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"New England Primer"
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The first settlers of New England brought primers with them from England where they had been in use for over a hundred years. Primers, also known as catechisms, began as devotional books containing simple instructions in Christian knowledge. Such books typically contained an illustrated alphabet along with informative pictures and stories with a heavy dose of moralism. This example includes both Biblical (e.g., Zacheus) and modern references (Washington). Even in this late edition, the Puritan preoccupation with death was impressed on young readers.
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