Schoolteacher Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826) wrote the first American geography book in 1784. He immediately set to work on a larger, improved edition. The result was American Geography (1789). Before long, Morse had several competitors, including minister Elijiah Parish (1762-1825), lexicographer Joseph E. Worcester (1784-1865), and author Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860). Goodrich, who used the pen name “Peter Parley,” was the most prolific writer of the group. He claimed to have written over 150 books on geography, history, and other topics. His books were known for their numerous illustrations, which were designed to appeal to children.
Jedidiah Morse (1761-1826)
The American Geography
Elizabethtown, NJ: Shepard Kollock, 1789.
Elijah Parish (1762-1825)
A New System of Modern Geography
Newburyport, MA: Thomas and Whipple, 1810.
Samuel G. Goodrich (1793-1860)
Peter Parley’s Tales About South America
Baltimore: Joseph Jewett, 1832.