One of the many publications issued by the Instructor Publishing Company (later called F.A. Owens Publishing Company), based in Dansville, New York, this small biography of Henry Clay was written as a text for history teachers, intended as a guide in their instruction of Henry Clay. Originally printed in 1899, what sets this biography apart from others isn’t the content as much as the organization of the text, which includes the Clay biography and several small specialized sections at the end of the work. One of these, “Anecdotes and Characteristics of Henry Clay,” reveals some amusing (as well as some perplexing) anecdotes on the topics of “Clay and Burr,” “Clay’s First Bank Speech,” “Clay’s Duels,” “Clay and the People,” and many intriguing others. This section is followed by another called “The Story of Henry Clay” and gives numbered paragraphs which an instructor may distribute to students for oration. These are followed by “Questions for Review,” recommendations from the author for subjects of special study, a chronology of Henry Clay’s life, and a bibliography. While not a revelatory study of Henry Clay, the book itself provides an intriguing look at textbooks of the late nineteenth century.
Summary by Kate Pitcher