History of Adolescent Literature based on book: "Literature for Today's Young Adults (7th) by Kenneth L. Donelson and Alleen Pace Nilsen"

  • The Pilgrim's Progress

    The Pilgrim's Progress
    Literature read by children and young adults was largely religious.
  • Development of the American Public Library

    Development of the American Public Library
    Benjamin Frankling suggested to members of the "Junto" for them to share their books with other members. This led to the founding of the Philadelphia Library Company.
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    A Century of Purity with a Few Passions

    In the 1800s the attitude of adults toward the young gradually changed. The country expanded, we moved inevitably toward an urban society, medical knowledge rapidly developed, and young people no longer began working so early in their lives.The literature that emerged for young adults remained pious and sober, but it hinted at the possibility of humanity's experiencing a satisfying life here on earth.
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    American Sunday School Union

    A spiritual and practical movement that began in 1817 in Philadelphia under the title of the Sunday and Adult School Union changed its title to the american Sunday School Union in 1824.
  • School District Libraries

    School District Libraries
    The Governor of New York urged that School District Libraries be established, in effect using school buildings for public libraries.
  • The American Sunday School Union

    The American Sunday School Union
    By 1830, the American Sunday School Union had decided to change the course of U.S. education by offering Sunday School lessons that taught religion, while educating young people in mathematics, grammar, history, and job-related skills.
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    "The Union"

    For the next 40 years the Union produced millions of books for use in Sunday Schools. All titles were approved by a board representing six major religions.
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    Following in New York's footsteps...

    Similar libraries were established in New England by the 1840s and in the Midwest shortly thereafter. Eventually, mayors and governors saw the wisdom of levying state taxes to support public libraries in their own buildings, and by 1863, there were 1,000 public libraries spread across the United States.
  • Domestic Novel

    Domestic Novel
    Susan Warner wrote more than twenty novels and "The Wide, Wide World" being the first.
  • "The Wide, Wide World'

    "The Wide, Wide World'
    First domestic novel and one of the four most widely read books in the United States at the time.
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    Susan Warner's Novels

    Her pen name was Elizabeth Wetherell, and she wrote more than twenty novels and the first domestic novel: "The Wide, Wide World" (1850). As much as 40 years later, the novel was said to be one of the most widely read books in the United States, along with the Bible, The Pilgrim's Progress, and Uncle Tom's Cabin.An abridged edition was published in England in 1950 by the University of London Press, and the Feminist Press republished Warner's book in 1987.
  • Brooklyn's Apprentice Library Association

    Brooklyn's Apprentice Library Association
    The development of the school library was as slow and convoluted as the development of the public library. In 1823, Brooklyn's Apprentice Library Association established a Youth Library where "Boys over twelve were allowed... as were girls whose access to the library were limited to one hour an afternoon, once a week.
  • Nathaniel's Complaint

    Nathaniel's Complaint
    Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote his publisher bitterly lamenting the state of American Literature.
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    Changing English Classroom

    English teachers were responsible of preparing young adults for college entrance examinations. At first, the examination simply required some proof of writing proficiency, but in 1860s and 1870s, Harvard began using Milton's Comus and Shakespeare's Julius Caesar as alternative books for the examination
  • Miracle for both women and men

    Miracle for both women and men
    In 1860 brothers Irwin and Erastus Beadle republished Ann S. Stephens's "Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter".
  • Son of Unitarian Clergyman

    Son of Unitarian Clergyman
    Horatio Alger, Jr. graduated from Harvard at 18. Ordained a Unitarian minister, he served a Brewster, Massachussetts, church only to leave it two years later under a cloud of scandal and claims of sodomy, all hushed at the time. He moved to New York Cityand began writing full time.
  • Thomas Niles, Roberts' Representative

    Thomas Niles, Roberts' Representative
    Thomas Niles suggested that Louisa May Alcott write a girls' book.
  • "Ragged Dick"

    "Ragged Dick"
    "Ragged Dick" was published in hardcover in 1867 or 1868 and was the first of many successes for Alger and his publishers, and it is still his most readable work, probably because it was the first from a mold that soon became predictably moldy.
  • "Gentle" Reminder

    "Gentle" Reminder
    Thomas Niles reminded Louisa she had agreed to write a girls' book.
  • Louisa sends manuscript

    Louisa sends manuscript
    "The Story of Their Lives. A Girl's Book" was published.
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    Second Part of Louisa's Book

    By early November, Alcott han begun to work on the second part of her book, which was published on April 14, 1869.
  • Union loses readership

    Union loses readership
    After the change in course of U.S. education, for the next 40 years the Union produced millions of books for use in Sunday Schools. From the 1870s to 1880s the Union books lost most of their readership.
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    "Sugar-coated" Sermons

    By the 1870s and 1880s, the Union books lost most of their readership to the almost equally badly written work of Horatio Alger.
  • Part I, 'Public Libraries in the United States of America, Their History, Condition, and Management,"

    Part I, 'Public Libraries in the United States of America, Their History, Condition, and Management,"
    The first major report on the developing movement came in an 1876 document from the U.S. Bureau of Education, and it contained 1,187 pages of reports and analyses on 3,649 libraries with holdings of 300 volumes or more.
  • American Library Association

    American Library Association
    Melvil Dewey, then assistant librarian in the Amherst College Library, was largely responsible for the conference of Librarians that formed the A.L.A the third day of the meeting.
  • First School of Library Economy

    First School of Library Economy
    In 1884, Columbia College furthered the public library movement by establishing the first school of Library Economy under Melvil Dewey's leadership.
  • Public Libraries or their Own Libraries

    Public Libraries or their Own Libraries
    A persistent question was whether schools should depend on the public library or establish their own libraries. In 1896, Melvil Dewey recommended to the National Education Association that it form a library department, because the library was as much a part of the educational system as the classroom.
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    From the Safety of Romance to the Beginning of Realism

    During the first forty years of the twentieth century, the western frontier dissappeared, and the United States changed from an agrarian society to an urban one.
  • Reorganization of English in Secondary Schools

    Reorganization of English in Secondary Schools
    James Fleming Hosic's 1917 report was part of a larger report published under the aegis of the U.S. Bureau of Education. This report looked at books and teaching in ways that must have seemed muddle-headed or perverse to traditionalists.
  • Winnetka Graded Book List

    Winnetka Graded Book List
    Carleton Washburne and Mabel Vogel put together the list and explained: "Books tat were definitely trashy or unsuitable for children, even though widely read, have not been included in this list."
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    Reading Interests versus Reading Needs

    Teachers faced pressure from colleges to prepare the young for advanced study, which influenced many adults to be more intent on telling young people what to read than in finding out what they wanted to read. Young people nevertheless found and read books, mainly fiction, for recreation.Popular choices were series books from Stratemeyer's Literary Syndicate, Non-Stratemeyer books were also popular, along with classics and best-sellers selected by the Book of the Month Club when it began in 1926.
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    The Wall Street Crash

    President Hoover came along, then the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. By 1838, three million young people from age 16 through 25 were out of school and unemployed, and quarter of a million boys were on the road. When the end of the Depression seemed almost in sight, the New York World's Fair of 1939 became an optimistic metaphor for the coming of newer, better, happier, and more secure life.
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    From Certainty to Uncertainty

    The United States moved from the Depression into a wartime and then a postwar economy.
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    Adult Books that Set the Stage for Contemporary YA Novels

    Young readers, especially in the last year or two of High School have often been receptive to books about human dilemmas. Between 1940 and 1966, society began to change, rapidly and drastically with deeply disturbing consequences. There was a growing awareness that the democracy described in our Constitution was more preached than practiced.
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    Changes and Growth in Young Adult Literature

    The quality of young adult literature rose steadily, if at times hesitatingly and uncertainly. Most series books died out, they were killed by increasing reader sophistication combined with the wartime scarcity of paper. Many of the books that replaced the series books celebrated those wonderful high school years by focusing on dating, parties, senior year, etc.
  • Too mature, too subtle, too erudite...

    Too mature, too subtle, too erudite...
    In 1946, George Norvell said that data showed that much literary material being used in the schools was too mature, too subtle, too erudite to be enjoyed by the majority of secondary-school pupils. Norvell offered tge advice that teachers should give priority to the reading interests of young adults in assigning materials that students would enjoy and in letting students select a portion of their own materials based on their individual interests.
  • Rise of Criticism of YA Literature

    Rise of Criticism of YA Literature
    Dwight L. Burton wrote the very first criticism of YA novels, injecting judgements along with appreciation as he commented on works by Dan Wickenden, Maureen Daly, Paul Annixter, Betty Cavanna, and Madeleine L'Engle.
  • Greater Critical Coverage of YA Novels

    Greater Critical Coverage of YA Novels
    Richard S. Alm provided greater critical coverage of the young adult novel. He agreed with critics that many writers presented a "sugar-puff story of what adolescents should do and should believe rather than what adolescents may or will do and believe".
  • Prestigious Committee of Ten on Secondary School Studies

    Prestigious Committee of Ten on Secondary School Studies
    The Committee presented its report, and English became an accepted discipline in the schools, although not yet as respectable as latin.