(redirected from Horn-book)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal.


primer of a kind in use from the 15th to the 18th cent. On one side of a sheet of parchment or paper the matter to be learned was written or printed; over the sheet, for its protection, a transparent sheet of horn was placed; and the two were fastened to a thin board, which usually projected to form a handle, perforated so that the hornbook might be attached to a girdle. The matter printed or written included the alphabet in capitals and small letters and other material, varying in different hornbooks, such as numerals and the Lord's Prayer. Sometimes the base and handle were made of metal, stone, or ivory and had letters carved or cast on them.


See A. W. Tuer, History of the Hornbook (2 vol., 1896, repr. 1968).

References in periodicals archive ?
Small in size (less than 8 cm by 11 cm) to fit the hands of young children just as the horn-book was designed to be, the lasting spiritual guidance persisted for what can only be assumed was a wide audience.
Whether the horn-book was available to children of all classes of society in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as Blunt has suggested, that the nineteenth century poor could access the horn-book is doubtful.
8) Beulah Folmsbee, A Little History of the Horn-Book, Boston, The Horn Book Inc.