While these events were certainly significant, another historically important but less frequently cited phenomenon was also instrumental: the narratives published by the American Sunday School Union (ASSU).
From its origins, the American Sunday School Union released materials in a wide range of literary genres and narrative subject matters.
The American Sunday School Union was not the only inter-denominational benevolent society publishing books for children.
In spite of the seminal role that the American Sunday School Union played in the establishment of a distinct body of literature for young readers in the United States, the organization and its publishing wing did not endure as an important literary, cultural, or religious institution.
This essay revisits the important role that the Christian-themed narratives from the American Sunday School Union played in the emergence of children's literature in the United States by focusing on a contemporary book series that revives and even recoups it: the Left Behind novels for kids, written by prolific Christian author Jerry B.
Historian of journalism David Paul Nord provides a terse, but compelling study, much drawn from previously published articles, of how the antebellum work of the American Tract Society, American Bible Society, and American Sunday School Union
unwittingly led to the birth of mass media in the United States.
Bibles and religious tracts were soon being produced in the millions of pages by such groups as the New England Tract Society, the Philadelphia Bible Society, the American Tract Society, the American Bible Society, and the American Sunday School Union
I have acquired through E-bay a copy of an old mineral book, Mineral Riches of the Earth (1861), "carefully compiled for the American Sunday School Union
, and profusely illustrated.
The American Bible Society (1816), American Tract Society (1825), American Sunday School Union
(1824), and the American Temperance Union (1836) were just a few of the national organizations formed according to this pattern.
Moreover, illustrated versions of Bunyan's classic as well as excerpts of Baxter, Flavell, and Edwards were a mainstay of the American Tract Society and the American Sunday School Union
well into the nineteenth century.
McCarthy's praise for James Madison's "authorizing the use of federal funds for missionary societies" and other groups and for states that gave specific aid and textbooks, per child, to the American Sunday School Union
, which was teaching religion, seems to contradict her strong advocacy of Jeffersonian views of separation of church and state.
Run by volunteer teachers under the guidance of the American Sunday School Union
, independent local schools provided a nondenominational Protestant "moral education" and the literacy skills necessary for Bible reading.