12 May 2011

Who is William McGuffey?

Most of us recognize the name. But how much do we know about the man. After using the McGuffey Readers in our home for 20+ years I thought it was time to educate myself on him. Much of what I found out was no surprise, but at the same it was all very interesting.

It all began as a mother's heartfelt prayers for her children. Her prayers for the education of her children were not only heard by God but also by a passerby who also heard her fervent, faithful prayer for her children to be educated. It just happened that Reverend Thomas Hughes was out scouting for students to join his school. Old Stone Academy. He joined the school when he was 14 years old. It was all uphill from there as the timeline of his life will tell us.

After completing his schooling with Old Stone Academy he desired a college education. He became an ordained minister at Washington College in Pennsylvania. During 1825-26 he began teaching in Paris, Kentucky in order to earn and safe money to complete his studies. During this time the president of Miami University in Ohio, Robert H. Bishop offered him a job as a professor of ancient languages. By 1829 he became minister of a Presbyterian church.

He was a natural born teacher and leader and that coupled with his studies is what eventually led him to the writing of the Readers. Publishers Truman and Smith needed a set of readers to be created for elementary students and asked William to write them.

McGuffey served as the Professor of Moral Philosophy at the University of Virginia. Which, if you have read the readers come as no surprise. The McGuffey Readers were read and studied by many leading men such as Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt, and Henry Ford to name a few. His desire in accomplishing the task of the readers was to impart patriotism, virtue, morality, a love for God and anything good to all who read them. His hope was to build Godly character in our nation's children which would in turn build character into our nation as a whole. William McGuffey died in 1873 but his legacy lives on today and are found in each page of the classic McGuffey Readers.


The Angulo's said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting info. I have been a little bit curious about the McGuffey Readers. I wonder if it is still being printed or if I could find used ones somewhere.

blessedmom's simple home said...

We've used the McGuffey readers too. I didn't know the background though. Thanks for sharing.