“READ AND BE WISE”: PHILADELPHIA PRINTED BATTLEDORE, CIRCA 1810
(BATTLEDORE). The Uncle’s Present, A New Battledoor. Philadelphia: Published by Jacob Johnson, sold by Benjamin Warner, circa 1810. 12mo (4 by 6-1/2 inches), four leaves printed on thick stock, the first and last pasted down to the original olive paper covers, as issued, folded wallet-style flap, as issued; pp. (4). $1750.
Early Philadelphia-printed battledore, with 24 letters of the alphabet illustrated with a small woodcut depicting one of the Cries of London, in the original covers with two additional woodcuts and three versions of the alphabet.
“The battledore was an offshoot of the hornbook, and was printed on the double fold of stiff cardboard with the extra piece folded over in order to fit it for the double purpose it had to serve. In school it was used for teaching children the alphabet, whilst out of school it served as the racket in the game of shuttlecock and battledore” (Rosenbach 428). “The wording on them varied greatly, but the alphabet featured prominently, and, unlike the horn-books, entertainment was usually aimed at as well as instruction; there were often illustrations” (Carpenter & Prichard, 49-50). This early American battledore features the cries of London street vendors selling their wares. “The Cries illustrating the alphabet are a very pretty set, and are probably an early set of Newcastle or York Cries by Bewick. They include ‘Newcastle Salmon’; ‘Yorkshire Cakes, muffin or crumpet’; and ‘Great News in the London Gazette.’ The letters J and U are omitted in order to have 24 letters for the 24 compartments” (Carpenter & Prichard). Rosenbach 428. Welch 1363.
Bottom edge trimmed closely. A beautiful copy.