McGuffey's Reader was a series of textbooks written by William McGuffey during the mid-nineteenth century. McGuffey gained prominence as a professor of mental and moral philosophy at Miami University and eventually the University of Virginia. The McGuffey's Reader became the standardized reading text for most schools across the United States during the mid to late nineteenth century. First published in 1836, eventually McGuffey's Reader became a multi-volume work consisting of six different levels of difficulty. Very different from modern-day textbooks, the McGuffey's Reader contained religious messages and sought to instill morality in its readers. Between 1836 and 1890, McGuffey's publisher printed and sold more than one hundred million copies of McGuffey's Reader. Practically every American who attended public schools during the second half of the nineteenth century learned moral and ethical lessons from McGuffey's Reader.