The Elementary New Spelling-Book,
Being an Improvement on the Latest Revised Edition

By Noah Webster, Osaka, Seikizenkwan, 1887

 

 
Webster, Noah:
The Elementary New Spelling Book, Being an Improvement on the The Latest Revised Edition, Osaka, Sekizenkwan, Meiji 20 (1887), 12mo (5 1/4 x 7 1/2 in - 13 x 19 cm), entirely in English except for a Japanese language colophon, white printed paper covered cardboard boards, red linen tape type spine covering, text printed using metal type, no illustrations, 114 pp. Normally the cover and title page to these books read "The Elementary Spelling-Book, Being an Improvement on the American Spelling-Book, the Latest Revised Edition" but in this printing the word "New" has been added after "Elementary" and the words "American Spelling-Book" have been omitted.. The front cover and title page both carry "Book-Seller, Sekizenkwan, Osaka, Japan" and the year 1887. Pages 21-28 are not present and appear to have been omitted in error. These books normally have a total of 152 lessons spanning 174 pages. This book stops at page 114 which is the end of lesson 101. Further, eight numbered pages are missing. The missing pages (pages 21-28) cover parts of lessons 21 and 28 and all of lessons 22-27. The back cover of the book lists "Approved School Books" and approximately half appear to be Japanese text books written in English. This type of spelling book was originally published in the United States and I have seen with several different imprints which include the American Book Company, New York, and D. Appleton & Co, New York. Numerous editions of the Webster's "Speller" were published starting in 1786. The "Elementary Spelling" book first appeared in the United States in the late 1820 and came to be know popularly as the "Blue-Backed Speller." The revised edition was first sold in the United States in the late 1850s. This book contains a preface remark dated in 1880. This book is an example of how Japan was eagerly embracing Western language, culture and technology in the years during the Meiji restoration.

 
Title Page.

 
Colophon (in Japanese).

 
Representative Pages.

 


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