"Revolutionary America! 1763-1789 April 20-November 3, 2002

Faith and Literacy

photo of exhibit section
On the right section of the photo:

PRINT of a scene depicting a Quaker wedding

    --Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, West Branch IA
RELIGIOUS BOOKS and PAMPHLETS - 1793 Congregational Doctrines, 1693 German Bible, 1757 Lecture, 1758 Psalm Book, 1765 Sermon, 1786 Lutheran Liturgy published in German
  On loan from the collection of:
    --James Hicks, Iowa City IA
    -- University of Iowa Main Library, Special Collections, Iowa City IA
On the left section of the photo:
SAMPLERS from the 1700s
    --Lou and Colleen Picek, Main Street Antiques and Art, West Branch IA
    --Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence RI
    --Old York Historical Society, York ME
POWDERHORN of curved cowhorn, inscribed "Success to Emarica" c. 1776
    --Old York Historical Society, York ME
EDUCATIONAL BOOKS - 1789 Textbook by Noah Webster, 1785 Alphabet, 1787 and 1800 Primers
    --University of Iowa Main Library, Special Collections, Iowa City IA

FAITH and LITERACY
Liberty Ordained by God

Free from religious persecution in America, colonial churches thrived, including Congregational, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, Dutch or German Reformed, Lutheran, Catholic, and also Quaker meetinghouses and Jewish synagogues. Rebels and Patriots considered American Anglicans (the Church of England) to be a dangerous enemy, while many Loyalists to the King believed that the Revolution was a religious quarrel caused by Presbyterians and Congregationalists.

In order to read the Bible, literacy was common in the upper and middle classes. Grammar schools, private tutoring, and the few colonial colleges were well attended by males, yet women were rarely encouraged to learn more than basic reading and writing. Issues of the day were distributed via newspapers, pamphlets or broadsides tacked up in public squares. Town criers would broadcast breaking news from a street corner.
Spelling was creative, and colonists didn't worry much about tenses, singulars or plurals, or punctuation. The following sentence is an example: "The fellows acke and panes was very bad!"

 

Who Were We? Sub-Sections
Three Georgraphic Regions
  Slave Chains
  Daniel Boone, Trailblazer to the West
Colonial Society
  Fashion
Health
Faith and Literacy (You are here)
The Taverns
  Wine Glasses of George and Martha Washington

 

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