Chapman's American Drawing-Book, 3 issues: No. I Primary, No. II Elementary, No. IV Sketching and Studying from Nature
"One of the first, if not the first, real drawing manual to include instructions (Nietz, 'Old Textbooks' 334-335)
First editions of Part I: Primary and Part II: Elementary single issues, in Good condition with the spines mostly perished and bindings on the looser side. Part IV: Sketching and Studying from Nature which has the correct contents -216pp, but is supplied with the wraps for Part III (now detached). All volumes have mild foxing and fingersoil, overall quite bright and pleasant.
The refrain of Chapman's series, “Anyone who can learn to write can learn to draw” resounded in American schools, and within a year of its initial publication in parts, numbers 1-3 were collected into a single 168-page volume. Part IV provides more complex instruction than was called for in the typical classroom. It was not included in the bound Chapman's American Drawing Book until the expanded 1858 edition. OCLC locates 1 copy of the single Part IV (American Antiquarian Society), dated 1857.
Chapman's American Drawing Book. "There is no work, that has ever been published, upon the subject of Drawing, and its kindred branches, in this or perhaps in any other country, so complete, and so well adapted to the end designed, as Chapman's American Drawing Book. Some who are opposed to American books, and everything else that is American, may question the ability of one of our native artists, to produce a work on drawing, superior, or even equal to, the best works on drawing issued in Europe, but such questionings we are persuaded will cease, upon an impartial examination of the American Drawing Book. There is but one treatise, so far as we know, that will compare with it, and that 'Burnet's Practical Hints on Painting' is designed, not as a rudimental work in drawing, but as a hand-book for the more advanced student. For those who wish to take up drawing, with the view of commencing at first principles, and advancing step by step, in the acquisition of a knowledge of this highly important and much neglected study, we believe there is no book superior. In addition to the artistic skill, and great industry and perseverance of Mr. Chapman, his long residence at Rome, and Paris, has given him facilities such as few could command, for the successful prosecution of such a work. That no efforts have been made until lately, to introduce drawing as a regular branch of study in public schools of the West is matter of surprise and regret; for the views of the celebrated philosopher, John Lock, upon the importance of drawing, as a branch of education, are becoming almost universal. We are gratified to learn that the initiative in this matter, has at last been taken in our State, and in the right quarter; the Board of Education of the Illinois Normal University, having appointed one of our citizens, a well qualified artist, Instructor of drawing and painting in that Institution. Efforts are also being made, which we hope will result successfully, to introduce drawing as a branch of study, in the public schools of the State. To the school inspectors of our city, and others interested, we commend "Chapman's Drawing Copy Books'' Nos. 1 and 2 for beginners, and the "American Drawing Book" for the more advanced.
Professor Morse says, "I have examined the "American Drawing Book," and am much pleased with it. I think it efficiently supplies a want in the elementary education of our youth. The time will come when ignorance of Drawing will be considered in almost the same light as ignorance of writing " A. B. Durand, President of the National Academy of Design, says, "I have examined Mr. Chapman's American Drawing Book, and am convinced that it is the best work of its class that I have ever seen. Clear and simple in its method, it adapts itself to every degree of capacity, and insures most satisfactory results to all."