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A Little Pretty Pocket-Book image

A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy, and Pretty Miss Polly.
With Two Letters from Jack the Giant-Killer; as also a Ball and Pincushion; the use of which Will Infallibly Make Tommy a Good Boy, and Polly a Good Girl . . .The First Worcester edition
Worcester, Mass.: Isaiah Thomas, 1787
Gift of Julia P. Wightman, 1991
JPW 5765
See CORSAIR catalog record for this item »

First published around 1744, the Little Pretty Pocket-Book was a pioneering attempt to blend amusement and instruction for children. The early editions have all disappeared, but there is an incomplete tenth edition (1760) in the British Library, and this American reprint is fairly common (although highly coveted as the first American book to mention baseball). To our knowledge, this is the only copy to have an original or early version of the combination ball and pincushion, an accessory a guardian could use to keep a running tally of good and bad behavior. Ten pins on one side brought a penny reward; ten on the other could mean ten strokes of the rod.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.