Apologues, prayers and more: pre-revolutionary ABC books

January 7

The ABC came a long way to become the very first book of a pupil. The 19th century saw multiple versions of the ABC. Copies of such books were preserved in the Moscow Glavarchiv.

For instance in “ABC Adapted to the Gradual Development of Children's Concepts” of 1836, each letter is accompanied by explanations of its sounding and spelling, and a special section with stories about objects, plants and animals beginning with the certain letter. The ABC contains pictures and even moral fables.

You can also see a handwritten version of the ABC by lieutenant of the Moscow Infantry Regiment Platon Makarov. He compiled it in 1847. “ABC for Peasant Children Adapted to their Concepts” was not allowed to be published. A book with beautiful colored pictures drawn by the author could teach children to read and write, get them acquainted with "information necessary for a peasant", and teach them "how to be a good Christian and a good peasant" as well.

“The Russian ABC with Pictures for Each Letter, Borrowed from the National History, Close to the Heart of Every Russian” of 1854, is also among the valuable copies. Most of the book, except for prayers and moral fables, was dedicated to apologues, facts from the Russian history. All of them have pictures. Capital and small letters are presented here, as well as the spelling of syllables, but not as much as texts.

“The Russian ABC with the addition of prayers, the Ten Commandments, a brief sacred history, apologues, thoughts and arithmetic” of 1861 became close to the modern one. It contained letters, syllables, numbers, rules of arithmetic, and then there were texts — prayers, various apologues in verse mainly by Ivan Krylov.

Source: mos.ru

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