American MemoryThe National Digital Library Program: Archived Documentation

The Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition (1996-1999)

Image from collection

Michigan State University with Central Michigan University

Shaping the Values of Youth: A Nineteenth Century American Sunday School Book Collection

Amount of award: $123,763

The Michigan State University and Central Michigan University Libraries collection is a representative selection of 121 American Sunday school books from the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection and the Clarke Historical Library. Published primarily between 1815 and 1865 by the American Tract Society, the American Sunday School Union, and other religious publishers, these books for juvenile readers taught moral conduct and good citizenship. The books cover a wide range of subjects deemed particularly useful and important for socializing early nineteenth century youth, including history, holidays, slavery, African Americans, Native Americans, travel and missionary accounts, death and dying, poverty, temperance, immigrants, and advice. To help attract young readers, many of the books featured engraved illustrations (some in color). The books also offer good examples of nineteenth-century American bindings and covers. Several of the authors, such as Jacob Abbott, were widely known and popular.

Online Collection

Image Caption: Frontispiece from Bosses and their boys, or, The duties of masters and apprentices : illustrated and enforced, American Sunday-School Union, 1853. (Michigan State University Libraries)