Letters From Nineteenth Century American Children to Robert Merry’s Museum Magazine

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Published from 1841 to 1872, Robert Merry’s Museum was the premiere American children’s magazine of its time (its editors included Samuel Goodrich, S. T. Allen, John N. Stearns, and Louisa May Alcott), and the first American periodical for children to publish letters from its subscribers. They often told ‘Uncle Robert’ all about themselves, their families, and their activities: the result is a record of the lives of ordinary people in nineteenth-century America. Here is the growing pre-War sectionalism, the Civil War and its aftermath, attitudes toward minorities and public figures, women’s rights, and major events. The collection of over 600 letters will appeal to those interested in American social history, women’s studies, media history, and popular culture.


“. . . she affords ready and eminently readable access into a child’s perspective of the world, one mediated only occasionally by Goodrich and subsequent editors of the letters column. The result provides both entertaining reading and an illuminating glimpse of nineteenth-century America, viewed through the eyes of children from all across the country. . . . This is rich material for study, and the index and glosses serve as both a guide to and explanation of many such references. . . . this work goes beyond merely editing the letters and glossing or indexing literary, historical, and cultural references. Drawing on genealogical sources, Pflieger has also researched the young correspondents and identified a surprising number of them. . . .These biographical entries provide a wealth of demographic information about the children writing to Merry’s Museum and offer a foundation for studying the wide range of subscribers to juvenile periodicals.” – Deidre Johnson

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