1770 John Singleton Copley (American colonial era artist, 1738-1815) Relief Dowse (Mrs Michael Gill) gripping a book
The United States of America is a country founded by readers. And even though historical literacy rates continue to be debated by scholars, all agree that they rose in the years following settlement. From the early 1600s until 1690, perhaps as many as 60 to 90 percent of urban males of European descent were literate. And women’s literacy was quick to follow. By 1800 about half of the female population was literate. It is believed by many that by 1850, that number had nearly doubled to 90 percent.