Yes, there were as many moralistic 'Sunday School' books published in the UK in Victorian times as there were in the USA - maybe more! Usually, as Barbara says, published by RTS, but also by SPCK. I have quite a collection of them from late-Victorian times - but they were still being given as Sunday School prizes into the 30s and 40s. Many of my collection have prize plates showing that they were from Salvation Army, Baptist or Methodist Sunday Schools (although none of my Methodist Sunday School prizes from the 50s were of the 'Elsie' type!) and were reprint of Victorian books. The first Elsie book was published in 1867 and the last in 1905.

'Pale and interesting' sounds as if it should come from the Ancient Greeks somehow; and I imagine the Pre-Raphaelite women reclining in languid positions would have looked 'P & I' too! (They do on the paintings, anyway). I suppose in the days when women prized a fair skin and kept out of the sun for this reason, they would have to be pale to be interesting to men. I have a very fair skin, and in the winter when my freckles have faded I'm often told I look 'pale' and I'm asked if I'm feeling ill!

----- Original Message ----- From: "Barbara Dryden" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: [GO] WSVS Topic 4: Part I

While researching answers for the quiz, I have been astonished to find that there are 'Christian publishers' in the USA who are still printing books first published for the Sunday School trade in the nineteenth century and recommending them as valuable Christian tales. I happen to enjoy these old books myself but would hardly suggest them for family reading today.
I'm rather hazy about the dates of the Elsie books. The UK-published books I am thinking of, usually published by RTS, tend to emphasise practical Christianity e.g. mission work in the East End of London, rather than personal holiness. An example would be Miss Nettie's Girls, 1887.

Claire wrote
2. Sunday School Books

I was wondering - were the highly didactic moralistic 'Sunday School' books an American Phenomenon? Or were British Children also subjected to these awful stories? Judging from Joey & Co's reaction to the Elsie books, they must have been somewhat outside the usual story books read by schoolgirls in the 20s/30s, but was that just a factor of time - that is, were similar stories appearing in the UK at the same time as, say, the Elsie books?

-- Barbara Dryden

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