[RICHARD PRESS]. -- BERQUIN, Arnaud (1747-1791). Le livre de famille ou Journal des Enfans.  The Family Book, or Children's Journal. Detroit: Theophile Mettez, 1812.
[RICHARD PRESS]. -- BERQUIN, Arnaud (1747-1791). Le livre de famille ou Journal des Enfans. The Family Book, or Children's Journal. Detroit: Theophile Mettez, 1812.

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[RICHARD PRESS]. -- BERQUIN, Arnaud (1747-1791). Le livre de famille ou Journal des Enfans. The Family Book, or Children's Journal. Detroit: Theophile Mettez, 1812.

2 volumes, 12o (170 x 104 mm). Half-titles. Typographical ornaments. Printed in French and English on facing pages. (Some pale browning, P5-6 with tears crossing text, a few headlines shaved.) Volume one bound in contemporary mottled calf (rebacked to match preserving original spine labels), volume two bound in contemporary calf-backed marbled boards, vellum corners.

FIRST RICHARD PRESS EDITION OF THIS EARLY CHILDREN'S BOOK. "Ordained in his native France, injured escaping the French revolution, he emigrated to the U.S. After teaching at St. Mary's College, Baltimore, he was assigned to do missionary work with the Indians on the western frontier of the Northwest Territory. He operated from Kaskaskia in southern Illinois to Mackinac, settling in Detroit. He founded the first schools there and imported the first press. In addition to establishing the first French and English newspapers, Richard was the first priest to serve in the U.S. Congress, where he was a delegate from Michigan. The books from his pioneer press, very rare today, represent an important cultural milestone of the western frontier" (DAB).

Arnaud Berquin's books envision childhood reading as a familial exercise; for example, some of his "stories" are actually plays with parts for every member of the family. Berquin's books helped solidify the creation of the nuclear family, for "if Berquin's work has a theme, it is that parents and children live in a perfect symbiosis, the parents looking after their children's interests and the children, if behaving properly, filling their parents with joy." As books were difficult to bring from the Eastern United States, Father Richard's press filled a cultural void in Michigan's frontier communities. Theophile Mettez was the first printer to learn his trade in Detroit. AII, pp. 24-25; Greenly 26; McMurtrie 49 and 50; Shaw & Showmaker 24811; Walsh American Children's Books 73. (2)
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