Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read

Nineteenth-Century American Children and What They Read - A site devoted to the magazines and books read by 19th-century American children, especially works published before 1870. Includes timeline, books and authors, papers and analyses, and images.

From the site:

When most people think of nineteenth-century American children's books, they think of works like Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (1868), or Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer (1876). Or maybe they think of Horatio Alger's books, like Ragged Dick (1867). But there were other, earlier books that were equally popular -- so popular that one author was mobbed by excited children when he made a tour in the 1840s.

I've collected and studied early American children's books and magazines for almost two decades. My main interest is works by Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860), the man mobbed by children when he toured the South in 1846. He created Peter Parley, one of the most popular characters in American children's books, and Robert Merry's Museum, a popular children's magazine that ran for 32 years. No, you probably haven't heard of them, but they were important in their time.

I've also been interested in the children themselves. Most of us have an idealized vision of 19th-century American children and their families. But children have been children from the beginning of time: endearing, irritating, beautiful, frustrating. And family life has never been ideal.

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