The Readex American Sermons databases have been acquired from the legacy of Dr. Mark Kaplanoff, Fellow of Pembroke College, who endowed the University Library with funds to support the study of the history of the United States in the University of Cambridge.
In the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, ministers and preachers delivered powerful weekly sermons that were often printed and distributed across the burgeoning colonies and towns of early America. In many communities, these sermons were the cornerstone of civic and political discourse, and played a pivotal role in shaping the culture, morals and politics of the British Colonies and the United States of America. American Sermons, 1652-1819, is the most comprehensive digital collection of these publications, providing more than 8,000 sermons printed between 1652 and 1819. Available in two series (1652-1795 and 1796-1819), this product offers text analysis tools, author biographies, and suggested search paths for easy browsing and discovery
A unique window into the American past
“The sermon has a range of eloquence that no other literary form can rival, though novelists, poets, playwrights, and secular orators have never stopped trying,” writes Yale professor Michael Warner. Indeed, sermons are widely regarded as the earliest and most enduring literary form in America—passionately delivered, keenly argued and concerned with both spiritual questions and reflections on civic duty. Almost any topic was fair game, from local gossip to slavery to witchcraft. As such, the sermons offer intriguing research opportunities for not only religious scholars and historians, but anyone interested in the daily life, politics, society, child-rearing and educational systems of early America. Additionally, these sermons provide contemporary cultural commentary on a range of important historical events, from the American Revolution to the abolition movement to immigration debates.
Records will be made available in iDiscover for titles in this collections.