Last week Karen—a long-time reader of this blog—asked a question about the “Golden Texts” mentioned in many of Isabella Alden’s stories, including Gertrude’s Diary and The Exact Truth.
Where can I get one of these booklets that have these Golden Verses in them? Were they distributed in Sunday Schools as part of the materials?
The Golden Texts were a very popular teaching method used by Sunday-schools and missionary societies in the late 1800s.
In those days, almost every major Christian denomination—especially Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian—operated a publishing house as one of its departments.
They produced Golden Text lessons in the form of pamphlets and trading cards, which were styled and written for the most part to appeal to children, aged toddlers to teens.
The tradecard-style lesson below is No. 3 in a series about the Golden Texts found in the Book of Matthew. The card was produced by the publishing arm of the Presbyterian Church, and was intended to be used by Sunday-school teachers as a lesson help.
You can see the subscription rate to purchase cards on the reverse side:
Card No. 5 in the series features another Golden Text from the Book of Matthew:
Here’s an example of a Golden Text lesson card the American Baptists produced for their churches and ministries:
Not all the lessons were printed by churches. The publishing company of Ward & Drummond produced Golden Text lessons in pamphlet form for many years.
This Ward & Drummond pamphlet is bound with a paper boards and feature lovely artwork. The pamphlet measures just 2-3/4” by 4-1/4” so it could be tucked into a boy’s pocket or a girl’s purse.
The back cover displays Ward & Drummond’s contact information:
Some good news: This particular Ward & Drummond pamphlet is for sale on ebay! You can click here to see the listing.
Like Ward & Drummond, Cincinnati publishers Walden & Stowe specialized in publishing religious materials, like this 1881 “Picture Lesson Paper”:
It was printed on paper and bound by thread stitches on the spine. It features a Golden Text from Luke 1:46-47:
My soul doth magnify the Lord; and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
You can click on the image to see a PDF of the entire four-page leaflet.
Walden & Stowe published many Christian leaflets, including Sunday-school tracts written by Reverend Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, who helped direct the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.
Examples of Golden Text teaching aids—in both leaflet and postcard styles—often come up for sale on sites like ebay and Etsy, so it pays to check back often with both sites.