The Grammatical Key: Which by Questions and Answers Represents the Method of Learning the Parts of Speech.
Bellows Falls, Vt.
Blake, Cutler & Co.
Wilbur’s curious approach to grammar involved pictograms to represent the parts of speech. One competitor said these diagrams were “more adapted to the sagacity of Euclid than to the capacity of the young mind.” Yet Wilbur dazzled people with his public demonstrations. In 1820, a Baltimore physician declared astonishment at hearing “a young miss about ten years of age . . . solve the most intricate [grammatical] questions with facility and ease.” All Wilbur’s students, he said, could “parse the most difficult sentences . . . giving definitions and rules for every word.”