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Dissertation Information for Sarah Law Kennerly

- Sarah Law Kennerly

- Ph.D.

- Library and Information Science

- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (USA) (1956)

- Rudolph H. Gjelsness

- Raymond L. Kilgour
- Samuel W. McAllister
- Bennett Weaver

MPACT Status: Fully Complete


Abstract: This two-part study attempts to discover and to analyze the children's books and periodicals published in the Confederate States of America, 1861-1865. The first part- a narrative survey- described the publications and quotes from them in enough detail to give a comprehensive picture of this small segment of nineteenth-century children's literature. the second part- a classified, annotated bibliography- lists every Confederate juvenile imprint known to the compiler and locates extant titles.

Although the precise number of confederate juveniles published cannot now be accurately determined, a count which considers every different edition of a book as a separate publication indicates that at least on hundred fifty books and six periodicals were published. These war-time products were found to fall into four categories: textbooks, religious books, recreational books, and juvenile periodicals. A quantitative analysis shows that over seventy per cent of the confederate juveniles were textbooks for primary and intermediate grades. Primers, spellers, and readers made up two-thirds of the textbooks and half of the entire list of juvenile imprints. For the Sunday schools, which flourished in the small-town and rural south, about thirty paper-backed catechisms and little Sabbath school hymn books were published, some of theme original works and some reprints of earlier pamphlets impossible to obtain in the Confederacy. Four of the six known juvenile periodicals were Sunday school papers: one was Baptist, one Presbyterian, one Methodist, and one ( the shortest-lived) non-denominational in tone. The Confederates showed comparatively little interest in recreational reading for children. Only ten or twelve books and two periodicals were ostensibly for entertainment, and most of them contained much didactic and religious material.

Qualitatively the Confederate publications were found to be generally mediocre in style and sentimental or moralizing in tone- typical products of the mid-nineteenth century. A few were characterized by extreme chauvinism, but the majority were very similar to northern publications. Some of the textbooks, for example, were newly written by Confederate authors, but many were revisions, or even reprints, of older Northern textbooks previously used in the South. No children's literature of any lasting value was produced in the Confederacy; reading matter breathed an air of didacticism and piety that stifled the imagination. If the Confederate juveniles are considered in a sociological, rather than a literary, light, however, they show the South's stern attitude toward the intellectual, moral, and religious training of children, and rectify some of the romanticized concepts of life in the confederacy.

The format of the Confederate juveniles verifies the fact that they were emergency products, published by people without proper training or equipment, in a country plagues by shortages of all sorts. The rough and unbleached paper, the strange assortment of type faces, the poor ink, the inappropriate woodcuts, the wallpaper covers-- all are pathetic makeshifts; yet, ironically, they give to Confederate juveniles a quaintness and individuality that have helped make them collectors' items.

In the final chapter of the survey, a representative group of extant books and periodicals jusged most noteworthy in content or format has been selected for the benefit of persons interested in a firsthand study of Confederate juvenile imprints.

MPACT Scores for Sarah Law Kennerly

A = 0
C = 0
A+C = 0
T = 0
G = 0
W = 0
TD = 0
TA = 0
calculated 2008-04-24 19:07:50

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