The Cambridge History of American Literature/Book II/Chapter XX
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Book II, Chapter XX: Magazines, Annuals, and Gift-books, 1783–1850
- 1 I. MAGAZINES
- 1.1 § 1. Experiments before 1815.
- 1.2 § 2. Publishing Centres.
- 1.3 § 3. Salmagundi.
- 1.4 § 4. The Literary Magazine; The Port Folio.
- 1.5 § 5. The Monthly Anthology.
- 1.6 § 6. After the War of 1812.
- 1.7 § 7. South and West.
- 1.8 § 8. Types.
- 1.9 § 9. New England; The North American Review.
- 1.10 § 10. The Dial.
- 1.11 § 11. New York: The Knickerbocker Magazine; The Knickerbocker Gallery.
- 1.12 § 12. Philadelphia: Godey's Lady's Book; Graham's Magazine.
- 1.13 § 13. The South: The Southern Literary Messenger.
- 1.14 § 14. The West.
- 2 II. ANNUALS AND GIFT-BOOKS
- 3 Footnotes
§ 1. Experiments before 1815.
OF the short-lived literary journals that were founded before and during the American Revolution, none appears to have survived the closing years of that struggle. Hardly had peace been declared, however, before new magazines were undertaken, and throughout the years covered by this chapter much of the literary history of America is bound up with a history of its periodicals. A complete account of American magazines during the early part of this period would be to a great extent a story of literary Chauvinism, of absurd literary ambition on the part of individuals and of communities, of misplaced faith in the literary tastes and interests of the people. The many failures are reminders of the unattained intellectual ambitions of the nation; a few commercially prosperous magazines furnish an index to the taste of the average reader; and a few show the best that was being thought and written. In a brief presentation only the most general tendencies can be considered and a few magazines cited as examples of important types. For convenience the period may be divided roughly into two sub-periods, one extending from the close of the Revolution to the close of the War of 1812, the other from 1815 to 1850.
During the period between the first and the second wars with Great Britain Americans were unduly sensitive over the lack of a national literature, and absurdly determined that such a literature should at once be produced. A considerable number of magazines were projected with the deliberate purpose of improving literary conditions, and of avoiding the taunts that crystallized in Sydney Smith’s notorious question. The feeling of patriotism is reflected in such titles as The Columbian Magazine, The American Magazine, The American Museum, The American Apollo, The Monthly Magazine and American Review, The United States Magazine, The American Universal Magazine, The American Moral and Sentimental Magazine, The National Magazine—all of which were used before 1800. The rapid growth of periodicals was encouraged by the liberality of the post office. While under the Act of 1793 the postage on a single-sheet letter varied from eight to twenty-five cents according to distance, the postage on magazines was one and one-half cents a sheet for distances up to one hundred miles, and two and one-half cents per sheet for all greater distances—a rate but slightly higher than that charged for newspapers.
§ 2. Publishing Centres.
The chief centres of publication during the early period were Philadelphia, Boston, and New York, but almost every city which boasted a group of men with literary interests undertook at some time or other its literary magazine. Even Lexington, Kentucky, in what was then the extreme West, maintained as early as 1803 The Medley, by no means the least creditable of these ventures.
§ 3. Salmagundi.
In this early time the different types of periodical were not sharply differentiated, yet it is possible to distinguish a few heavy and ambitious reviews, modelled on the British quarterlies, several literary miscellanies, which followed as nearly as might be the traditions of The London Magazine and The Gentleman’s Magazine, and the more popular “Museums” and “Instructors” which contained interesting anecdotes and information gathered from all sources. Most of the more serious magazines gave summaries of current events. Few, if any, confined themselves to original articles, and some reprinted serially English works of a much earlier day. Such titles as The American Museum, or Repository of Ancient and Modern Fugitive Pieces, Prose and Poetical (Philadelphia, 1787), The Universal Asylum and Columbian Magazine (Philadelphia, 1790), The Omnium Gatherum (Boston, 1809) are significant. Salmagundi (New York, 1807) written by Washington Irving, William Irving, and James K. Paulding, was the only notable periodical essay which was published independently. As a rule the many imitators of The Spectator contributed their effusions to some newspaper or magazine.
§ 4. The Literary Magazine; The Port Folio.
No literary periodical established before 1800 deserves individual consideration. The Literary Magazine and American Register (Philadelphia, 1803–1807) was a serious and creditable work, containing reviews and miscellaneous contributions in prose and verse, but it is better remembered because of its editor, Charles Brockden Brown, than because of its intrinsic merits. A more important Philadelphia periodical was The Port Folio, during the editorship of Joseph Dennie. Dennie, who signed himself “Oliver Oldschool,” and accepted complacently the nickname of the “American Addison,” was a conservative in letters, though he welcomed some of the earlier work of the romantic school in England. During his editorship The Port Folio was devoted to what at the time was called “elegant literature”; and though to a taste less influenced by eighteenth-century standards it seems formal and sentimental, it exerted a strong influence for good during a critical period of American literature. Among the contributors were Charles Brockden Brown and John Quincy Adams.
§ 5. The Monthly Anthology.
The most important of the Boston magazines before 1815 was The Monthly Anthology. This was established in 1803 by one Phineas Adams, but after six months it passed into the control of The Anthology Club, founded by the Rev. William Emerson, which conducted it until it was abandoned in 1811. The Anthology Club included at various times from seven to sixteen Boston gentlemen of literary interests, and a few honorary non-resident members. Each member was expected to contribute to the magazine. Books were assigned for review, manuscripts were accepted or rejected, and the policy of the magazine was determined by vote at the weekly meetings of the Club. The Monthly Anthology is notable for the high quality of some of its articles, and as the best example of a magazine which was actually edited “by a society of gentlemen” purely for the love of literature. It should also be remembered as, in a way, the forerunner of The North American Review.
§ 6. After the War of 1812.
In the years immediately following the close of the War of 1812 national life received a new impulse. The desire for a national literature was undiminished, though it was perhaps becoming more intelligent. Within a few years Americans were gratified by finding that in Irving and Cooper they had at least two authors who were highly appreciated abroad, and before 1850 many of the more distinguished writers of the century had established their reputations. With a real gain in literary prestige came an improvement in the tone and sanity of periodical literature, though to the close of the period far too many magazines were absurd in their pretensions and given to an excess of literary patriotism.
§ 7. South and West.
The return of peace soon brought another large crop of new periodicals. Boston, New York, and Philadelphia still led, of course, in the number of these ventures, but every town of literary pretensions tried to maintain a magazine. The South had its fair share; and in the region west of the Alleghanies there was a surprisingly large number. Cincinnati and Lexington were the most important publishing centres in this region, but several less famous towns in the Ohio Valley had their literary periodicals at an early date. By 1831 James Hall was publishing The Illinois Monthly Magazine at Vandalia, and before 1850 Chicago and other cities in the central West had followed the prevailing fashion.
§ 8. Types.
The different types of periodicals were a little more sharply distinguished than in the preceding period. There were several serious reviews, of which The North American Review was the most important, and The American Quarterly Review (Philadelphia, 1827–37) was perhaps the heaviest. There was a multitude of general literary magazines, containing fiction, essays, poetry, scientific and historical articles, and reviews. Magazines especially for ladies made their appearance, and one, Godey’s Lady’s Book, attained great vogue. It should also be remembered that this was a prosperous time for the popular literary weeklies, such as Willis's Mirror and Home Journal, which published the same class of contributions as the lighter literary and the ladies’ magazines, but which are excluded from the scope of this chapter. In Philadelphia and Boston were published a number of periodicals that aimed at instruction, some of them reprinting classical works of English literature in large instalments, others giving in popular form miscellaneous information derived from encyclopædias and similar sources. Theological controversies, especially those over the Unitarian schism in New England, called forth a number of religious periodicals that are of importance to the student of American literature. There are also journals devoted to temperance and kindred reforms, and others too nondescript to classify.
§ 9. New England; The North American Review.
The most important of the more serious periodicals was The North American Review, founded at Boston in 1815. The first editor, William Tudor, and several of the early contributors had been members of the Anthology Club. Tudor in later reminiscences gave as the reasons for establishing the magazine a desire to emancipate America from undue subservience to England in literary matters, and to neutralize the effects of the French Revolution on American political thought. But the Review was less flamboyant and absurd in its patriotism than many of its contemporaries, and to this fact may have been due its success. As first established it was a bi-monthly and published poetry, fiction, and other miscellaneous contributions, but in 1818 it became a quarterly and restricted the nature of its contents. The list of early contributors includes the names of Edward T. Channing, Richard Henry Dana, Jared Sparks, Edward Everett, Alexander H. Everett, John Adams, William Cullen Bryant, Gulian C. Verplanck, George Ticknor, Daniel Webster, Nathaniel Bowditch, George Bancroft, Caleb Cushing, Lewis Cass, and many more of the Americans best known in literary and political life. Like most such enterprises it was financially unprofitable at first, and it was never highly remunerative; but its literary importance was soon recognized abroad as well as at home. Until the founding of The Atlantic Monthly in 1857 it was the most valuable organ of the best conservative thought in New England; and it continued its traditions until 1878, when it suffered a change of management and of habitat, and to some extent of ideals.
Although the greater New England writers of the nineteenth century were well started on their careers by 1850, Boston succeeded in maintaining no general literary magazines of the first rank before The Atlantic Monthly. Several were begun with brilliant prospects and distinguished lists of contributors, but, sometimes for unexplained reasons, each in turn failed. Among those best remembered are The United States Literary Gazette (1825–27), to which Longfellow was a frequent contributor, The New England Magazine (Boston 1831–35), in which Holmes published two papers to which he gave the name "The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," and Lowell's Pioneer. This last ran for but three issues in 1843, and left the promoters heavily in debt, though its list of contributors contained such names as those of Poe and Hawthorne. The North American Review furnished an opportunity for the publication of serious essays, but much of the lighter work of Longfellow, Hawthorne, Whittier, Lowell, and their contemporaries was contributed to the magazines of New York and Philadelphia. In what might be called informational periodicals Boston continued strong. Interest in one of the least of these, The Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge, has been preserved by the fact that Hawthorne was for a time the editor. Littell's Living Age, the best of the reprints from foreign journals, was begun in 1844.
§ 10. The Dial.
The most picturesque of the Boston periodicals of the time was The Dial, published quarterly by a group of New England Transcendentalists from 1840 to 1844. Such an organ of the new thought had long been talked of, and as early as 1835 Emerson had proposed to Carlyle that the latter come to America and act as editor. It was not until July, 1840, however, that the first number of The Dial appeared, with Margaret Fuller as editor, and Emerson, Alcott, and Thoreau among the contributors. The magazine was never financially successful, the smallness of its subscription list being indicated by the rarity of complete sets today. Margaret Fuller, after serving gratuitously for two years, reluctantly resigned the editorship, and Emerson as reluctantly took it up, noting in his diary: "I wish it to live, but I do not wish to be its life. Neither do I like to put it into the hands of the Humanity and Reform Men, because they trample on letters and poetry; nor in the hands of the scholars, for they are dead and dry." After spending much time and some money Emerson too felt forced to abandon the undertaking, and The Dial came to an end with the close of the fourth volume. Among contributors other than those already noted were C. P. Cranch, George Ripley, William H. Channing, William Ellery Channing, Theodore Parker, James Freeman Clarke, James Russell Lowell, Charles A. Dana, and Jones Very. In its own day The Dial was regarded reverently by a few, but by the great mass of readers it was ignored or taken as a joke. A later generation still finds many things in its pages amusing but has come to recognize it as the best single exponent of New England Transcendentalism, and of the peculiar aspects of culture that accompanied that movement.
Although The Dial was unique, several earlier and later Boston magazines appealed to much the same constituency. In 1838 the Reverend Orestes A. Brownson began to issue The Boston Quarterly Review, and the next year he urged the Transcendentalists to contribute to his journal rather than to found The Dial. After five years The Boston Quarterly Review was merged with The Democratic Review of New York. A more important periodical was Brownson's Quarterly Review, founded in 1844 after the editor had been converted to the Roman Catholic faith. An immediate successor of The Dial was The Harbinger, established in 1845 by the members of the Brook Farm community as an organ of Fourierism. From 1847 to 1850 the Reverend Theodore Parker, one of the most virile of the Transcendental group, conducted The Massachusetts Quarterly Review, which he humorously characterized as "The Dial with a beard."
§ 11. New York: The Knickerbocker Magazine; The Knickerbocker Gallery.
One of the earliest of the popular New York magazines to attain permanency was The Knickerbocker. This first appeared 1 January, 1833, with Charles Fenno Hoffman as editor. Bryant, Paulding, and Sands contributed to the first number. Hoffman was soon succeeded in the editorship by Timothy Flint and Samuel Daly Langtree, and in April, 1834, the magazine passed into the control of Lewis Gaylord Clark, who continued in the editorship until The Knickerbocker was abandoned in 1859. Clark's own writings in the "Editor's Table" department show little of the literary skill, taste, and knowledge which have characterized similar work by other editors of American magazines, but in spite of his apparent deficiencies he secured for many years the co-operation of the best writers of the country, and conducted what was in many ways the best general literary magazine. The Knickerbocker Gallery, an elaborate gift book published for the benefit of the editor in 1855, and made up of brief poems and essays donated by contributors to the magazine, contained pieces by Washington Irving, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes, James Russell Lowell, N. P. Willis, Fitz-Greene Halleck, Donald Grant Mitchell, George H. Boker, Bayard Taylor, T. W. Parsons, Epes Sargent, J. G. Saxe, James T. Fields, Charles Godfrey Leland, George William Curtis, Park Benjamin, Rufus W. Griswold, Richard Henry Stoddard, C. F. Briggs, and many more; and among other contributors of the early time were Miss Sedgwick, James Gates Percival, Richard Henry Wilde, Mrs. Sigourney, William Gilmore Simms, J. G. Whittier, Horace Greeley, and James Fenimore Cooper. The importance of The Knickerbocker Magazine may be judged by this list of names; yet in dignity of tone and especially in the quality of its humour it was somewhat below the standard of several of its successors.
New York, like Boston, saw many ambitious attempts at literary periodicals. Only the special student of bibliography and literary biography will follow in detail the amalgamations and kaleidoscopic changes of such ventures as The Atlantic Magazine, The New York Review and Athenæum Magazine, and The New York Literary Gazette, even though the names of Bryant and Sands appear among the editors, and Halleck, Dana, Willis, Longfellow, and Bancroft among the contributors. Of somewhat longer continuance and greater importance was The Democratic Review, already mentioned as having absorbed The Boston Quarterly Review. In 1850, at the very close of the period, Harper's Magazine was established in New York, and at once took high rank.
§ 12. Philadelphia: Godey's Lady's Book; Graham's Magazine.
Godey's Lady's Book, long the most popular of a class of magazines that has flourished in Philadelphia, was founded by Louis A. Godey in 1830, though not until after Mrs. Sarah J. Hale assumed the editorship in 1837 did it attain its greatest vogue. The success of the Lady's Book was largely due to its coloured fashion plates and a quantity of light and sentimental poetry and fiction, but its financial success enabled it to make seductive offers to distinguished writers, and it secured occasional contributions from Poe, Longfellow, Holmes, and others.
A later Philadelphia magazine was Graham's, established in 1841 by the union of The Casket, which had formerly been owned by George R. Graham and Charles J. Peterson, and Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, a monthly now remembered chiefly because Poe was for a time associate editor. Poe retained for something over a year a similar position on the new Graham's Magazine, and among his successors was the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold. The magazine achieved great popularity, and is said for a time to have brought its owner large financial returns. According to a somewhat dubious tradition its decline began when Graham published a harshly unfavourable review of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Among the contributors to Graham's in its best days were Cooper, Longfellow, Lowell, Hawthorne, and Simms.
§ 13. The South: The Southern Literary Messenger.
Most of the Southern magazines were still conducted in a spirit of patriotism and local literary pride, rather than as paying business ventures. The most famous of these, The Southern Literary Messenger, was founded at Richmond in 1834. It was at first a semi-monthly, but soon changed to a monthly, though its appearance seems to have been at times somewhat irregular. Poe began to contribute to the Messenger in 1835, and later in the same year became editor. His tales and poems, and particularly his reviews, which were more independent in tone than had been common in America, added greatly to the fame of the magazine, but his editorship ceased with the beginning of the year 1837. Among later editors were Benjamin Blake Minor, who was both editor and proprietor from 1843 to 1847, and who later wrote a reminiscent history of the magazine; and John R. Thompson, who was Minor's immediate successor. Though it was distinctly Southern in tone the Messenger numbered among its contributors many distinguished Northerners—more, probably, than any other Southern magazine.
§ 14. The West.
The rapid development of a distinctive Western literature and of Western periodicals is partly explained by the comparative isolation of the country west of the Alleghanies. In the early years of the century settlers in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys found difficulty in obtaining Eastern magazines regularly and promptly, and set about supplying their own needs. In this they were, of course, greatly encouraged by their local patriotism. The Western Review and Miscellaneous Magazine (Lexington, 1819–21), The Western Monthly Review (Cincinnati, 1827–30), The Western Monthly Magazine (Cincinnati, 1833–37), and other contemporary and later magazines were serious, well-considered, and, for the time and place, highly creditable; but as difficulties of communication were overcome they lost much of their significance, and Western authors exerted their greatest influence on American letters not through their local journals but by their contributions to the more cosmopolitan magazines of the seaboard cities.
To the very end of the period the publication of magazines continued to be a precarious and usually an unsuccessful undertaking. Few of the journals mentioned in the preceding pages were alive in 1850, and of these a much smaller number survived the Civil War. Indeed, of the more important literary periodicals founded before 1850, but one, The North American Review, was so firmly established that it lasted through the century. Harper's, the earliest of the literary magazines of high grade familiar today, was founded in 1850; and Boston waited seven years longer for the Atlantic. The short life and the financial difficulties of the earlier ventures must not always, however, be interpreted as signs of literary mediocrity, or of deficient appreciation on the part of American readers. At times such journals as the Knickerbocker and Graham's, and even others less successful, boasted lists of contributors quite as distinguished as those which most later magazines have been able to show. It is true that in the last sixty years there has been great development in the arts of magazine editorship and of magazine authorship—the writing of articles especially adapted for publication in a periodical. But in the same time have come improvement and cheapening of the processes of printing and of illustration, and the development of advertising. Indeed, it is probable that it is chiefly in the mechanical and business rather than in the editorial departments that the better early magazines are at a disadvantage as compared with those of a later time.
Futile as the early experiments seemed, and slight as was the reward that they brought their editors and publishers, they did good service in their day. By offering a ready means for the publication of literary attempts and for the exchange of ideas on literary matters they did much to clear the literary atmosphere and to make American men of letters sane and self-respecting. Today the student of the taste and the ideals of that time finds in their files his most valuable sources of material.
II. ANNUALS AND GIFT-BOOKS
§ 15. Characteristics.
The publications described as literary annuals and giftbooks varied in many respects but they agreed in being intended not primarily to be read but to be given away. They were "Keepsakes," and "Souvenirs," and "Forget-me-nots," and "Tokens." Many of them bore as sub-titles such phrases as "A gift for the holidays," or "A Christmas, New Year's and birthday present." Almost or quite all of those published in America were literary miscellanies, the contents being original, or, in case of some of the cheaper volumes, "selected." A few, such as The Odd-Fellows' Offering and The Masonic Token were intended primarily for the members of certain organizations—there were religious annuals and temperance annuals, an anti-slavery annual, and even a "Knownothing Token"; but most such books made a general appeal to those who wished to bestow an "elegant" offering indicative of "refined" sentiment. They varied in size and elaborateness from large paper volumes selling for twelve dollars each to diminutive and inexpensive souvenirs which a Sunday-school teacher might present to members of her class. The bindings of the best were in leather, elaborately tooled and sometimes inlaid with mother-of-pearl, or in richly watered silk. The "embellishments," as the pictures were commonly called, were most frequently engravings on steel, though there were many coloured plates, some coloured by hand.
The annual proper was supposed to be published from year to year, though many never made a second appearance. The year was frequently made a part of the title, as The Gift of Friendship, a Token of Remembrance for 1848, though sometimes the date appeared only at the foot of the title-page, or on the binding. The entire absence of a date was indicative of a desire to make unsold remainders available for the next year's market, or of still more questionable practices on the part of the publishers. Among these practices was that of reprinting an old annual with a new name, sometimes with change of plates and of leading article; or that of bestowing on an inferior work a name that had been made popular by another publisher. These devious procedures bring despair to bibliographers today, and they may originally have been one reason why the whole tribe of annuals fell into something of disrepute. A few of the annuals were in reality bound volumes of popular magazines with date-lines and other indications of periodical publication removed. The gift-books which are here considered resembled the annuals in form and purpose, but were avowedly not members of a series.
§ 16. The Atlantic Souvenir.
The annuals came as a late accompaniment of the wave of sentimentality in literature and art that swept over England and America during the early years of the nineteenth century. The fashion of issuing them is said to have started in Germany, whence it spread to England and a little later to America. The Atlantic Souvenir of 1826 was the first of the American annuals proper, though before that time there had been a few illustrated miscellanies which might be classed as gift-books. The number increased rapidly until, according to Mr. Faxon's excellent bibliography, "from 1846 to 1852 an average of sixty appeared each year." By the beginning of the Civil War the day of the annuals was over, though the list of holiday books has each year contained a few miscellanies intended chiefly as gifts.
§ 17. Engravers; Cheney; Sartain; Ritchie.
A student's first impressions of the annuals are usually gained from the "embellishments." In respect of illustrations the American annuals rarely equalled the best of their English prototypes, yet the publishers enlisted the services of the foremost American engravers. John Cheney seems to have developed his talent in connection with his work for The Token, and he also executed plates for many other annuals. John Sartain and Alexander H. Ritchie were among the most prolific and successful of the workers in mezzotint. Publishers of the cheaper annuals employed cruder engravers, or used old plates, often so worn as to be almost worthless. It is in the subjects of the pictures rather than in the workmanship of the engravers that the sentimental character of the annuals reveals itself. Many of these were taken from British paintings, others were by American artists; they were likely to be female figures and faces, romantic landscapes, or pictures hinting at pathetic or chastely amorous tales. In an annual taken at random, Leaflets of Memory for 1845, the illustrations are entitled "Julia," "Was it for this?" "We part no more," "The heart's best dream," "The Christian slave," "The past and present," "The rose of the ruin," "The Grecian maid," "Myrrha." Pictures designed for fine editions of standard authors were often introduced with change of name, and not infrequently the process of illustration was reversed, and poems or tales were written to fit the renamed plate.
It is not strange that volumes which are so palpably indicative of the commercial side of publishing, and that appealed to a constituency often more "elegant" and "refined" than intellectual, should be treated in later years with scant respect. Charles Lamb, Thackeray, and George Eliot all indulged in humour at the expense of the annuals and their admirers, and in America Miss Agnes Repplier and others who have given them passing notice adopt the same tone. They were not, however, without literary importance. Their exuberances and peculiarities register for the literary historian some of the less admirable qualities of popular taste; and they really contain much work of value. At a time when most of the literary magazines were living but a precarious existence many of the annuals were well established and financially successful. It was the annuals and not the magazines that were able to pay what was considered a lavish price for a few verses or a short tale by a popular author. It is too true that they often depended on the names of one or two distinguished contributors to sell a volume composed largely of cheaper material; but men like Poe, Irving, Bryant, Whittier, Emerson, Longfellow, Lowell, and Holmes were not ashamed to contribute to annuals, and often furnished some of their best work. The better editors were also alert for modest and unknown merit. It was in annuals that most of Hawthorne's Twice Told Tales first saw the light, and these were all printed without the author's name. Change of taste has left the twentieth century reader sadly out of sympathy with the annuals, but they invite from the student more attention than they have yet received.
§ 18. The Token.
Few of the annuals deserve individual consideration. The Atlantic Souvenir, already mentioned as the earliest of its kind in America, was published by H. C. Carey and I. Lea of Philadelphia from 1826 to 1832. It was a small and not a very elaborate volume, but it contained poems, essays, and tales by some of the most popular writers of the day. After the issue for 1832 it was merged with The Token, published by Gray & Bowen, of Boston, and later volumes of the latter bore the title The Token and Atlantic Souvenir. The Token was first issued in 1828 with Samuel G. Goodrich as both editor and publisher, and Goodrich continued to edit it until its demise in 1842, except the second volume, which bore the name of N. P. Willis on the title-page. The Token was one of the best of the earlier annuals as regards literary content, and though less showy than many of its later rivals it contained illustrations of high merit. A large number of Hawthorne’s tales and sketches were first published in The Token, and among the contributors were N. P. Willis, Miss Sedgwick, Longfellow, Mrs. Child, and other writers whose names are less impressive now than they were in their own day. John Cheney was for a time employed exclusively on work for The Token, and throughout the quality of the engraving was good. The popularity and the intrinsic merit of The Token offered temptations to piratical publishers. After the abandonment of the legitimate series, The Token for 1838, one of the best volumes, appeared in at least ten re-issues by different publishers, with changes of title and of plates, and in some instances with abridgment of contents. The volume for 1840 was similarly treated at least five times. The name was also adopted by a New York publisher for the reprint of a cheap annual which appeared without date in the later fifties.
§ 19. Religious Annuals.
The Rose of Sharon, a Religious Souvenir (Boston, 1840 to 1858) boasted a longer continuous existence than any of the other American annuals. The first ten volumes were edited by Miss Sarah C. Edgarton, the last eight by Mrs. Caroline M. Sawyer. The volume for 1857 was reissued, merely with change of date, "for 1858"; and a publisher at Auburn, New York, borrowed the title for a wholly different work in 1849. The Rose of Sharon was somewhat showy in binding, but was good in typography and illustrations, and in literary contents was an average example of the better grade of annuals. The Opal, A Pure Gift for the Holy Days, published by John C. Riker, New York, survived only from 1844 to 1849 inclusive, but it was made attractive by contributions from Poe, Willis, Longfellow, and Whittier, and by plates by Cheney and Sartain.
§ 20. The Talisman; The Boston Book; The Liberty Bell.
Among annuals that differ a little from the ordinary was The Talisman, which was published at New York for 1828, 1829, and 1830. The literary contents were prepared in collaboration by William Cullen Bryant, Robert C. Sands, and Gulian C. Verplanck, and the illustrations were by artist friends of the authors, among them Henry Inman and S. F. B. Morse. The volumes were unpretending in appearance, but the literary quality was high. The Boston Book (Boston, 1836, 1837, 1841, 1850) is, in the words of the editor, "a compilation of specimens,—or, essentially, a specimen, in the aggregate—of the modern literature of the metropolis of the North." The Liberty Bell, by Friends of Freedom, published nearly every year from 1839 to 1858 for the benefit of the annual anti-slavery fair or anti-slavery bazaar in Boston, contained contributions from all the leading anti-slavery writers of New England.
§ 21. Miscellaneous.
Others of the better known annuals were The Amaranth, The Christmas Blossoms and New Year’s Wreath, The Diadem, The Forget-Me-Not, Friendship’s Offering, The Garland, The Gem of the Season, The Gift, The Gift of Friendship, The Hyacinth, The Keepsake, The Keepsake of Friendship, Leaflets of Memory, The Lily, The Lily of the Valley, The Magnolia, The Mayflower, The Odd-Fellows' Offering, The Religious Souvenir, The Remember Me. These and others had each its especial admirers, and the critic of today hardly need attempt the task of deciding on their respective merits.
- ^ In this treatment it will be unnecessary to draw any sharp line between "literary" magazines and those that were largely religious or scientific. The distinction between magazines and newspapers is more troublesome. By agreement with the author of the following chapter literary weeklies, except in one or two cases to be noted, will be considered as newspapers rather than as magazines.
- ^ See also Book II, Chap. VI.
- ^ The Port Folio was founded in 1801 as a weekly newspaper. In 1806 it changed its form and took on most of the characteristics of a magazine, though it was still published weekly; in 1809 it became a monthly. Dennie died in 1812. The Port Folio continued until 1827. For Dennie, see also Book II, Chap. III.
- ^ The original title was The Monthly Anthology and Magazine of Polite Literature. With the change of proprietorship the sub-title became The Massachusetts Magazine, and a little later The Boston Review.
- ^ See also Book II, Chap. VII.
- ^ See also Book II, Chap. VIII.
- ^ Owing to some whim of Hoffman, the first editor, the spelling adopted for the earlier issues was Knickerbacker.
- ^ See Book II, Chaps. V and VII.
- ^ See also Book II, Chaps. II Chap. VII
- ^ See also Book II, Chaps. III and XIX.