Peter Parley

Samuel Goodrich was born in Ridgefield, Connecticut, the 6th of ten children, the son of a minister, in 1793. His career as a book publisher began in 1816. In the early 1820s Goodrich came to the conclusion that children as well as adults preferred to read truth rather than fancy and that it would be possible to present truth—history, geography, science, etc.— in such a way that it would be more interesting to children than fairies, giants and monsters. Based on this conclusion Goodrich moved his business to Boston and Peter Parley was born in 1827 with PETER PARLEY'S TALES ABOUT AMERICA. It was written for youth seven to thirteen. Many of Parley's "facts" are of questionable accuracy ("Laplanders ask the advice of black cats" and "Peter the Great once worked as a carpenter to learn how to build ships"). Interspersed with these "facts" is a liberal sprinkling of moral preaching. There were also sprinklings of Goodrich's prejudices and biases ("the Chinese are ignorant and superstitious").

Goodrich expanded his publishing efforts to textbooks and magazines. His publications were so popular that he attracted imposters, particularly in England. Spurious Peter Parleys appeared everywhere, infuriating Goodrich, but he did not succeed in putting an end to them. The frontispieces of most of the books are portraits of the author in varying states of health. Although he is depicted as an older man he was in fact a young man in the 1820s and 1830s.

The First Book of History for Children and Youth

THE FIRST BOOK OF HISTORY FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH. By Samuel Goodrich. Boston, Carter, Hendee, and Co., 1833. Printed by the Brattleboro Power Press Office. Title page date 1833; cover date 1834.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.1 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Method of Telling About Geography To Children

PETER PARLEY'S METHOD OF TELLING ABOUT GEOGRAPHY TO CHILDREN. By Samuel Goodrich. Hartford: H. and F.J. Huntington; Boston, Carter and Hendee; Philadelphia, Towar J. And D.M. Hogan; Baltimore, Plaskitt and Co.; Washington, P. Thompson, 1830.
Intaglio illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.2 (View this item)

Parley's Magazine

PARLEY'S MAGAZINE. Vol. 1 no. 1-26. By Samuel Goodrich. Philadelphia: Adam Waldie, 1833-4.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Beginning March 16, 1833 and published every two weeks, this magazine of 16 pages was compiled into a single volume after one year by Lilly, Wait and Company in Boston, Colman, Holden & Co. in Portland, and Adam Waldie in Philadelphia. Exhibit checklist 13.3 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Annual for 1875

PETER PARLEY'S ANNUAL FOR 1875. By Samuel Goodrich. London: Ben. George, 1875.
Relief illustrations, printed "in oil". Gift of Mary Lytle, 1943. Exhibit checklist 13.5 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Primer

PETER PARLEY'S PRIMER. By Samuel Goodrich. Philadelphia: Henry F. Anners, 1837.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.7 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Tales About Ancient and Modern Greece

PETER PARLEY'S TALES ABOUT ANCIENT AND MODERN GREECE. By Samuel Goodrich. Philadelphia, Desilver, Thomas & Co., 1836.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.9 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Visit to London, During the Coronation of Queen Victoria

Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Original decorated publisher's cloth binding with Portrait of the Queen in gold on front cover. Exhibit checklist 13.10 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Tales About Asia

PETER PARLEY'S TALES ABOUT ASIA. By Samuel Goodrich. Boston: Carter & Hendee, 1833.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.11 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Winter Evening Tales

PETER PARLEY'S WINTER EVENING TALES. By Samuel Goodrich. Boston: Carter & Hendee, 1829. 3rd ed.
Wood engraved illustrations, hand colored. Exhibit checklist 13.12 (View this item)

Fireside Stories

FIRESIDE STORIES. By Samuel Goodrich. London: Darton and Co., [1848].
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. 1849 inscription. Publisher's decorated cloth binding with gold stamped cover. Exhibit checklist 13.13 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Christmas Tales

PETER PARLEY'S CHRISTMAS TALES. By Samuel Goodrich. New York: Samuel Colman, 1838.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Inscribed first edition. Exhibit checklist 13.15 (View this item)

Peter Parley's Book of Curiosities, Natural and Artificial

PETER PARLEY'S BOOK OF CURIOSITIES, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL. By Samuel Goodrich. Boston: Carter, Hendee, and Co., 1832.
Wood engraved illustrations, uncolored. Exhibit checklist 13.17 (View this item)