McGuffey and his Readers

Cover of McGuffeys First Eclectic ReaderMcGuffey's Eclectic First Reader

McGuffey's house was conveniently located. The campus was just across the street, and it was only a short walk to the entrance of the college building which faced Spring Street. On the southwest corner of the second floor of that building was McGuffey's classroom. The present Harrison Hall stands on the site of the original "college edifice".

McGuffey wrote and compiled his first four Readers in his new home. They were made up of his own writings, clippings from periodicals, and selections from standard works. The famous octagonal table at which he compiled his Readers, his classroom table, his secretary, and a few other pieces of his furniture are again housed in the old home. Through the generosity of Mrs. Emma Gould Blocker, the house has been restored and is maintained by the Blocker Foundation. The west. wing, which contains the McGuffey Library was added to the house in 1860 by its owner at that time, J. H. Shuey. The old frame house has long since been removed.

Standing on the little portico at the north door, McGuffey assembled the children of the neighborhood for regular reading classes. In his dining room he tested his original theories about teaching children. He noted the pieces they liked best and carefully watched their pronunciation. He seemed to love and understand children.

Text by Dr. William E. Smith, 1973

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