Meddlesome Mattie and Other Selections From McGuffey's Readers edited by Edith Dickson

Meddlesome Mattie and Other Selections From McGuffey's Readers edited by Edith Dickson

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Meddlesome Mattie and Other Selections from McGuffey's Readers contains 31 short readings and poems selected from McGuffey's 1st - 4th Readers (originally published between 1844-1857). The stories were intended to teach moral lessons as well, (e.g. "The Little Idler;" "The Kind Little Girl;" and "Waste Not, Want Not”.) Editor Edith Dickson explains: "The McGuffey Readers were used in most of the schools of the U.S. outside of New England for more than sixty years....These stories formed the habits of thought, speech and action of millions of children for many years."
This 57 page anthology includes a number of black and white illustrations from the original woodcuts. Both the front and back of the green hard cover feature a black and white illustration of a girl (Meddlesome Mattie) seated in a high-backed chair with an open book on a nearby table. Meddlesome Mattie or Matty is a naughty character in the poem written by Ann Taylor and first published in 1804-1805 in Original Poems for Infant Minds. The torn green paper book jacket features the same illustration of the girl on its front; reprints part of the editor's introduction on the back; and advertises other books from the publisher on the inside flaps. The front and back inside cover pages contain green and white woodcut illustrations from the stories of (1) two cats eyeing a monkey holding a scale; and (2) a young boy hugging his large dog while sitting on the ground. The inside front cover is stamped “Madeira School English Reference.” The Madeira School is a private, college preparatory school for girls located in McLean, Virginia, which was founded in 1906.
Edith Dickson (1855-1931) was the daughter of attorney Joseph H. Dickson and his wife Mary. She became a teacher and English tutor prior to attending college, and graduated 1885 with an A.B. She taught at Oberlin 1887-1902 and was a librarian at Conservatory of Music for Oberlin College. She also was President of the Ohio Women’s Suffrage Association, and as a senior was an insurance agent.
The firm that became Harper & Brothers was established in New York in 1817, first called J. & J. Harper until the founding brothers James and John were joined by their younger brothers and the name was changed in 1833. The firm led the early industrialization of book publishing and shaped American mass culture with the creation and widespread distribution of Harper's New Monthly Magazine and Harper's Weekly in the 1850s. The company had its greatest influence in the three decades after the Civil War, when Harper textbooks became a mainstay in schools and homes. The name again changed to Harper & Row, upon its merger with Row, Peterson & Company of in 1962. Following other mergers and reorganizations, the firm continues today as HarperCollins, one of the largest publishing houses in the world.
Object Name
date made
Harper & Brothers
place made
United States: New York, New York City
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
ink (overall material)
overall: 6 3/4 in x 5 in x 1/2 in; 17.145 cm x 12.7 cm x 1.27 cm
ID Number
nonaccession number
catalog number
Credit Line
Gift of Dr. Richard Lodish American School Collection
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Cultural and Community Life: Education
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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