The Sunday School Book genre has changed and developed throughout the centuries. In times when children of working class families received little to no instruction, these books provided an accessible source for education. During the nineteenth century, the goal of this genre was to equip its readers with a clear set of morals and values, providing even the minimally educated with a guide for how to live their lives. While few of these books became well known, and while few continue to be read and explored by audiences today, they provide monumental value in encapturing, in one of the simplest (and child-like) ways, the ideals of Protestantism throughout a century of consequential change. Michigan State University provides a collection of over 150 of these novels, all ranging in length, subject, and denominational affiliation. By visualizing our data on this site, we are able to display our analysis of this collection, comparing and contrasting all of the different types of information within this collection of texts. Through our exploration, we are able to draw conclusions on the publication and printing processes of these books and their purpose within a religious society, further understanding how this type of literature functions in a world that is rapidly secularizing.
This website is the second part of a larger project. If you are interested in exploring the other portion of our project, click here.
For more information about Michigan State’s Sunday School book collection, click here.
Finally, this project is apart of the Hope College Mellon Scholars Program, for more information about this program, click here.