Orbis Pictus, Object Books & Picture Dictionaries

Livre D'Images

LIVRE D'IMAGES. By J. Staub. Zurich: J. Staub & Kochll [ca. 1876].
Lithograph illustrations, color printed. Written in German, this is a French translation for the use of families and infant schools. The color lithographs, many of them double spreads, are of various subjects with notations below. Exhibit checklist L.50 (View this item)

The Object Primer; With 492 Cuts

THE OBJECT PRIMER; WITH 492 CUTS. E Hazen. Philadelphia: Fisher & Brother; Baltimore: Fisher & Denison, n. d.
Woodcut illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 17.2 (View this item)

Pictorial Definer

PICTORIAL DEFINER, By Elizabeth Oram. New York: J.C. Riker, 1845. Stereotyped by Redfield & Savage. Part II.
Woodcut illustrations, uncolored. The preface of this book refers to the teaching profession as "the least regarded of all useful occupations." This perhaps explains the numerous efforts to make the job easier by coming up with "new" teaching methods. Several testimonials by educators praise Miss Oram's picture dictionary as a promising tool based on John Locke's dictum on the Abuse of Words: "Things which the eye distinguishes by their shapes, would be best let into the mind by drawings made of them...." (From title page). This copy has been covered by a former owner in checked gingham to protect the original binding of leather-backed paper covered boards. Exhibit checklist 17.3 (View this item)

Little Child's Home ABC Book

LITTLE CHILD'S HOME ABC BOOK. New York: McLoughlin Bros., n. d.
Relief illustrations, color printed. Shows "A" through "Y", "Z" didn't fit and was not included! Exhibit checklist 17.4 (View this item)

A Picture Dictionary For Children

A PICTURE DICTIONARY FOR CHILDREN. By Garnette Watters & S. A. Courtis. NY: Grosset & Dunlap, 1939.
Relief illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 17.7 (View this item)

M'Carty's American Primer

M'CARTY'S AMERICAN PRIMER. Philadelphia: Published and sold by M'Carty & Davis, 1828.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist L.98 (View this item)

Joh. Amos Comenii Orbis Sensualium Pictus

JOH. AMOS COMENII ORBIS SENSUALIUM PICTUS. By Johann Amos Comenius. London: Printed for S. Leacroft, 1777. 12th edition, corrected and enlarged.
Woodcut illustrations, uncolored. Latin was the language of scholars, the professions and the law courts and therefore necessary for further learning. The first American edition of this famous book was published in 1810 and was copied from this 12th English edition. Exhibit checklist L.99 (View this item)

Orbis Sensualium Pictus

ORBIS SENSUALIUM PICTUS. ENGLISH 12TH EDITION. Printed for S. Leacroft, 1777. In English, translated by Charles Hoole, and Latin.
Woodcut illustrations, uncolored. This is the edition from which first American was modeled and is "for the use of young Latin scholars".
ORBIS SENSUALIUM PICTUS or A WORLD OF THINGS OBVIOUS TO THE SENSES DRAWN IN PICTURES. By Joh. Amos Comenius, first published in Latin and High Dutch, 1658, translated into English Charles Hoole in 1659.
Neither edition is on display here.

Johann Amos Comenius is known as the father of the modern picture book. He was born in Eastern Europe in what is now known as Czechoslovakia in 1592 and served as a bishop in the Church of the Brethren. His life was one of trials and tribulations but in 1651 he took over the running of a grammar school where he sought to practice his educational ideas. When he arrived, he found both his teachers and the students woefully unschooled so he devised to write a book "which even the most unlettered child could use and one which would facilitate the work of the most unskilled pedagogue."

His ORBIS SENSUALIUM PICTUS was just such a book in which pictures introduced students to objects through their senses, then to the words that gave meaning to those objects. It was his belief that the learning of the language would lead to the reform of society, the unification of the churches and ultimately world peace—a theory he called pansophy. In 1856, he sent the manuscript of his book to Nuremberg where it was published two years later with 150 woodcuts carefully worked by Michael Endter from the designs of Paul Kreutzberger. It ultimately became the most popular schoolbook in all of Europe. It continued to be published well into the 19th century with the final known edition published in 1845. Since then, there have been several facsimiles of the first English edition published. Exhibit checklist 18.4 (View this item)