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Last updated 8:20PM ET
November 18, 2017
WOUB Local News
WOUB Local News
McGuffey back in the spotlight
(2008-09-01)
(WOUB) - A former Ohio University president is coming back into the spotlight.

The Ohio Historical Society in Columbus is putting on several shows to tell the story of William McGuffey's personal and professional life.

McGuffey was O-U's president back in the 1800s and is also the author of the famous McGuffey readers - which were one of the nation's first and most widely used series of textbooks.

It's estimated that the six readers sold at least 120 million copies between 1836 and 1960 - putting sales in a category with the Bible and Webster's Dictionary.

Bill Welsh plays McGuffey as a part of the Ohio Historical Society's "Echoes in Time Theatre."

"His reader is probably the best source of information and teaching that's ever been written," Welsh says. "They still sell it."

Welsh says his 30 minute solo performance focuses on the lesser known personal life of McGuffey.

He says a little known fact is that while McGuffey is credited with writing the books, that's not 100 percent true.

"He and his wife and his brother compiled most all the information for the 6 readers," Welsh says.

He says the information was taken from magazines, newspapers and books and provided lessons in reading, writing, spelling, and even manners.

"It was quite a thing that he did," Welsh says. "But actually, he wasn't quite the man that they all thought he was even though they named the readers after him. But he did very little work on it when you boil it right down, compared to today's people who do that type of work."

"William H. McGuffey and the Peerless Poineer Reader" has four showings left - and the next one this Thursday.
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