Inked Up: The Serialization of Evangelical Fiction
"Hath any one in our day, as in St. Paul’s, a psalm, a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, an interpretation – forthwith he wraps it up in a serial story, and presents it to the public." – Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1871.
According to the historian Candy Gunther Brown, in the mid-nineteenth century nearly one-third of the periodicals in circulation in the U.S. were religiously affiliated. With circulations of stunning proportions, these weeklies, monthlies, and quarterlies, were often the link between evangelicals dispersed across the continent. Approaching the mass of evangelical periodicals in any archive can be a daunting task: every domination seems to have had at least one print mouthpiece and often times more than one.
The Christian Union
Two more well-known periodicals were The Advance, along with The Christian Union, edited by Henry Ward Beecher. Perusing a year’s worth of The Advance reveals a surprisingly diverse literary landscape. The journal includes several front page articles by the “spiritualist” Elizabeth Stuart Phelps and at least two essays by Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
Isabella McDonald Alden (1841-1930) wrote over 200 books under the penname “Pansy,” mostly novels with a Christian message was intended for younger readers. In her weekly magazine (The Pansy) she engaged her young audiences by printing excerpts from their letters and responding to their questions.