoms of nature. We have opened and read several pages in different parts of the book, and find the arrangement good, and the style simple and attractive. We could wish that Mr. Goodrich had made his history of the United States as little obnoxious to our censure as this volume. We do not see that he has slurred over any part of his natural history, as in that he certainly does with the history of states and men. We have a quarrel with him on this head, which we shall bring to an issue whenever occasion serves. It gives us pleasure, meanwhile, to declare that we see nothing objectionable, but, on the contrary, much to commend, in the hurried examination which we have been permitted to give to the history before us. It is published in neat style by James Munroe & Co., Boston, 1842.

A Pictorial History of America, 1844, rev 1857; also, A Pictorial History of the United States; American Child’s Pictorial History of the United States

Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, 16 (July 1844): 455-456. Ed. Charles Hodge.

A Pictorial History of the United States; with Notices of other portions of America. By S. G. Goodrich, author of Peter Parley’s Tales; for the use of schools. Philadelphia: Published by Samuel Agnew, and sold by H. Hooker, 178 Chestnut-street. 1844.

Mr. Goodrich, better known to our young friends as Peter Parley, has proved himself one of the most acceptable writers of juvenile books. This abridgment of American History is written in a clear and simple style, very much condensed; and yet, from the distinctness of the paragraphs, the events stand forth upon the page without confusion. So far as we have examined, we find it accurate. We should pronounce it an unusually good specimen of compendious narrative. The getting up is substantial, and fitting for a school book. The cuts are wanting in finish, but will no doubt enliven the pages, to the eye of youthful readers.

This is scarcely the place to say, that we have not much confidence in abridgments, for the study of History. We even doubt whether their tendency is to strengthen the memory; or rather, whether it is so easy to recollect historical facts by studying an abridgment, in the manner now commonly in use. The only legitimate way to impress historical details upon the mind, is to awaken a lively interest in their progress and connexion, by a graphic or rather a dramatic style of representing them, instead of attempting to commit them to the memory, in the form of condensed narratives, or brief and dry formularies. Our convictions on this subject are growing very strong, and we ventured to [p. 456] express our views somewhat fully. See Bib. Rep., Oct., 1840. p. 550. Since then we have been favoured with a specimen of historical composition, which to a degree that we hardly ventured to expect, both illustrates the meaning and confirms the truth of what we attempted to establish. The sale of about 100,000 copies of Dr. Merle D’Aubigné’s History of the Reformation, in the United States alone, in so short a space, is a most remarkable and significant fact to the writers and teachers of history. We have a good deal to say on the subject, but, we repeat, this is not the place. We have said thus much, merely for the purpose of attempting to keep the subject before the minds of those who are engaged in literary pursuits.

A Pictorial History of France, for schools, 1844

Biblical Repertory and Princeton Review, 15 (January 1843): 181. Ed. Charles Hodge.

A Pictorial History of France. By S. G. Goodrich, author of Peter Parley’s Tales. Philadelphia: published by Samuel Agnew. 1842.

PETER PARLEY needs no introduction to our readers. We proceed, therefore, to say that this is likely to be one of the most useful of his books. We concur in the opinion which we see expressed by many experienced teachers, that this is the best compend of French history we have for the use of schools, and juvenile readers generally. It is comprehensive, accurate, remarkably simple, and enlivened by anecdotes. The pictorial feature of the work consists in profile heads of the French monarchs, and other celebrated characters who figure in the text, in cuts showing the costume of the several ages, both of which are interesting, and in some fancy sketches of battles and other scenes, which may perhaps amuse children. In the mechanical execution of the book Mr. Agnew has shown both taste and skill. It is, in this respect, a good specimen of what school books ought to be.

Parley’s Cabinet Library, 1844-1845 (20 volumes)

The Ladies’ Repository, 11 (January 1851): 36. Ed. Benjamin Franklin Tefft.

PARLEY’S CABINET LIBRARY, in Twenty Volumes, Geo. C. Rand & Co., Boston, is a most entertaining series of works, unsurpassed in value by any similar publications, of the same number and dimensions, in any language. They contain over five hundred engravings, and nearly seven thousand pages. For family perusal, particularly for girls and boys—if there are any such sort of persons left—from ten to fifteen years of age, this collection has no rival in America or in England. The whole of it sells, we believe, for ten dollars.

The Mother’s Assistant (Jan 1853): 35.

This work is intended for schools and families. It consists of twenty volumes, the first six of which are Biographical, the next six Historical, and the remainder Miscellaneous. It is illustrated by five hundred engravings.

It gives us pleasure to recommend these volumes, because, in this age of literary trash, something should constantly be done to divert the minds of the young, especially, from the ruinous tendency of a great proportion of the popular literature. The style of Peter Parley is concise, clear and attractive, and cannot fail strongly to enlist the attention of the reader, while useful instruction is gained from every page.

A Pictorial History of England, 1845

Ladies’ Repository (Cincinnati), 6 (January 1846): 29.

This is one of a neat, well written, and embellished series of historical books designed for families and schools. We believe they are decidedly better than similar works heretofore in use, and hope to see them generally adopted. Families should bear in mind that history requires no master, and, if it be written in a suitable way, is better adapted than almost any thing else to beguile the weary hours of the winter evening, and to inspire youth with a taste for reading and a love of literature. There is no country, except our own, whose history is more interesting to the American than England. Her rapid march to greatness, the present extent of her empire, the influence she exerts upon the fortunes of the world, her intimate connection with ourselves, and the fact that many of our institutions owe their origin to her society, ought to insure her history a general perusal by our youth. If such histories as the above are read, they will create a call for the larger ones.”

Truth-Finder; or, Inquisitive Jack, 1845
A Home in the Sea; or, The Adventures of Philip Brusque, 1845
Dick Boldhero; or, A Tale of Adventures in South America, 1846

Notice. Ladies’ Repository, 5 (Ag 1845): 253. Ed. Edward Thomson.

THE TRUTH FINDER, OR THE STORY OF INQUISITIVE JACK. By the Author of Peter Parley’s Tales. Philadelphia: Sorin & Ball.—This is a useful and entertaining work for children.

Notices of The Truth Finder; or, The Story of Inquisitive Jack; A Home in the Sea; or, The Adventures of Philip Brusque; Dick Boldhero; or, A Tale of Adventures in South America. Ladies’ Repository (Cincinnati), 6 (January 1846): 29.

These are written by the author of Peter Parley’s Tales, and published by Sorin & Ball, Philadelphia. We need hardly say that they are well written, and neatly printed. They would be acceptable presents in almost any family.

A History of All Nations, 1849-51; rev, 1857 [all reviews]

Notice. The Literary World, 6 (29 June 1850): 637. Ed. Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck.

Knickerbocker 36 (November 1850): 461-463.

A Comprehensive Geography and History, 1850

The Literary World, 10 (17 April 1852): 279.

A Comprehensive Geography and History; Ancient and Modern. By. S. G. Goodrich. George Savage.—A well-printed, abundantly illustrated, elegant quarto volume, of 272 pages, advancing the knowledge and study of Geography and History, from the excellent elementary books hitherto employed for these purposes. The maps included on the pages are printed in two colors, marking clearly the most important localities. The wood-cut illustrations are spirited and striking, with an air of decided novelty, embracing new views of cities, street views, portraits, natural history, scientific and historical illustrations, vignettes, &c. The information is brought down to the latest moment, and the whole work is a liberal embodiment of the information, tact, and experience of its accomplished author.

Poems, 1851 [all reviews]

Notice. The Literary World 7 (November 30, 1850): 433. Ed. Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck.

The Literary World, 7 (December 28, 1850): 525. Ed. Evert A. & George L. Duyckinck.

Notice. Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 2 (February 1851): 427. Ed. Henry J. Raymond.

Southern Quarterly Review, 19 (April 1851): 564.

Graham’s Magazine, 38 (May 1851): 408. Ed. George R. Graham.

Wellman’s Monthly Literary Miscellany, 4 (May 1851): 202-205.

Popular Biography, 1852

The Ladies’ Repository, 15 (January 1855): 188. Ed. Davis Wasgatt Clark.

PETER PARLEY’S POPULAR BIOGRAPHY. New York: Leavitt & Allen.—This manual of biography embraces the most eminent characters of every age, nation, and profession: including painters, poets, philosophers, politicians, heroes, warriors, etc. It constitutes a closely printed octavo volume with five hundred and twenty-seven double pages. It is one of the best hand-books of biography we have. For sale by Moore, Wilstach & Co., Cincinnati.

Parley’s Present for All Seasons, 1854

Southern Literary Messenger, 19 (December 1853): 780. Ed. John R. Thompson.

THE PICTURE PLEASURE BOOK. Illustrated with nearly Five Hundred Engravings from Drawings by Eminent Artists. Two Series. New York: D. Appleton and Co., 200 Broadway. 1854.

PARLEY’S PRESENT for all Seasons. By S. G. GOODRICH, Author of Parley’s Tales, etc[.] New York: Same publishers.

Happy Days of Childhood. By AMEY MEADOWS. Illustrated by Twenty-Four Pictures by Harrison Weir, and a Frontispiece by Birket Foster. Same publishers. [From A. Morris, 97 Main Street.

In the name of the little folks we move a vote of thanks to the Appletons for these jolly fine books for the holidays. In our day of callow juvenility, no such treasures of print and pictures had ever come from the press to the nursery. The publishers have done, in the Pleasure Books, for Mother Hubbard and the story of the Three Bears what Alderman Boydell did for Shakespeare, in just as magnificent a way. Let no one think to deceive us. These engravings, do we not know them? Have we not seen works of a similar kind and from the very same artists in the most sumptuous of modern English publications? Verily, the men who do the pictures of the Illustrated News and Punch and the Art Journal have had a hand in the getting up of these wonderful juvenile affairs.

“Parley,” we take it, was done in Paris, Mr. Goodrich looking after it in person. Our old friend looks somewhat singularly in French type, but the children will always hail him with delight, come when and how he may. These books are all capital for holiday presents and will prove very popular as such.

Geographie Elementaire, 1854

The National Era, 10 (26 June 1856): 103. Ed. Gamaliel Bailey.

GEOGRAPHIE ELEMENTAIRE. A Pusage des Ecoles et des Families. Illustree par 15 cartes, et 30 gravures. Par Peter Parley. Philadelphia: Chez E. H. Butler & Co.

Peter Parley is complimented by having so many of his school books translated into French. This translation of his Elementary Geography for the Use of Schools and Families, is handsomely and conveniently got up, with very pretty illustrations—printing, engraving, paper, all excellent.

Faggots for the Fireside, 1855

Southern Literary Messenger, 20 (December 1854): 772. Ed. John R. Thompson.

FAG[G]OTS FOR THE FIRESIDE, or Fact and Fancy. By Peter Parley. Illustrated by engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1854.

This is the second work which the indefatigable Mr. Goodrich has compiled and had printed in Paris, with all the appliances and means to boot, of pictorial effect. This, like the former volume, is exceedingly dainty—that word, perhaps, is the most correct description of the blue and silver and gold of the binding and illustrations; and it reminds us of the exquisite publications peculiar to the city of Tours. The tales which the volume contains are translations or adaptations of originals more or less known, and will interest the young folks. A very pretty gift book. [Transcriber’s note: The “former volume” probably is Parley’s Present for All Seasons, reviewed above.]

Christian Examiner, 58 (January 1855): 151-152. Ed. George Putnam & G. E. Ellis.

Faggots for the Fireside; or, Fact and Fancy. By Peter Parley. Illustrated by Engravings. New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1855. 12mo. pp. 320.

Before this pleasant book for children can receive any notice from us, it will have been put into the hands of hundreds of children, and will have been pronounced by them a most attractive and satisfactory Christmas gift. Peter Parley, however, does not need that any one should sound a trumpet before him. His praise is in all the nurseries, and every one who has found rest in his dwelling whilst one of his books kept a restless little mortal for the space of a whole hour in one place, will be ready to say to him, Serus in cœlum! Besides “The Children of the [p. 152] Sun,” a tale of some hundred and thirty pages long, the book contains ten shorter stories, which are instructive in matter and agreeable in manner, with prologue and epilogue in rhyme. The illustrations are spirited and well executed, the type and paper of a sort that can do no harm to eyes that may have a service of threescore years before them, and the binding very tasteful, all of which was to be looked for as a matter of course from D. Appleton & Co.

Recollections of a Lifetime, 1856 [all reviews]

The National Era, 10 (18 December 1856): 201.

Knickerbocker, 49 (February 1857): 198-199.

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