The Riverside Reader's First Reader co-edited by Willhelmina Seegmiller and James Hixon Van Sickle

The Riverside Reader's First Reader co-edited by Willhelmina Seegmiller and James Hixon Van Sickle

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The Riverside Reader's First Reader is divided into seven “story groups” or chapters. Each group contains selections from celebrated authors, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Gabriel Rossetti, and Alfred Lord Tennyson. Also reproduced are children’s nursery rhymes and fairytales. The book contains many colored illustrations. There is a vocabulary list at the end. It is 128 pages in length.
The brown front cover is imprinted with a boy reading under a tree and next to a stream. The rear cover features a rectangle containing a tree with the publisher’s initials “HMCO”. The inside front and back covers contain floral images and a Middle Eastern-style lamp. There is also an image of a Pan-like boy blowing on two flutes. An inscription shows that the book belonged to Galen Kyle.
The team of Van Sickle, Seegmiller and Jenkins worked on the entire series of Riverside Readers, including The Riverside Reader Primer; The Riverside Reader: First Reader; The Riverside Reader: Second Reader; The Riverside Reader: Third Reader; The Riverside Reader: Fourth Reader; The Riverside Reader: Fifth Reader; The Riverside Reader: Sixth Reader; The Riverside Reader: Seventh Reader; The Riverside Reader: Eighth Reader and Journeys in Story-land.
Co-editor Willhelmina Seegmiller (1866-1913) was the Director of Art for the Indianapolis Public Schools. She also served as principal of the Wealthy Avenue School in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Seegmiller edited books on drawing and poetry for the elementary grades.
Co-editor James Hixon Van Sickle (1852-1926) was the Superintendent of Schools in Springfield, Massachusetts. He was the pioneering reformer and Superintendent of Public Education in Baltimore (1900-1911) and a frequently at odds with the mayor over education reform. He wrote numerous books including Number Applications, Provision for Exception Children in Public Schools, and several survey reports for public schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Frances Jenkins (d.1943) is credited with assisting in the development of the readers. She was the Supervisor of the Elementary Grades in the Public Schools of Decatur, Illinois. She later became an assistant professor in the education department of the University of Cincinnati and was widely known for her development of modern reading methods for children.
Maginel Wright Enright (1881–1966) was a children's book illustrator and graphic artist. She was the younger sister of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Henry Oscar Houghton (1823-1895), a printer and one-time mayor of Cambridge, Massachusetts, partnered with George Mifflin in 1880 to found Houghton, Mifflin and Company. The company established an educational department and became one of the largest publishers of educational materials, including textbooks, standardized tests, and testing materials for well over a century. Houghton Mifflin furthered its dominance of the textbook market by purchasing the educational publishing operations of Rand McNally & Company in 1980 and acquiring D.C. Health and Company in 1995. Houghton Mifflin also purchased Harcourt Education in 2007. HMH filed for bankruptcy in 2014 and has emerged as a stable publishing house once more under new management.
Object Name
Object Type
Date made
Houghton Mifflin Company
place made
United States: Massachusetts, Boston
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 7 3/4 in x 5 1/2 in x 1/2 in; 19.685 cm x 13.97 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Credit Line
The Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection
See more items in
Cultural and Community Life: Education
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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