previous next

[399] and verse of Mrs. Sigourney have disappeared, as have Mrs. Hale's with the exception of one nursery rhyme. The merit in the others' popular work failed to compensate for their old-fashioned style in a later day. Miss Leslie brightly narrated simple incidents unusually free from sanctimoniousness. Miss Sedgwick was less direct and simple, but her books are still extant. Their ample preaching never loses sight of the story; and as this is a good one, she headed the list of favourites in the annual report of the New York City library in 1847, with Dana's Two years before the Mast second. But as Miss Sedgwick herself preferred Hume and Shakespeare at the age of eight, it is not surprising that her children's stories have a somewhat adult tone. So do those of Mrs. Child, who was devouring Milton and Homer at fifteen. Her magazine, Juvenile miscellany, established in 1827, continued for eight years, and was snuffed out at the height of its popularity by Boston's disapproval of her conversion to Anti-Slavery. It is a landmark in the history of juvenile writing. Even more important is The youth's companion, established the same year by Nathaniel Willis, father of N. P. Willis. The Companion may perhaps serve to illustrate the changing view. Taking a hint from the perseverance with which death had been dangled before the eyes of Puritan children, it exiled the word from its pages, which distribute lively and wholesome entertainment to the present day. However stilted the work of these decades may now appear, it had unprecedented humanity and naturalness; and the children of Miss Leslie, Miss Sedgwick, and Mrs. Child at their worst were never the puppets of the sensible Miss Edgeworth, and at their best had charm. Lucy Larcom's tribute to Mrs. Child in her New England girlhood may be bestowed upon all these writers: ‘I have always been glad that I could tell her how happy she had helped to make my girlhood.’

A far more powerful influence, however, came from the two men. These were Samuel Griswold Goodrich (1793-1860) and Jacob Abbott (1803-79). The son of a clergyman, Goodrich set out with a theory and an admiration for the method of Miss Hannah More. ‘Could not history, natural history, geography, biography, become the elements of juvenile works in place of fairies and giants and mere monsters of the ’

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
New England (United States) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
1860 AD (1)
1847 AD (1)
1827 AD (1)
1803 AD (1)
1793 AD (1)
1779 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: