A Collision of Influences: Rationalizing the Use of Religious Images in The New England Primer’s Pictorial Alphabet

Authors

  • Rachel Donegan

Abstract

Much of the existing research on The New England Primer fails to account for the wide range of influences that contributed to this watershed American textbook’s creation. In this essay, I consider the Primer alphabet’s corresponding images from a variety of perspectives, including educational, artistic, and theological. After exploring the critical work of Patricia Crain, Charles Carpenter, and Henry Pitz (among others), I combine these critical lenses together instead to provide a greater understanding of the forces that allowed an iconoclastic Puritan society to include religious images as a means of educational instruction.

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