Kidder and Children's Literature of the Methodist Episcopal Church
The Reverend Dr. Daniel Parish Kidder was one of the most prolific authors and editors of nineteenth-century American Methodist literature. Kidder was born in Darien, New York, graduated from both Genesse Wesleyan Seminary and Wesleyan University, and served as Methodist missionary to Brazil. In 1844, Kidder was hired as Secretary for the Sunday School Union of the Methodist Episcopal Church. As a church administrator, Kidder was an avid supporter of Christian education and the American Sunday School movement. His original address Argument on the Question of What Books and Reading are Desirable for S.S. Libraries exemplifies is concern for and promotion of books of fiction for the Methodist children.
In 1856, Kidder was appointed Professor of Practical Theology at Garrett Biblical Institute (now Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) in Evanston, Illinois. From 1871 to 1881, Kidder served as Professor of Practical Theology at Drew University Seminary. During his tenure at Drew a student commented, “As a teacher [Kidder] was painstaking and thorough; his pupils must not only understand, but remember; he was a driller.” Kidder’s handwritten journal (1854) highlights such activities as daily life, work, and the weather. An excerpt from April 27-28, 1854 spotlights his work in the publishing industry, “I had on hand a good deal of miscellaneous business! Spent nearly 2 hrs in consultation with the [book agents].” The same day his diary records a meeting held in New York City with future Drew University benefactor Daniel Drew. Daniel Parish Kidder died on July 29, 1891 in Evanston, Illinois.