19th c. Uncut Sheet of 12 Printed Paper Rewards of Merit
Rare uncut printed paper sheet of 12 rewards of merit, with poems and hymns on the verso of each. Six rewards printed twice. Letterpress printed with copperplate engravings. Printed by G & C Merriam Co., Springfield, MA.
The origins of the G. & C. Merriam Company were in a business begun in 1797 by Ebenezer and Daniel Merriam in West Brookfield, MA. Daniel's sons, George and Charles, served an apprenticeship to their uncles, then moved to Springfield in 1831, where they became booksellers and publishers of schoolbooks, Bibles, and law books. The publishing company was founded in 1831 by brothers George and Charles Merriam. They owned and operated a successful press that sold a variety of publications. It is best known for its publication of Noah Webster's dictionary.
Notes from the Henry Ford Museum:
"During the 19thc, teachers recognized students with paper "rewards of merit." These small tokens commended a student's excellent work, perfect attendance, good behavior or other noteworthy accomplishment. Some contained simple handwritten sentiments from the teacher to the pupil. Many were printed and colorful, with space available to write in the student's name as well as their own."
Notes from the American Antiquarian:
"Rewards of merit, small tokens of congratulation given to students for good behavior and scholastic accomplishments, have been utilized by teachers for generations. The practice was most popular during the nineteenth century when printing techniques evolved to make this form of ephemera more readily available. A majority of the surviving rewards of merit are printed, as opposed to hand drawn and painted examples that involved significant artistic effort."
"Rewards of merit, in addition to being examples of a nineteenth century classroom tool, reveal the progress of printing in America as well as the priorities of educators and disciplinarians of the time."
19.5" x 10.25"
Foxing to paper ground.