This is the first of a batch I acquired ranging from 1838 into about 1840 (I’ll have to sort through them to be exact.) At this point the Companion was only 12 yrs old, and its roots in religion are still quite evident.
The magazine’s original intent, that of a religious periodical are very clear. You’ll notice that few of the articles have any author attributions, and many seem to be letters, or excerpts from other religious periodicals and newspapers around Boston. Most of the articles seem to be “instructional” in nature, vs. the later issues which are chock full of information, non-fiction, and fiction.
You’ll also notice quite a few references to the “Sabbath School”, admittedly I don’t know what this is. I will have to do some research and find out.
The only images you’ll find in these issues is a small block print on the front page, and there is no advertising whatsoever. Hopefully I can get some issues in between these and the 1890’s I have (patience! they’ll make it!) to see how things evolved.
Keep a historical perspective in mind here. This was only a short 60-odd years after the American Revolution. The Civil War hadn’t happened yet, and most of the US still hadn’t been explored, let alone settled. A lot of what we take for granted simply didn’t exist. For example, the reference to the “Sandwich Islands” in this issue, which we now know as the state of Hawaii.
I suspect that the primary readers of these early issues were likely school teachers and/or church leaders, who would then read them to their students, since literacy was still not all that prevalent.
These issues are for the most part in surprisingly good condition, but some of them are missing chunks from the edges here and there.
The paper looks to be broken down into sections based on subject matter or content categories, which seems to carry through more or less to each issue.
- I’ve Lost My Way (from the French)
- Narrative: Partiality (Concluded from our last)
- Descriptive: Letters From Sandwich Islands, No. 5, Wailuku, Maui, November 8, 1837 [Ed.– modern day Hawaii]
- Parental: Conversion of Children
- Morality: The Two Houses
- Sabbath School: Letters From a Teacher, to the Children who Attend the Sabbath School at S. Boston, April 25, 1838
- Editorial: “Pleased, and yet Sad.” (from our Correspondent)
- Independence, Mr. Willis, South Reading, July 4th, 1838
- Variety: Usefulness of a Library Book, The Emigrant Child, Beauty and Goodness, Fourth of July Accident
- Poetry: The Captive Bird, Home