The concepts of physical and chemical change have been treated in a variety of ways in textbooks. In this study 527 chemistry/science textbooks from a variety of countries and written at different levels of education were examined to see how they dealt with the topic of physical and chemical change. Textbooks have continued to cover this topic for over one hundred years. What evidence do textbooks contain about the purposes and methods of teaching this topic? Is its coverage in textbooks increasing or decreasing? When was physical and chemical change first taught and is it still appropriate to teach this topic? These and other related questions are considered in the paper.