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. : To which is added, a little song-book, being a new attempt to teach children the use of the English alphabet, by way of diversion.

Accession number: 
PML 88064
Printed at Worcester, Massachusetts. : By Isaiah Thomas, and sold, wholesale and retail, at his bookstore., MDCCLXXXVII. [1787]
122, [2] p. : ill. ; 12cm. (8vo)
Gift of Julia P. Wightman; 1991.

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.


First Worcester edition.
Signatures: [A]⁸ B-H⁸ ([A]1 recto, H7, H8 blank).
Frontispiece: "Instruction with delight."
Bookseller's advertisements, p. [123-124].
Only copy reported with its original ball and silk pouch.
Contains one of the earliest descriptions of baseball, with woodcut.

Publisher's printed boards. In blue-green half-morocco case by Julia P. Wightman dated 1977.
From the collection of Julia P. Wightman.