The Education Library of the University Libraries began collecting textbooks in 1968. Donations were solicited and members of the Friends of the Libraries made the pursuit of these books a hobby. The collection was housed in several locations and eventually became part of Special Collections.
The volumes date from 1770-1929. Most were published in the centers of textbook production–New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Cincinnati–but cities across the country are also represented.
The books are useful today as a survey of pedagogical methods and contents as well as a portrayal of the American popular mind of the day. Values, morals, and religious piety were imparted in addition to the subjects covered in the books. Ideologies supporting the superiority of certain nations and races, concepts which are anathema today, were expounded.
Works by familiar authors such as William Holmes McGuffy, Charles W. Sanders, Lindley Murray, Charles A. Goodrich, and Samuel G. Goodrich abound in the collection, which is supplemented by the microfiche collection American Primers, which has a guide available.
Holdings: 950 volumes
All titles are cataloged and available through MERLIN, the University's online catalog. The collection can be searched in MERLIN through the heading Historic Textbook Collection (University of Missouri–Columbia. Libraries) . The collection does not circulate.