59 School Street, Box 1310, Edgartown MA 02539 - 508.627.4441
Martha's Vineyard Museum MV Museum



Henry Young

Laid paper, watercolor, ink

Henry Young taught school in Tisbury in 1776 and 1777. These books, one of which is signed and dated 1794, suggest that he continued to teach, though they are the only paper trail he left.

Books of this sort have many names: turn-up books, flap-books, metamorphoses, harlequinades. Young copied his turn-up books from a version of Benjamin Sand's The Beginning, Progress, and End of Man, first published in London in 1650 and reprinted in England and America during the 1700s and 1800s. They teach a moral lesson, and it is easy to imagine that Young made them as rewards for stellar pupils. Each is hand drawn and lettered.

The verse that corresponds to the pages opposite reads,

The lion rearing from his den,
In purpose for to range,
Is turn'd into another shape,
Lift up and see it strange.

Besides his employment as a teacher, little is known about Young. He served as a private in Captain Benjamin Smith's militia in late 1775 and early 1776. Census records show that he was the father of two daughters and perhaps as many as six other children. He was not listed in the 1800 census