Jacob Abbott

Jacob Abbott

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Jacob Abbott was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....

 of children's books.


Abbott was born at Hallowell, Maine
Hallowell, Maine
Hallowell is a city in Kennebec County, Maine, United States. The population was 2,467 at the 2000 census.-History:The city is named for Benjamin Hallowell, a Boston merchant and one of the Kennebec Proprietors, holders of land originally granted to the Plymouth Company by the British monarchy in...

 to Jacob and Betsey Abbott. He graduated from Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College
Bowdoin College , founded in 1794, is an elite private liberal arts college located in the coastal Maine town of Brunswick, Maine. As of 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranks Bowdoin 6th among liberal arts colleges in the United States. At times, it was ranked as high as 4th in the country. It is...

 in 1820; studied at Andover Theological Seminary in 1821, 1822, and 1824; was tutor in 1824-1825, and from 1825 to 1829 was professor of mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and natural philosophy
Natural philosophy
Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature , is a term applied to the study of nature and the physical universe that was dominant before the development of modern science...

 at Amherst College
Amherst College
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009...

; was licensed to preach by the Hampshire Association in 1826; founded the Mount Vernon School for Young Ladies in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 in 1829, and was principal of it in 1829-1833; was pastor of Eliot Congregational Church
Eliot Congregational Church
Eliot Congregational Church is an historic Congregational church at 56 Dale Street, at the corner of 118-120 Walnut Street in Boston, Massachusetts....

 (which he founded), at Roxbury, Massachusetts
Roxbury, Massachusetts
Roxbury is a dissolved municipality and current neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. It was one of the first towns founded in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, and became a city in 1846 until annexed to Boston on January 5, 1868...

 in 1834-1835; and was, with his brothers, a founder, and in 1843-1851 a principal of Abbott's Institute, and in 1845-1848 of the Mount Vernon School for Boys, in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...


He was a prolific author, writing juvenile fiction, brief histories, biographies, religious books for the general reader, and a few works in popular science. He died in Farmington, Maine, where he had spent part of his time after 1839, and where his brother, Samuel Phillips Abbott, founded the Abbott School.

His Rollo Books, such as Rollo at Work, Rollo at Play, Rollo in Europe, etc., are the best known of his writings, having as their chief characters a representative boy and his associates. In them Abbott did for one or two generations of young American readers a service not unlike that performed earlier, in England and America
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, by the authors of Evenings at Home, The History of Sandford and Merton
The History of Sandford and Merton
The History of Sandford and Merton was a bestselling children's book written by Thomas Day. He began his book as a contribution to Richard Lovell and Honora Edgeworth’s Harry and Lucy, a collection of short stories for children that Maria Edgeworth continued some years after Honora died...

, and the The Parent's Assistant
The Parent's Assistant
The Parent's Assistant is the first collection of children's stories by Maria Edgeworth, published by Joseph Johnson in 1796. The first edition had six stories: Lazy Lawrence, Tarlton, The Little Dog Trusty, The Orange Man, The False Key, and the Barring Out...

His brothers, John Stevens Cabot Abbott
John Stevens Cabot Abbott
John Stevens Cabot Abbott , an American historian, pastor, and pedagogical writer, was born in Brunswick, Maine to Jacob and Betsey Abbott.-Early life:...

 and Gorham Dummer Abbott, were also authors. His sons, Benjamin Vaughan Abbott
Benjamin Vaughan Abbott
Benjamin Vaughan Abbott was an American lawyer and author noted for his efforts in drawing up the New York penal code.He was the son of Jacob Abbott.-Biography:...

, Austin Abbott
Austin Abbott
Austin Abbott, LL.D. was a lawyer and academic born in Boston, Mass., the son of Jacob Abbott. He is probably best remembered as being the government counsel in the trial of Charles J. Guiteau for the assassination of President James Garfield.-Biography:He graduated from New York University in 1851...

, both eminent lawyers, Lyman Abbott
Lyman Abbott
Lyman Abbott was an American Congregationalist theologian, editor, and author.-Early years:Lyman Abbott was born at Roxbury, Massachusetts on December 18, 1835, the son of the prolific author, educator and historian Jacob Abbott...

, and Edward Abbott, a clergyman, were also well-known authors.

See his Young Christian, Memorial Edition, with a Sketch of the Author by Edward Abbott with a bibliography of his works.

Other works of note: Lucy Books, Jonas Books, Harper's Story Books, Marco Paul, Gay Family, and Juno Books.

External links