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Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in Nineteenth Century America


This dataset is publicly available.

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The Sunday School Books dataset includes text from Sunday school books published between 1809 and 1887, and reflects the emerging diversity of Protestant Christian denominations in the United States during that period. Additionally, texts included also mark the appearance of a theologically inflected genre of juvenile literature, which was published by a variety of sectarian presses.

Shaping the Values of Youth: Sunday School Books in Nineteenth Century America was produced by Michigan State University with assistance from Central Michigan University. Sunday School Book Titles are drawn from the Russel B. Nye Popular Culture Collection, Michigan State University Libraries, and the Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, and was funded by a grant from the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition. The period of the grant was September 1999 to February 2001. Digitization was performed by staff of the Digital & Multimedia Center at Michigan State University. Scanning was performed without disbinding the original books.

To explore the collections, and read the books, visit the collection at the MSU Libraries' digital repository.

Data Summary


Plain-text copies of all 177 books are provided along with the TEI-encoded XML copies, from which the full-text is derived.

File Naming Conventions.

The name of each file corresponds to the unique ID of that document, which is listed as the first column in sunday_school_books_metadata.csv.


  • sunday_school_books_metadata.csv - Metadata for each document in CSV format
  • - Zipped file containing 177 text files
  • - Zipped file containing 177 TEI-encoded XML NOTE: These files do not appear as valid TEI due to some typographic anomalies, but they do use elements drawn from the <TEI.2> specification.

Data Quality

The text has been hand-transcribed and should have minimal errors.

Contact Us

If you have any questions or suggestions concerning this data, please send them to the Digital Scholarship Collaborative.

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