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[398] mention not so much for the greater bulk of their sins as for their greater popularity. Susan Warner (1819-85)1 under the pen name of Elizabeth Wetherell published her two chief stories The wide wide world in 1850 and Queechy in 1852. Both were phenomenally successful and widely translated. Their heroines when not undergoing brutal treatment for their aggressive rectitude are confidently flirtatious. But Miss Warner, as she showed elsewhere than in these tear-drenched pages, had simple tenderness and charm. Her successor had little of either, and even more of religious self-consciousness and effusive sentimentality. Yet in the Elsie books Martha Finley (1828-1909) attained an even longer popularity. With her the ‘ministering child’ reached a burlesque of itself; Elsie Dinsmore, who begins the long series as an infant and ends it as a grandmother, made all previous prigs appear reticent and recreant. With Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney (1824-1906) the latest phase of the impulse, though not escaping sentimentality and self-righteousness, steered a middle course. Her many popular books, notably Faith Gartney's girlhood (1863), continue to be widely read and possess an endearing quality which her predecessors forfeited by their obviousness. Hardly Sunday School books and yet chiefly the product of the same strong religious purpose are Mrs. Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward's even more naturalistic infantiles and juveniles. They show the girl prig on the decided decline.

The early writers of Sunday School literature, who alone were doing native work, are nameless now; but the decade 1830-40 brought forward our first group of juvenile authors, who, though they all assisted in supplying the Sunday School trade, wrote also for children much that was not intended to meet it specifically. Five were women, who wrote for girls; and two were men, who wrote for both sexes but rather for boys. Unlike the men, the women had already attained much contemporary fame. Mrs. Sarah J. Hale and Miss Eliza Leslie were popular magazinists and editors; Mrs. Sigourney was called the American Mrs. Hemans and read in every home; critics disputed whether our most important woman writer was Mrs. Child2 or Miss Sedgwick.3 The children's stories

1 See also Book III, Chap. XI.

2 See also Book II, Chap. VII.

3 Ibid

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