Foundational revised Elson-Gray reader: the first edition to include the characters of Dick and Jane.
ELSON BASIC READERS PRE-PRIMER [with Dick and Jane]
"At the turn of the century, American textbooks were full of words. Excerpts from literature or Bible stories preached moralistic values, largely without the help of illustrations. By the 1920s, publisher Scott Foresman and Company's Elson Readers, edited by reading authority William Gray, had reversed the equation. Big, colorful illustrations told their own stories, and the words with the pictures were simpler and fewer." – Kismaric and Heiferman
The Elson readers were already an established series before Zerna Sharp conceived of the characters of Dick and Jane. In 1927, Elson revised its THE ELSON PUPIL'S HAND CHART (1921) and renamed it THE ELSON BASIC READERS PRE-PRIMER. Neither of those feature Dick and Jane. In their history of Dick and Jane, Kismaric and Heiferman give the context of the characters' conception by Zerna Sharp: "A reading consultant for Scott Foresman, Sharp believed that children would read even better if they identified with the characters in the illustrations and read words that sounded familiar. She has been listening to kids carefully – how they used a limited vocabulary, spoke with uninhibited energy and repeated words for emphasis." This new edition from 1930 was the first to introduce Sharp's ideas and concepts, beginning with an introduction to Dick: "See Dick. See Dick run." The popularity of the series steadily rose, perfectly timed with the post-war baby boom of the '40s and early '50s: by the mid-1950s, 80% of American first graders were being taught with the Dick and Jane curriculum (Kismaric and Heiferman). In dominating the reading education of an entire generation, Dick and Jane have become cultural icons and central figures in popular Americana.
Read more: Kismaric and Heiferman, Growing Up with Dick and Jane.
[Chicago]: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1930. 7.25'' x 5.25''. Original green pictorial wrappers with orange and black highlights and original black cloth-reinforced spine. Illustrated in color by Miriam Story Hurford on every page except final word list. 40 pages. Blue penciled owner names of two girls on rear wrapper verso. Sliver of marginal stain at fore-edge/corner, a couple spots of soil. Some edgewear to wrappers.
The Fine Print
We work hard to meet our ethical responsibilty to describe our material accurately. All items are guaranteed as described and may be returned for any reason within 30 days. Please notify us before mailing a return.
We guarantee the authenticity of our items. All items are original (meaning not facsimiles or reproductions), first editions (i.e. first printings), unless otherwise noted. TPM is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America and upholds their Code of Ethics.
All items subject to prior sale. Domestic orders over $250 and international orders over $500 ship gratis. We use USPS unless otherwise requested. Expedited, overnight, or international shipping, as well as other carriers, may carry additional costs beyond quoted rates. All orders receive tracking information and a direct contact in case of any questions.
We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, Venmo, check, money order, and bank wire. We are happy to accomodate institutional buyers' needs. Sales tax will be added to applicable purchases.
If for any reason you are dissatisfied with your purchase, please contact us. We prioritize our long-term relationships far above any individual purchase, and we want you to love your item as much as we loved cataloguing it.