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where any and every aspect of textbooks
is or are investigated

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J. M. D. Meiklejohn: Prolific Textbook Author


Norman Graves

Price £10 + £1.50 postage and packing. Cheques to be made out to Textbook Colloquium

Available from: N. J. Graves, 172 Stoneleigh Park Road, Epsom, Surrey KT19 0RG, UK





The Colloquium was founded in 1988 to promote the interdisciplinary study of textbooks. It had members in Britain, Europe, North America and Australasia. Their interests ranged from printing and publishing history to the history of education; from particular school subjects to the writing of textbooks; from collecting books to the sociology of the classroom.

Textbooks provide evidence about what is taught. Their prefaces, footnotes and text offer clues to authorial and other intentions, values and prejudices. Information about teaching methods and educational ideologies can be gleaned from the booksí material form: the organisation and presentation of subject matter, variation in type face and size, page layout, the relationship of text to illustration, and so on. The textbook is also a commodity, and as such is subject to (changing) relations between author, printer, commissioning body, buyer and user.

Such books have often not been accessioned by libraries, or if accessioned, not catalogued. As a result they have been neglected by historians of education. A major function of the Colloquium was to make available information on the location -- sometimes to report or confirm the very existence -- of individual books or collections.



Paradigm was the journal of the Textbook Colloquium but, sadly, published its last issue in Fall, 2007. Back issues  can be viewed on the Paradigm website.





1. Peter Musgrave The Historical Sociology of Textbooks: a Victorian Case Study

2. David Hamilton The Revival of Learning?

3. David Hamilton The Instructional Turn (constructing an argument)

4. David Hamilton From Dialectic to Didactic

 One of the Colloquium's major aims is to publish guides to textbook research. Currently available are the following:

Ian Michael   Early textbooks of English    

A historical guide to textbooks of English language published from 1525 to 1870, with comments on a sample of 100 titles from a corpus of over 3,000.

Ian Michael   Literature in school      

A sequel to the above, on the teaching of English literature; based on a corpus of 388 books published in the period.

Peter Musgrave To be an Australian? Victorian school textbooks and national identity  

A case study of prescribed reading in elementary and primary schools from the late nineteenth century to the 1960s.

John Fauvel  Mathematics textbooks: an annotated bibliography of historical studies  

An unfinished work, published by the Colloquium as a tribute to John Fauvel, who died prematurely in 2001.

Christopher Stray  Grinders and grammars: a mid-Victorian controversy

An edition of  the 36 letters which appeared in the Times after the publication of the Public School Latin Primer in 1866, with an introductory essay.



Links to other sites of interest to those doing research on textbooks