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The Queer, the Strange, and the Curious In St. Nicholas: Cross-Culturallsm In the Nineteenth Century by Greta D. Little R. Gordon KeHy1S Mother Was a Ladv has demonstrated the value of examining children's periodical literature of the late nineteenth century as a means of discovering the values promoted by society at that time. His focus Is on aspects of our own culture and how they are advocated. He does not touch on cross-cultural themes. However, the highly acclaimed St Nicholas has numerous articles which inform readers about the world at large, about people who are not Ike the typical upper mkkfte dass chldren who subscribed to the magazine. I thought It would be interesting to see just how much cross-cultural content there was In St. Nicholas and what kinds of attitudes toward other cultures were being disseminated to young people of the late nineteenth century. So I examined twelve of the first fifteen volumes of the magazine (HX, Xl, and XV). For my investigation I considered an Kern to be cross-cultural if It was set ki another country, was translated from the folklore of another society, or explained the customs of another people. I included American Indians and American Blacks as représentative of other cultures, but did not include Great Britain. Sometimes I was uncomfortable with the exclusion of Britain because the articles ki question (such as "The Lord Mayor of London's Show" or "London Mirkwoman") were clearly explaining an aspect of British culture the author beteved the American audence to be unfamiliar with. Nevertheless, for the sake of consistency I did not Include these as examples of cross-cultural content. As a result, my figures are probably conservative. I found myself making fairly arbitrary decisions ki considering some of the fiction when some of the characters were blacks, lndtens or natives of other tends, if one of the major characters represented another culture, I counted it as an example of cross-culturalsm. For example, in "The Fairport Nine," a serial about a basebaH team, one of the players is black and is an active protagonist throughout the story, if, however, the maki characters were mainstream American or British, and their contact with the other culture was Incidental, then I did not include the story, Since several of the serials ki St Nicholas are peripatetic adventures, there were frequent instances where one or two chapters of a story concerned another culture, but that setting or theme was not typical of the entire story, I did not include them as cross-cultural examples, so once again I think my counts are on the conservative side. For the twelve volumes between 1873 and 1888 that I examined, the percentages ranged from 15% to 23%: Volume I 19% Volume Il17% Volume III21% Volume IV15% Volume V 17% Volume Vl18% Volume VII19% Volume VIII22% Volume IX15% Volume Xl23% Volume XV17% For such consistent pattern of inclusion, we might suspect an editorial policy dictating a certain amount of crosscultural material. 49 Mary Mapes Dodge was editor of St, Nicholas from its beginning ki 1873 until her death ki 1905, it is widely agreed that hers was the guiding hand in forging the magazine's character, Her stated poRcies were as follows: 1 , To give clean, genuine fun to children of all ages, 2,To give examples of the finest types of boyhood and girlhood. 3,To inspire them with a fine appreciation of pictorial art. 4,To cultivate the imagination in profitable directions, 5,To foster a love of country, home, nature, truth, beauty, sincerity. 6,To prepare boys and girls for life as it Is. 7,To stimulate their ambitions-but along normally progressive Ikies. 8,To keep pace with a fast-moving world in all its activities, 9,To give reading matter which every parent may pass to his chldren unhesitatingly, Although she does not directly state a policy related to cross-cultural content at least two of her policies would contribute to the inclusion of cross-cultural material. The most obvious is number eight, keeping pace with the world, but number six, too, preparing for life as it is, contributes to St Nicholas' commitment to...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1553-1201
Print ISSN
0885-0429
Pages
pp. 49-52
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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