The New England Primer was the first reading primer designed in the American colonies. It is considered one of the most successful textbooks of the 18th century and continued with improved editions into the 19th century. Alphabet verses teaching morality lessons concerning good and evil comprise much of the book. Many of the teachings can be found from the King James Bible as well as Puritan ideals. Secular alphabet passages came later. The New England Primer also contained a catechism with questions and answers about faith and prayers. First published by Benjamin Harris in 1686 in Boston, the book was found in many homes along with the Bible. Modeled after British primers that had been created to educate the illiterate during the Reformation, this primer was nicknamed "The Little Bible of New England" and was used in early colonial schools such as Boston Latin School. Versions varied locally with the selection of lessons, and publisher and bookseller advertisements were included in many.
This is a 71 page hand bound edition published in 1808 and later reprinted in 1822 by Peter Brynberg (1755?-1816). Brynberg had a bookstore in Wilmington, Delaware. He published the Christian Repository and the Wilmington Gazette 1791-1799 with partner Samuel Andrews), and printed educational and religious books. His business was at Fourth and Shipley Streets.
Most primers were small to fit in a child's hand; this one is 3 5/8 inches x 3 inches. Unfortunately missing its hardcover and part of the last page, which has an inscription in verse and a signature of the owner from 1822. It has black block illustrations to accompany the morality lessons and the alphabet verses.