作者： (美国) 威廉•H•麦加菲
William Holmes McGuffey (September 23, 1800 – May 4, 1873) was an American professor and college president who is best known for writing the McGuffey Readers, one of the nation's first and most widely used series of textbooks. It is estimated that at least 122 million copies of McGuffey Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster's Dictionary.
He was born the son of Alexander and Anna (Holmes) McGuffey near Claysville in Washington County, Pennsylvania, which is 45 miles southwest of Pittsburgh. In 1802 the McGuffey family moved further out into the frontier at Tuscarawas County, Ohio. He attended country school, and after receiving special instruction at Youngstown, he attended Greersburg Academy in Darlington, Pennsylvania. Afterwards, he attended and graduated from Pennsylvania's Washington College, where he became an instructor.
He was close friends with Washington College's President Andrew Wylie and lived in Wylie's house for a time; they often would walk the 3 miles to Washington College together.
McGuffey's house in OxfordMcGuffey left Washington College in 1826 to become a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. A year later in 1827, he was married to Harriet Spinning of Dayton, Ohio, with whom he had five children. In 1829, he was ordained at Bethel Chapel as a minister in the Presbyterian Church. It was in Oxford that he created the most important contribution of his life: The McGuffey Readers. His books sold over 122 million copies. He was very fond of teaching and children as he geared the books toward a younger audience.
In 1836, he left Miami to become president of Cincinnati College, where he also served as a distinguished teacher and lecturer. He left Cincinnati in 1839 to become the 4th president of Ohio University, which he left in 1843 to become president of Woodward College (really a secondary school) in Cincinnati.
In 1845, McGuffey moved to Charlottesville, Virginia where he became Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia. A year after his first wife Harriet died in 1850, he married Miss Laura Howard, daughter of Dean Howard of the University of Virginia, in 1851. McGuffey is buried in the university burial ground, in Charlottesville, Virginia. The School of Education at Miami University is housed in McGuffey Hall which is named for him and his home in Oxford is a National Historic Landmark offering tours on weekdays.
LESSON 6 SMILES
1. Poor lame Jennie sat at her window, looking out upon the dismal1,narrow street, with a look of pain and weariness on her face. “Oh, dear,” she said with a sigh, “what a long day this is going to be,” and she looked wishfully up the street.
2. Suddenly she leaned forward and pressed her pale face against the glass, as a rosy-checked boy came racing down the street, swinging his schoolbooks by the strap. Looking up to the window, he took off his hat and bowed with a bright, pleasant smile.
3. “What a nice boy he is,” said Jennie to herself, as he ran out of sight. “I am so glad he goes by here on his way to school. When he smiles, it seems like having the sun shine. I wish everybody who goes by would look up and smile.”
4. “Mamma,” said George West, as he came from school, “I can’t help thinking about that poor little girl I told you of the other day. She looks so tired. I took off my hat and bowed to her to-day. I wish I could do something for her,”
5. “Suppose you should carry her a handful of pretty flowers some time when you go to school,” said Mrs. West. “I’ll do that to-morrow morning,” said George, “if I can find my way into that rickety3 old house.”
6. The next morning, as Jennie sat leaning her head wearily against the window, watching the raindrops chasing one another down the glass, she spied George with a handful of beautiful flowers carefully picking his way across the street. He stopped in front of her window, and, smiling very pleasantly, said, “How shall I find the way to your room?”
7. Jennie pointed to an alley near by, where he turned in, and with some difficulty found his way to the dingy1 staircase. Opening the door to Jennie’s gentle “Come in,” he said, “I have brought you a handful of flowers to look at this rainy day.”
8. “Are they for me?” exclaimed Jennie, clapping her hands in delight. “How kind you are,” she continued, as George laid them in her lap. “I have not had a flower since we live in the city.”
9. “Did you use to live in the country?” asked George. “Oh, yes,” answered Jennie, “we used to live in a beautiful cottage, and there were trees and flowers and green grass, and the air was so sweet.”
10. “Well, what made you move here?” “Oh,” said Jennie, softly, “papa died, and mamma was sick so long that the money was all gone. Then mamma had to sell the cottage, and she moved here to try to get work to do.”
11. “Do you have to sit here all day?” asked George, glancing2 around the bare room and out into the dismal street. “Yes,” said Jennie, “because I am lame; but I would not care for that, if I could only help mamma.”
12. “I declare, it’s too had!” said George, who dreaded nothing so much as being obliged to stay in the house. “Oh, no, it isn’t,” said Jennie, pleasantly; “mamma says maybe we should forget the Lord if we had everything we wanted, and He never forgets us, you know.”
13. “Well, I must rush for school,” said George, not knowing exactly what to say next; and he was soon out of Jennie’s sight, but had a happy little corner in his heart, because he had tried to do a kind act. He did not know how much good he had done in making a pleasant day out of a dreary one for a little sick girl.
14. “Mamma,” said George, that evening, after he had told her what Jennie said, “papa must give them some money, so they can go back to their home.”
15. “No,” said his mother; “he can not do that, and they would not wish him to do so; but perhaps he can help us contrive1 some way to assist them, so that they can live more comfortably.”
16. “I am going to carry Jennie some of the grapes grandpa sent me, tomorrow,” said George, turning over the leaves of his geography. “I will put some of my pears into your basket, and go with you,” said his mother; “but there is one thing we can always give, and sometimes it does more good than nice things to eat, or even money.”
17. “What is that, mamma,—smiles?” asked George, looking up. “Yes,” answered his mother; “and it is a good plan to throw in a kind word or two with them when you can.”
This series of schoolbooks teaching reading and moral precepts, originally prepared by William Holmes who was a professor at Miami University McGuffey, had a profound influence on public education in the United States. The eclectic readers, meaning that the selections were chosen from a number of sources, were considered remarkably literary works and probably exerted a greater influence upon literary tastes in the United States more than any other book, excluding the Bible.
It is estimated that at least 120 million copies of McGuffey's Readers were sold between 1836 and 1960, placing its sales in a category with the Bible and Webster's Dictionary. Since 1961 they have continued to sell at a rate of some 30,000 copies a year. No other textbook bearing a single person's name has come close to that mark. McGuffey's Readers are still in use today in some school systems, and by parents for home schooling purposes.