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The Philadelphia Magazines and their Contributors 1741-1850   By: (1863-1907)

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Transcriber's Note: The final footnote contains a Greek passage, which is delimited by ''.


1741 1850



A. B. , Johns Hopkins University ,

Professor of English Literature in the Philadelphia High School; Member of the American Philosophical Society.






This study in the history of the Philadelphia magazines was undertaken at the request of Professor H. B. Adams, and the results were first read at a joint meeting of the Historical and English Seminaries of the Johns Hopkins University. At a later date they were again read before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The subject has been found so rich, and the materials so interesting, that, in spite of my best efforts to be brief, the article has grown into a book. It has been with no little distrust that I have made this wide excursion from my chosen studies, but the generous aid and encouragement of friends, who are learned in our local lore, have given me heart to complete and to publish the results of these researches.

A complete list of the Philadelphia magazines is impossible. Many of them have disappeared and left not a rack behind. The special student of Pennsylvania history will detect some omissions in these pages, for all that has here been done has been done at first hand, and where a magazine was inaccessible to me, I have not attempted to see it through the eyes of a more fortunate investigator. I have done my best to make the story, dull and dreary as it surely is at times, not unworthy of its subject, or of the city that it describes, and of which I grow fonder year by year.

My grateful thanks are due to my friends, Professor H. B. Adams, Dr. James W. Bright, Mr. Charles R. Hildeburn, Professor John Bach McMaster, Hon. S. W. Pennypacker and Mr. F. D. Stone, for thoughtful suggestions and valuable information.

I am deeply indebted to Mr. George W. Childs for his unfailing interest and assistance. To Mr. George R. Graham, Dr. Thomas Dunn English, Mr. John Sartain and Mr. Frank Lee Benedict I owe some of the most important facts in this little volume.


Philadelphia, 5 February, 1892, 126, South Twenty second Street.

"Sweet Philadelphia! lov'liest of the lawn," Where rising greatness opes its pleasing dawn, Where daring commerce spreads th' advent'rous sail, Cleaves thro' the wave, and drives before the gale, Where genius yields her kind conducting lore, And learning spreads its inexhausted store: Kind seat of industry, where art may see Its labours foster'd to its due degree, Where merit meets the due regard it claims, Tho' envy dictates and tho' malice blames: Thou fairest daughter of Columbia's train, The great emporium of the western plain; Best seat of science, friend to ev'ry art, That mends, improves, or dignifies the heart.

The Philadelphiad , Vol. I, p. 6, 1784.


To relate the history of the Philadelphia magazines is to tell the story of Philadelphia literature. The story is not a stately nor a splendid one, but it is exceedingly instructive. It helps to exhibit the process of American literature as an evolution, and it illustrates perilous and important chapters in American history. For a hundred years Pennsylvania was the seat of the ripest culture in America. The best libraries were to be found here, and the earliest and choicest reprints of Latin and English classics were made here. James Logan, a man of gentle nature and a scholar of rare attainments, had gathered at Stenton a library that comprehended books "so scarce that neither price nor prayers could purchase them." John Davis, the satirical English traveller, who said of Princeton that it was "a place more famous for its college than its learning," did justice, despite of his own nature, to Logan and to Philadelphia when he wrote: "The Greek and Roman authors, forgotten on their native banks of the Ilissus and Tiber, delight by the kindness of a Logan the votaries to learning on those of the Delaware ... Continue reading book >>

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