Tag Archives: The Christian Recorder

Happy Birthday D.L. Moody

Dwight Lyman Moody (February 5, 1837 -– December 22, 1899), also known as D.L. Moody, was an American evangelist and publisher who founded the Moody Church, Northfield School and Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts (now Northfield Mount Hermon School), the Moody Bible Institute and Moody Publishers.

Moody began his educational ministry with the Northfield Seminary for Young Ladies in 1879 (later called the Northfield School for Girls) and the Mount Hermon School for Boys in 1881. Moody built the girls’ school in Northfield, Massachusetts, the town of his birth, and the boys’ school a few miles away in the town of Gill. Moody’s goal was to provide the best possible education for young people without privilege, and he enrolled students whose parents were slaves as well as Native Americans and people from other countries, which was unprecedented among elite private schools at that time.

Moody and his Success

We were privileged on the morning of Nov. 21st., Sunday, to hear Dwight L. Moody, pronounced by Theodore Cuyler to be the “mightiest preacher to the common people” since the days of Whitefield. Mr. Cuyler had reference to the success of this plain speaking man – this preacher in the dialect of the street. And how unparallelled has that success been! It is questionable whether any apostle or preacher of the Master ever had such crowds to wait upon his ministry.


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Happy Birthday Horatio Alger, Junior!

Horatio Alger, Jr. was born in the coastal town of Chelsea, Massachusetts, on January 13, 1832, to Horatio Alger, a Unitarian minister, and his wife Olive Augusta Fenno.

Horatio Alger, Jr. in 1852

Horatio Alger, Jr. in 1852

The future author was the descendant of Plymouth Pilgrims Robert Cushman, Thomas Cushman, and William Bassett. He was also the descendant of Sylvanus Lazell, a Minuteman and brigadier general in the War of 1812; and Edmund Lazell, a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1788.

Horatio attended Gates Academy, a local preparatory school, and completed his studies at age fifteen. In July 1848 Alger passed the Harvard entrance examinations, and was admitted to the class of 1852.

His first novel Marie Bertrand: The Felon’s Daughter was serialized in the New York Weekly in 1864. His first boys’ book Frank’s Campaign was published in Boston later the same year. Alger initially wrote for adult magazines, including Harper’s Monthly and Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.

A friendship with William Taylor Adams, a boys’ author, led him to begin writing for the young.

The following short piece by Mr. Alger appeared in The Christian Recorder in 1865.

Edward’s Temptation

It was six o’clock in the afternoon. At this time the great wholesale warehouse of Messrs. Hubbard & Son was wont to close, unless the pressure of business compelled the partners to keep open later. The duty of closing usually devolved upon Edward Jones, a boy of fourteen, who had lately been engaged to perform a few light duties, for which he received the sum of $50 annually. He was the boy, but if he behaved himself so as to win the approbation of his employers his chance of promotion was good. Yet there were some things that rendered this small salary a hard trial to him – circumstances with which his employers were unacquainted. His mother was a widow. The sudden death of Mr. Jones had thrown the entire family upon their own resources, and these were indeed but slender.

There was an elder sister who assisted her mother to sew, and this with Edward’s salary, constituted the entire income of the family. Yet by means of untiring industry, they had continued thus far to live, using strict economy, of course. Yet they had wanted none of the absolute necessaries of life.

But Mary Jones – Edward’s sister – grew sick. This not only cut off the income arising from her labor, but also prevented her mother from accomplishing as much as she would otherwise have been able to do.

On he morning of the day on which our story commences, Mary had expressed a desire for an orange. In her fever it would have been most grateful to her. It is hard, indeed, when we are obliged to deny those we love that which would be a refreshment and benefit to them.


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Happy New Year

A New Years Eve Poem in The Christian Recorder

The Christian Recorder is the oldest existing black periodical in America, and the only one in the United States whose existence dated before the Civil War. It had its genesis in the Christian Herald, which was established by the General Conference that was held in Philadelphia in 1848. The Christian Herald was a published weekly and subscribers paid one dollar and fifty cents a year.

The name of the Christian Herald was changed to The Christian Recorder at the Ninth Quadrennial Session of the General Conference that was held in 1852 in New York City.


By Rev. Augustus W. Watson, LL.B.

We linger on the threshold
Of another dying year,
And we listen to the echoes
Which mem’ry bids us bear;
For e’en the day is waning
And the shadows lengthen fast;
Ere it ushers in the future
We yet muse upon the past.

Our mind flies backward- backward
To the springtime of our life,
When we called the fairest flowers,
Knowing naught of worldly strife;
When the buds of hope expanded
As they drank life’s morning dew,
And fancy’s brush flew swiftly
As it gorgeous pictures drew.

Ah! The bells of joy rang sweetly,
Not a discord in the chime,
Not a thought of coming sorrow
Marred the happiness sublime;
For experience had not taught us
We must sometimes meet with snares,
And on our life’s long journey
We are burdened oft with cares.

And the echoes still are ringing
At the beck of memory’s wand,
But the sound is somewhat changing,
Aye, more solemn, yet still grand;
For the footsteps now which greet us
On our further march through life,
Are of busy, busy toilers,
Whose minds with thoughts are rite.

For the summer days are passing
With their sunshine, rain and dew,
And we work, must, for the future
Ere the harvest time be through,
For the Autumn soon is on us
With its yellow leaves and sear,
And ere aware how soon it pauses-
Bleak, wintry winds are here.

But hark! the bell is telling
Of the midnight’s solemn gloom,
And we know its last sad accents
Will speak the old year’s doom;
And we rouse from dreamy mem’ries,
And we list with bated breath
To its solemn, sad, sad tolling,
Which tells the old year’s death.

And we think, alas! How swiftly
The years will onward speed,
When to the old year’s dying
No more shall we give heed;
For another bell’s sad tolling,
With its solemn, solemn chime,
Will record our spirit wafted
Into some other clime.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Date: January 1, 1885
Location: Philadelphia, PA

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s African American Newspapers Collection. This enormous collection of African American newspapers contains a wealth of information about cultural life and history during the 1800s and is rich with first-hand reports of the major events and issues of the day.
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African American Cadet

Good Manners

Good manners are the particular distinction of a gentleman. They elevate him in society and in the estimation of all worthy people and create for him that which money can not buy.

In the education of our children nothing is more neglected, and to this is, in a large degree, attributable, to the growing lack of respect and reverence among young people for their superiors. Home is the first school of childhood. Here they should he early taught to be polite and well behaved, for the first mental impressions of a young child cannot be replaced by future correction.

Parents cannot exercise too great a degree of care in the examples they set before their children, and in the manner in which they expose them to impure and contaminating influences. The formation of human character is commonly the result of early associations.


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: July 2, 1874
Title: Good Manners
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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False Proverbs and Small Debts in The Christian Recorder

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.

False Proverbs

A young fellow must sow his wild oats.” In all the wide range of British maxims there is none, take it for all in all, more thoroughly abominable than this one as to the sowing of wild oats.

Look at it on what side you will, and I will defy you to make anything else but a devil’s maxim of it. What man – be he young, old or middle aged, that, and nothing else shall he reap. The one only thing to do with wild oats is to put them carefully into the hottest part of the fire, and get them burnt to dust, every seed of them. If you sow them, no matter in what ground, up they will come, with long tough roots like couch grass, and luxuriant stalks and leaves, as sure as there is a sun in heaven – a crop which it turns one’s heart cold to think of.

The devil, too, whose special crop they are, will see that they thrive, and you and nobody else will have to reap them; and no common reaping will get them out of the soil, which must be dug down deep again and again. Well for you if, with all your care, you can make the ground sweet again by your dying day.

Boys will be boys,” is not much better, but that has a true side to it; but this encouragement to the sowing of wild oats is simply devilish, for it means that a young man is to give way to the temptations and follow the lusts of his age. What are we to do with the wild oats of manhood and old age – with ambition overreaching the false weights, hardness, suspicion, avarice – if the wild oats of youth are to be sown and not burnt? What possible distinction can we draw between them? If we may sow the one, why not the other?

Small Debts

Nothing, says the Village Record, does more to soften hard times, or to sustain credit, than prompt payment of small bills. By paying your small bills, you enable your creditor to pay the storekeeper, the storekeeper pays bills he owes to others, and the same money, passing through a half dozen hands, pays as many debts, and leaves the parties at ease. But if the first one fails, through neglect, or carelessness, or indifference, to pay the debt he owes, it breaks the chain, and all are disappointed. And yet a man who would not fail to meet a heavy demand, or have his note protested on any account whatever, will put off paying his small bills, time after time, without a thought!

Especially if the small bills are due on subscriptions to newspapers!!


Collection: African American Newspapers
Publication: The Christian Recorder
Date: May 11, 1861
Title: False Proverbs
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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