Lindley Murray was born to a Quaker family in 1745. He practised law in the USA until ill health - possibly following his recovery from polio - drew him to England. He settled near York to convalesce and it was during this period of his life, most likely to relieve his boredom, that he set to work on his famous English Grammar and Reader, having heard of the need of good teaching books from his friends the Tukes at the Friends' School at York. The books were instantly successful, since there was a dearth of good teaching books in the UK at the time, and the book was adopted by Ackworth School for their teaching practice. This pair of books getting on for nearly 400 years between them show signs of their use in the classroom and are probably all the more to be cherished for that.
The English Reader is inscribed William Atkinson's Book National School 1834 - just a year after its publication.
It is full of the most absorbing short reading passages. My favourite is The Female Choice found on page 40 which briefly summarized tells of a girl, Melissa, who falls asleep and dreams of two women. One brings her a fabulous gown and a ticket to the ball - her name is Dissipation. The other is clothed simply in brown, her hair smooth under a plain cap. In one hand she holds a distaff, a work basket hangs on the opposite arm. On her girdle are attached scissors, knitting needles, reels and other tools of female labour. She says she is the friend and companion of her mother and her name is Housewifery. So who do you think Melissa will prefer?
The English Grammar has the inscription James C Maxwell and in rather more ornate script No 6 Larruchan.
The grammar is dated 1828.
The leather binding on both books is scuffed as illustrated here.