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William McGuffey (1800-1873)
William Holmes McGuffey was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Ohio with his family when he was two years old. He became a teacher as a young man. It was during these years he realized that there were not many books for young students.
He started collecting stories from a variety of authors and also writing stories for young readers that he would publish in his McGuffey Readers. These readers taught children to respect the United States Government and the economic system. They also helped form moral ideas and literary tastes. It is said that nearly all American children learned to read from them between 1836 and 1960 when a total of 122 million copies were sold.
McGuffey was not only a teacher, but became a college professor and later a college president. He was also ordained as a Presbyterian minister.
Cornell School has classroom sets of reproduced McGuffey Readers. They are used for reading and elocution lessons by the schoolmarms.
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