The Christian Recorder
“Published by the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States, for the Dissemination of Religion, Morality, Literature and Science.” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Christian Recorder was first published in 1854 under the editorship of the Rev. J.P. Campbell. This early edition was short-lived, however, and in 1861, under the editorship of Elisha Weaver, the New Series, Volume 1 began. Under this new leadership the Recorder was introduced into the South by distribution among the negro regiments in the Union army. Benjamin T. Tanner became editor in 1867, and was followed in that position in 1885 by the Rev. Benjamin F. Lee who served until 1892.
The Christian Recorder embodied secular as well as religious material, and included good coverage of the black regiments together with the major incidents of the Civil War. The four-page weekly contained such departments as Religious Intelligence, Domestic News, General Items, Foreign News, Obituaries, Marriages, Notices and Advertisements. It also included the normal complement of prose and poetry found in the newspapers of the day.
Outrages from the South were reported in purely factual terms: burnings of churches and parsonages, midnight visitations. Of course sermons were reproduced, but there was excellent reportage from correspondents all over the South and West. In sum, the virtue of the Recorder lies not in its religious role but in the picture it provides of the Negro situation throughout the country; from the tepid friendliness of at least some whites in the West, whether Cheyenne or Santa Fe, to the cry to freed Negroes, ‘Don’t come to Mississippi.’ Indeed this warning brings to mind one of the greatest features of the Recorder, the Information Wanted page that continued for years, week after week; inquiries about broken families, the enforced separations of parents, children, brothers, sisters, all relationships, deriving from the peculiar situation of the Cotton Kingdom. These inquiries provide small glimpses of thousands of human tragedies and constitute a most impressive indictment of the Old South.
– Augustus H. Able, III
The Christian Recorder is complete from 1861 through December 1902; excluding 1892.
It is worthy of note that it was the Recorder’s first editor, the Rev. J.P. Campbell (one-time minister at Bethel Church and later Bishop of the Philadelphia area), who collected the volumes of the Recorder that now make up the Bethel Church collection. Not only did he retain them, but he had them bound in the boards that have helped to preserve them.
- Ladies Should Read Newspapers (1861)
- Glorious News – Slavery Abolished from the Constitution
- Temperance Punch Bowl
- Christmas Proverbs
- Advice for Parents from The Christian Home
- Market Gardeners in 1889
- Where Tornadoes Begin
- An Alphabet of Proverbs from 1862
- Happy Birthday D.L. Moody
- Happy Birthday Horatio Alger, Junior!
- A New Years Eve Poem in The Christian Recorder
- Good Manners
- False Proverbs and Small Debts in The Christian Recorder
- Drowning the Squirrel – An Anecdote and Lesson
- The Emancipation Proclamation in The Christian Recorder
- A Temperance Punch Bowl
- In the News: Our Great National Cemetery at Gettysburg
- The Death of President Garfield
- Lincoln’s Appeal to the Border States in July 1862
- Nancy Shively on the Massachusetts 54th Regiment at Fort Wagner
- “Fatal” Friday In Connection With American History
- A Mother’s Influence in The Christian Recorder, 1868
- Tommy, His Sister, and the Football Game
- Smallpox Vaccination – India in 1882
- Revolutionizing Manuscript Reproduction