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Students and their families bought their own schoolbooks. Teachers taught the subjects from the books each child brought. Spellers, readers and arithmetic books were most common, followed by geography books like this one by Roswell Smith. The question and answer system, or catechism, Smith used was common to schoolbooks of the period. Students learned by memorizing the answer to each question exactly as it appeared in the book. When Jedediah Morse wrote the first American geography in 1784, he included only two maps, but Smith's geography had maps and pictures. It also provided information on countries and cultures around the world.