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About this collection

The Children’s Catholic Magazine is one of the earliest magazines devoted to Catholic children and their education in the United States. The pocket-sized issues of Children’s Catholic Magazine collected were published monthly between March 1838 and February 1840. This magazine’s target audience was older school age children, between 10 and 16 years of age. The editor of the magazine solicited contributions from children In addition to the children’s stories the magazine detailed the biographies of prominent Catholics and scientific and miscellaneous extracts. There was an effort to correct false statements in school textbooks about Catholics, Catholicism, and Ireland in order to prevent the spread of prejudice. One potentially useful article that appeared in this magazine was a list detailing the number of new subscribers by state.

From the second issue forward, the magazine was “under the supervision of Rev. Felix Varela.” Father Varela (1788-1853) was Cuban by birth and a noted educator and defender of the principle of equal education for man and women. His proposal for courts in the Spanish Empire to abolish slavery and establish Cuban independence led to his banishment from Spanish-ruled territories. He sought refuge in the United States. He ministered in New York City for more than 25 years, was the founder of New York’s fourth parish, a leading journalist, who established his own Catholic weekly as well as the City’s first Spanish language journal.

Father Charles Constantine Pise (1801-1866), the first Roman Catholic priest to be elected Chaplain of the U.S. Senate and a pioneer of Catholic literature in the United States, frequently contributed stories and poetry to the Children’s Catholic Magazine. Father Prise joined Father Varela as editors of a later journal, The Catholic expositor and literary magazine, 1841-1844.

There are a total of 18 issues; the first volume lacks the last issue (no. 12) and the second volume lacks issue no. 1 and no. 8. The final issue of volume two is called “Last” because, as the editor explained, a new magazine would be issued under a different title, “The Young Catholic’s Magazine” in a larger format, with more content and therefore a higher subscription cost.

~written by Barry Scott, Antiquarian & Rare Books Dealer, 2006

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