McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader
William Holmes McGuffey
15:09 h
Level 6
McGuffey Readers were a series of graded primers for grade levels 1-6. They were widely used as textbooks in American schools from the mid-19th century to the early-20th century, and are still used today in homeschooling. The series consisted of stories, poems, essays, and speeches. The advanced Readers contained excerpts from the works of well-regarded English and American writers and politicians such as Lord Byron, John Milton, and Daniel Webster. In the SIXTH READER, the general plan of the revision of McGUFFEY’S SERIES has been carefully carried out to completion.

McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader

William Holmes McGuffey

She sits, inclining forward as to speak,
Her lips half-open, and her finger up,
As though she said, “Beware!”


In the SIXTH READER, the general plan of the revision of McGUFFEY’S SERIEShas been carefully carried out to completion.

That plan has been to retain, throughout, those characteristic features ofMcGUFFEY’S READERS, which have made the series so popular, and causedtheir widespread use throughout the schools of the country. At the sametime, the books have been enlarged; old pieces have been exchanged for newwherever the advantage was manifest; and several new features have beenincorporated, which it is thought will add largely to the value of theseries.

In the revision of the SIXTH READER, the introductory matter has beenretained with but little change, and it will he found very valuable forelocutionary drill. In the preparation of this portion of the work, freeuse was made of the writings of standard authors upon Elocution, such asWalker, McCulloch, Sheridan Knowles, Ewing, Pinnock, Scott, Bell, Graham,Mylins, Wood, Rush, and many others.

In making up the Selections for Reading, great care and deliberation have been exercised. The best pieces of the old book are retained in the REVISED SIXTH, and to these has been added a long list of selections from the best English and American literature. Upwards of one hundred leading authors are represented (see “Alphabetical List. of Authors,” page ix), and thus a wide range of specimens of the best style has been secured. Close scrutiny revealed the fact that many popular selections common to several series of Readers, had been largely adapted, but in McGUFFEY’S REVISED READERS, wherever it was possible to do so, the selections have been compared, and made to conform strictly with the originals as they appear in the latest editions authorized by the several writers.

The character of the selections, aside from their elocutionary value, hasalso been duly considered. It will be found, upon examination, that theypresent the same instructive merit and healthful moral tone which gave thepreceding edition its high reputation.

Two new features of the REVISED SIXTH deserve especial attention — theexplanatory notes, and the biographical notices of authors. The first, inthe absence of a large number of books of reference, are absolutelynecessary, in some cases, for the intelligent reading of the piece; and itis believed that in all cases they will add largely to the interest andusefulness of the lessons.

The biographical notices, if properly used, are hardly of less value thanthe lessons themselves. They have been carefully prepared, and areintended not only to add to the interest of the pieces, but to supplyinformation usually obtained only by the separate study of English andAmerican literature.

The illustrations of the REVISED SIXTH READER are presented as specimensof fine art. They are the work of the best artists and engravers thatcould be secured for the purpose in this country. The names of thesegentlemen may be found on page ten.

The publishers would here repeat their acknowledgments to the numerousfriends and critics who have kindly assisted in the work of revision, andwould mention particularly President EDWIN C. HEWETT, of the State NormalUniversity, Normal, Illinois, and the HON. THOMAS W. HARVEY, ofPainesville, Ohio, who have had the revision of the SIXTH READER undertheir direct advice.

Especial acknowledgment is due to Messrs. Houghton, Osgood & Co., fortheir permission to make liberal selections from their copyright editionsof many of the foremost American authors whose works they publish.

January, 1880.