Notices & Reviews of The Juvenile Miscellany (1826-1836)

About periodicals for children

Notice. American Journal of Education, 1 (September 1826): 569. Ed. William Russell


It is proposed to publish in Boston a periodical work for young people, entitled as above, and to be conducted by the Author of “Evenings in New-England.” ‘Such a work has prospered in England; and many, who are well acquainted with the wants of children, suppose that a similar one would be useful and successful here. The number of good books for children is not so great as would seem at first view; and there is a daily increasing demand for information and amusement in this form. The Miscellany is intended to comprise every variety of composition, which can possibly be made instructive or entertaining, to the intermediate ages from five to fifteen. It will be composed of stories, intended to convey moral and religious instruction; biographical sketches; scientific dialogues, made as plain and simple as possible; fanciful adventures; poetry; fables; riddles, &c. Several ladies, whose productions are deservedly high in public estimation, will, probably, contribute. 108 pages 18mo. will be printed once in two months; which at the close of a year, would form three neat volumes for a juvenile library.

Conditions. The work shall be executed on good paper—new type—with two or more engravings adapted to subjects in each number.

Price two dollars per year—payable on delivery of the third number.’

[A work such as the above, and in the hands of female writers, promises, we think, to afford much instruction and entertainment to the class of readers for whose use it is intended. At this early stage of the undertaking, it is not, perhaps, in the power of the editor to lay down very distinctly the line of proceeding which will be adopted. But her talents in the department in which she has already presented herself so successfully to the public, afford ample assurance that the Miscellany will be conducted in such a manner as to reflect credit on herself and the community. A hasty perusal of the first number confirms us in this opinion.]

Masonic Mirror and Mechanic’s Intelligencer (Boston), 2 (September 9, 1826): 294

The Juvenile Miscellany.—This work is published by Mr. John Putnam, 81, Court-street, Boston, once in two months, and consists of 90 pages, 18 mo. Terms $2 per annum.

The prospectus informs us, that it is intended for persons from the age of five to fifteen, and will comprise “every variety of composition which can possibly be made instructive or entertaining.”

A work purporting to be of such great importance as the one under consideration, induced as critically to read and weigh the principles and sentiments it contained, before giving a notice respecting it, to the public. From the 48th to the 53d page, inclusive, there is an anecdote which much enlivens a work of this character. At first review we dreaded the introduction of the foolish practice so common now-a-days, of throwing out low insinuations against the British nation, which, every sensible man will admit, are indecorous and reprehensible. But we acquit the author of this, and the little tale partakes largely of good sense and humour. In page 80, Sophia classes Music and Dancing as parallel accomplishments. This should have been explained to the young lady; for such an idea is far below the merits of such a work. It should have been “piping and Dancing.” Dancing is no more or less than a volatile manual exercise, and may be considered as an embellishment which may, or may not be dispensed with, according to the disposition of the person. But music is one of the seven rational sciences, and was salutary in its effects at the creation of the world, “when the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted for joy,” and apparently was designed by our “Almighty Creator” to accompany man through all his painful mortal career; to alleviate his toils and sweeten his labors, and soothe and charm his cares to rest. As a science, its remote principles are taken from metaphysics, (or the doctrine of general affections of beings,) such as unity, order, grace, perfection, eminence, and sentiment; from natural philosophy, are taken the principles of airs and sounds, with all the perfections and active passions of the soul; from ethics, the principles of rhyme and verse, &c. Without the study of music, in some degree, ladies or gentlemen cannot be said to be perfectly accomplished, much less educated.

The use of the word “swoop” in the same article, although not improper, by a person of refinement, would be considered inelegant. We know not who the author is, but we would suppose it to be the production of a lady of no inferior acquirements. Perhaps the application of inverted commas somewhere adjoining the poetry, would not have been amiss. The dialogues, however, are both interesting and edifying; and the volume, in its aggregate, we think well calculated to lay a foundation for improving the manners of youth; and we hope that even time, which destroys all visible things, will not erase from the memory, the interests which the perusal of them cannot fail to excite in their hearts. The Discourses, though short, are in general strikingly effective. They are interspersed with a pleasing diversity of miscellaneous subjects, rich in moral sentiment and valuable knowledge. They possess depth and solidity of thought, and a closeness of reasoning, that must inevitably be lost on the inattentive reader. They are pervaded by seriousness, and we hope that its future numbers will not be less frequently seasoned with a fragrantia of piety. We would be happy to hear that the price could be reduced, in order to put it into the hands of a greater number of young persons. We strongly recommend it, and wish it success.

Christian Examiner, 3 (September & October 1826): 427-428. Ed. Francis Jenks

22. The Juvenile Miscellany. For the Instruction and Amusement of Youth. Vol. I. No. 1. Boston, J. Putnam. September, 1826.

This is a little work for young people, to be published every two months. We think well of the design, and are satisfied on the whole with the execution of the first number. It presents specimens of very successful attempts to adapt instruction to young minds, and to blend entertainment with knowledge. Some of the pieces are of the highest merit, and give promise of a valuable work. Still there are some faults, which time, experience, and good judgment must correct. We notice an occasional smartness in the style, which approaches too nearly to flippancy, ad a few expressions which are not quite adapted to young readers. We question the advisableness of publishing conundrums, unless of a higher order than most of those in the present number. We are sorry to see the only piece of those in the present number. We are sorry to see the only piece of a directly religious character thrown in at the end of the book, in a very small

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type, as if for no purpose but to fill a vacant place. Such an article should hold a prominent place.

We are very sincerely anxious for the success of this work. We are aware of the extreme difficulty of well sustaining it, as no class of readers is so hard to write for as children. We are ready therefore to judge candidly of the labors of those who are willing to risk so much in so hazardous an undertaking. If they fail, it may be only because they are better suited to higher efforts. If they succeed, as from this specimen we think they will, they will have the praise of success where failure would be no disgrace, and will be rewarded with the consciousness that they are doing great good.

American Journal of Education, 1 (October 1826): 640. Ed. William Russell

The Juvenile Miscellany, for the instruction and amusement of youth. Boston: September, 1826. 18mo. pp. 107.

The prospectus of this publication was copied in our last: and a slight and cursory perusal of the first number as our own sheets were correcting was all the attention which it was then in our power to devote to it. A mere deliberate reading, if it has enabled us to detect what seem to be some slight faults, has by no means diminished the pleasure derived from the leading features of the work. For the Miscellany will be found to bear reperusing, and to be worthy of it.

The first question which naturally arises respecting a Juvenile book—Is it intelligible?—may be very safely put in this case. Though we cannot help thinking that the work would be greatly aided in this respect by assuming a given age within which its readers should be supposed to be. A subdivision in the arrangement would then enable every young reader to find something adapted to his capacity. This point is the more deserving of attention from the importance of forming very early in life a taste for reading—without which, whatever talent there may be, there can be no intelligence.

The Miscellany has one very valuable recommendation: it is always interesting and often amusing. Books which must be laboriously perused under a sense of duty, are not likely to be useful to Juvenile readers. Let pedagogues and scholastics declaim as they may; if children are to receive instruction to advantage, it must be given in a pleasing form. There is throughout the work more of a happy blending of pleasure with profit than can be found in most books of the kind.

The taste which pervades the pages of the Miscellany is generally of such a character as cannot but have a powerful though tacit influence on the minds and style of its readers. A few improprieties in phraseology, however, and errors in the typography seem to have escaped in the unavoidable confusion of a first number.

But it is the moral influence of this publication about which parents will feel most anxious. In this respect there is, we think, very little to which even a rigid critic could object, and certainly much that has a tendency to cherish what is ‘honorable and lovely and of good report.’

On the whole, the editor of the Miscellany and her contributors have already stamped on this work a character for useful, entertaining, and elevated thought, which creates high expectations for the future numbers, and which lays a well-founded claim on the gratitude and the support of the community.

American Journal of Education, 2 (March 1827): 191. Ed. William Russell

The Juvenile Miscellany. No. 3. Boston. J. Putnam.

This Number completes the first volume of this very interesting work. There has been, we think, a decided improvement in every successive number—more adaptation to young readers, and yet no sacrifice of dignity or of usefulness. A few colloquial inaccuracies, however, are still to be found, which, on account of the susceptible minds for which the work is intended, it would be desirable to have removed.

The general character of the Miscellany affords much on which to congratulate all parents who take an interest in the improvement of their children. It is to publications such as this, (if we mistake not,) that the youth of the present day will hereafter refer much of their early impulse to intellectual pursuits, and the favorable formation of their early habits.

”Periodical Works for Children.” American Journal of Education. 2 (December 1827): 750. Ed. William Russell.

Among works of this class which it is interesting to take notice of at this season of the year, as closing a twelvemonth’s course of instruction and entertainment to the young, we would mention the Youth’s Friend, published in Philadelphia; the Juvenile Magazine, in Utica; the Children’s Friend, in Albany; and the Child’s Magazine, in New-York. These juvenile periodicals have been very successful during the year, and are daily extending the usefulness of Sunday schools.

To the above we would add the Juvenile Miscellany, published in Boston; which, though according to its title more miscellaneous in its character, has aimed steadily and successfully at the improvement of childhood.

A juvenile souvenir, by the intelligent editor of the last mentioned work, has just been published.

Review. Ladies’ Magazine 1 (Jan 1828): 47-48. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.

Juvenile Souvenir, for 1828. By the Editor of the ‘Juvenile Miscellany.’ The Juvenile Miscellany, Vol. III. Published once in two months.”—We cannot thus record in our pages the titles of these works, exclusively devoted to the instruction and amusement of youth, without noticing the changes which a few years have made in this department of literature. If it be an undoubted truth, that a slight impression on the infant mind will affect its form and strength through life, a generation nurtured among the valuable and pleasing volumes, which now form our juvenile libraries, must far surpass, in every intellectual and moral trait, a race taught only the absurd tales of fairy enchantment, and the foolish chimes of “rhymes for the nursery.” The worthless volumes, in the perusal of which, our childhood was wasted, have now given place to a class, which, though happily adapted to the comprehension of the youngest, may both amuse and instruct the oldest. That “lever of moral influence,” which, like the screw of Archimedes, can “move the world,” is now applied at the proper place, the only place where its power is certain and resistless.

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The high commendation of the object and character of the “Juvenile Miscellany,” and “Souvenir,” implied in the preceding remarks, we find little or no occasion to qualify, on a more particular examination of them. The “Souvenir,” is a beautiful volume, interesting and miscellaneous in its contents, and adorned by several ingenious lithographic sketches; rendering it, in almost every respect, an appropriate gift of affection, at this or any other season, when we are wont to prove our regard for our young friends, by some valuable present. As critics, we would suggest that the tale of the “Young Adventurers” is perhaps too full of adventure for probability; a fault from which the works of this editor are generally, and remarkably exempt.

The “Miscellany” is filled as its name denotes, and with the same happy adaptation to the young mind. Every tale has its plain and valuable moral, and the poetry, like the “Original Poems of Miss Taylor,” is peculiarly appropriate. In one number, we notice several pleasing “Scripture Illustrations,” and, in every number, in one short dialogue, a familiar explanation of some principle in science, from objects within the daily observation of the young.

Christian Register (Boston), 7 (8 March 1828): 40; reprinted from the American & Gazette

The Juvenile Miscellany.—Among the many publications that daily and almost hourly issue from the press in this enlightened age, I have seen few that have delighted me more than the Juvenile Miscellany. The surest way of making the present and future generations happy, is by improving the young. Parents must be ever unhappy if their children are vicious—and the vicious are always miserable. None but parents can fully appreciate the value of this little work—it is so delightful to a mother to put a book into her childrens’ hands, that she knows is calculated to improve their minds, refine their tastes, and raise their thoughts to the great Author of all good—to have an interesting story, the moral of which points exactly where you wish it to apply, on every occasion is of so much importance in the education of children, that the writer who, like Miss Francis, gives her fine talents and highly cultivated mind to such a work, is a real friend and benefactress to parents and children. I know it would delight her benevolent mind to be among my little flock when her interesting work arrives, to see seven eager faces looking for their turn to read it; to see their bright eyes, to hear the oft repeated question, “is it as interesting as the last?” and “mother, won’t it be my turn next, if I know my lesson?” “I am the oldest,” &c. One of the younger ones, a boy of three, that can’t read, came running to me the other day, saying, “Mother, an’t Letitia as stingy as the white hen—she wont give me one of her sugar plumbs”—the white hen soon distributed the sugar plumbs. If they are fretful, “Little Mary is cross to-day” goes the rounds, and generally brings the smile back to the moist eye and glowing cheek. There is a touching simplicity and tenderness in the stories that often beguiles me of tears, and I read them with as much pleasure as my children.

I think if a volume of this work were presented as a premium in all our public schools, it would tend to refine the taste and amend the hearts of those who seldom have access to the best works, and would be sowing the good seed which might, in time, bring forth its hundred fold. A Mother.

Ladies’ Magazine, 1 (July 1828): 336. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale

Juvenile Miscellany.”—There is perhaps, no kind of writing more difficult of execution, than that required for such a publication: to excel in it, one ought to possess talents, taste, and fancy of a high order, combined with common sense, and that chastened judgment, which will, in every effort, still keep the object of the enterprise—namely, the entertainment and instruction of children constantly in view. It is not a field where many laurels are to be gathered, but where much good is to be done; and consequently, those who engage, are stimulated rather by the wish of being useful to others, than the hope of shining themselves. They are actuated by principle, not by ambition. It is these considerations, which lead us to think, that the department of Juvenile literature, is peculiarly appropriate to female writers. Their tenderness of feeling, delicacy of sentiment, and general correctness of morals, are pledges to the public, that nothing which would have a tendency to foster the evil propensities of our nature shall, like an insidious poison, be suffer[e]d to mingle with the mental aliment they prepare for the young. The labors of those European women, who have engaged in this now popular species of writing, have been eminently successful. In our country, the Editor of the Juvenile Miscellany, deservedly holds a high rank among the female authors who devote their talents to the cause of education.

We hope the work will be universally patronized. It should be taken in every family where there are children—indeed, grown people would not find their time misspent while perusing its pages, which is more than we would be willing to say in favor of, at least, one half of the new publications that are thronging us under the form of novels, magazines, miscellanies, &c.

New-York Mirror, and Ladies’ Literary Gazette, 6 (2 August 1828): 25-26

The Juvenile Miscellany, Vol. IV. Nos. II. and III. Boston. Putnam and Hunt. 1828. May and July.

This is a very useful periodical publication for the youth of both sexes, and seems, from the flattering circumstances of its having reached its fourth volume, to have met with no inconsiderable patronage. The articles are light,

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amusing, of a moral and instructive cast, and well adapted to the taste of young readers. They are also written with an appropriate neatness and perspicuity, which cannot fail to recommend the work to the attention of teachers and parents. We would suggest to the conductors of this useful miscellany, the propriety of preparing for each number a brief but comprehensive summary of such passing occurrences as would gratify juvenile curiosity, or, perhaps, direct it to important and instructive matters of history. A judicious selection of subjects is all that is necessary to render an attempt of this kind successful, and eminently beneficial to the rising generation.

Christian Intelligencer & Eastern Chronicle, 8 (5 December 1828: 195

Juvenile Miscellany. A beautiful little periodical, intended for children and young persons, is published once in two months by Putnam & Hunt, Boston, and conducted by the wife of David L. Child, Esq. editor of the Mass. Journal, a literary lady, more extensively known to the public as Miss Francis—a name which she bore from her childhood, but which she exchanged lately, when, in maturer years, she became a Child, by matrimony. Each number contains about one hundred and ten 18 mo. pages, with a neat engraving. The price is $2 per annum.—Most of the work is original—consisting of historical sketches, chaste, popular tales, moral remarks, poetry, &c. &c. The work seems to us well calculated to instruct and amuse the rising generation, in such a manner as to lay the foundation for virtue and intelligence;—and coming periodically, is likely to engage the continued attention, and to keep up the interest of its youthful patrons. We think parents would do their children a service by subscribing for the work, and permitting them to consider it as their own.

Review. Ladies’ Magazine 2 (Feb 1829): 95. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale.

… “Juvenile Miscellany, Jan. 1829.” Boston, Putnam & Hunt. …

The Juvenile Miscellany still maintains its reputation. The last number contains several excellent stories, particularly that of Berquin, and the Shepherd Boy. The poetry is very appropriate. The Thanksgiving Day will interest others besides children. It will awaken recollections of those household feasts when we “were very gay.”

American Annals of Education, 4 (July & August 1829): 383. Ed. James G. Carter

The Juvenile Miscellany.—Among the periodical publications for young persons which are particularly deserving of public confidence and patronage is the ‘Juvenile Miscellany,’ published once in two months by Putnam & Hunt of this city. It consists entirely of original matter from some of the most gifted among those who have devoted their talents to the improvement of youth. It is a very fascinating book for young folks; and to our certain knowledge many ‘children of a larger growth’ have condescended to find amusement and instruction in its pages. It contains stories both grave and gay—stories which contain their moral in them, instead of having it awkwardly appended to the conclusion—dialogues on life and morals; and on the various branches of physical science—sketches of natural history—biographical notices of distinguished men—translations from foreign juvenile works—and short pieces of poetry.

A publication of this sort could not fail to be popular if tolerably conducted; but sustained by some of the best writers in our country, and sustained too, with uniform spirit, it has become quite a standard periodical, a regular portion of the juvenile library. So long as it shall continue to be conducted with the same ability as heretofore, it will undoubtedly retain its popularity and continue to exert an immeasurable influence on the virtue and intelligence of the rising generation.

Ladies’ Magazine, 2 (September 1829): 440. Ed. Sarah Josepha Hale

Juvenile Miscellany.—VOL. III. NO. I. Boston. Putnam & Hunt. The introduction of colored plates in this popular work, will undoubtedly be very acceptable to its little readers. The anecdotes of ‘Chinese children’ and of ‘Musical children’ are excellently adapted to the taste and improvement of the young mind—infinitely more valuable than fictitious stories. The work has, and deserves and extensive encouragement.

Notice. American Monthly Magazine 1 (Dec 1830): 647. Ed. N. P. Willis

… [T]he “Juvenile Miscellany” is, as ever, the model of taste, and simple beauty ….

”Juvenile Miscellany.” Christian Watchman. 14 (3 April 1833): 55.

Juvenile Miscellany—The N. Y. Bap. Repository, in speaking of the number of periodicals, which have been brought into existence by Mr. Freeman Hunt, among others, mentions the Juvenile Miscellany now published by Messrs. Allen & Ticknor, of this city. This is not the fact, as the Miscellany was originated and published by Mr. John Putnam of this city some years before Mr. Hunt became of age.

”Items for Youth.” The Rose Bud. 1 (15 June 1833): 167. Ed. Caroline Gilman.

The “Sabbath School Instructor,” from Portland, Maine, has appeared in a new and improved form, and is graced by communications from Mrs. Sigourney.

The Youth’s Literary Gazette” in Philadelphia, “The Juvenile Rambler” and “Parley’s Magazine” in Boston, are all conducted with great spirit, and form a new and interesting era in Juvenile Literature.

The terms of each are one dollar per annum.

None of the above publications, however, can excel the “Juvenile Miscellany,” which still maintains its just claims to the patronage of parents and children. It has been regularly published for seven years.

Southern Rose Bud, 3 (18 October 1834): 27. Ed. Caroline Howard Gilman

Juvenile Miscellany. Monthly series, No. 1. E. R. Broders, 127 Washington-st. Boston.

We could not but feel like parting with a dear friend, when Mrs. Child withdrew her name from this beautiful periodical, which she has supported with unfailing interest for eight years. We should welcome a similar series, as one of the best aids in our parental course; how then must we rejoice, when we are told that it will be hereafter “more attractive?” We can hardly conceive such a thing possible. The editors have given a great pledge, and we wish them every success in redeeming it. Mrs. Child must feel happiness in knowing, that she has tilled the ground and planted the good seed, which they are about to water and shelter.

Agents in Charleston, E. Thayer and T. Cousins.

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