Turner & Fisher’s Infant Primer. Philadelphia & New York: Turner & Fisher; Boston: J. Fisher; Baltimore: H. Turner, ca. 1843-1849.
Multi-city firm Turner & Fisher was a major American picture book publisher in the 1840s and the look of firm’s output is similar to that of its competitor McLoughlin Brothers in the 1850s. Turner & Fisher issued hundreds of children’s titles, mainly in either the small rectangular format of the chapbook or the larger square size seen here.
This title page wood-engraving features a compact view of a school room, with a male teacher listening to three standing schoolboys recite. Boys are seated at desks on the top row, while a group of girls are cordoned off to the right. Most of the children appear to be reading, but one girl clearly has a pen in her hand, reflecting the acceptance of writing as a literacy function taught to girls – not always a given a century prior in Colonial America.