Muncie fact of the day

This is from 1891 to 1902, and that is Muncie, Indiana in case you do not know.  Get this:

Horatio Alger was by far the most popular author: 5 percent of all books checked out were by him, despite librarians who frowned when boys and girls sought his rags-to-riches novels (some libraries refused to circulate Alger’s distressingly individualist books).

Our culture has changed.  There is also this:

Louisa May Alcott is the only author who remains both popular and literary today (though her popularity is far less). “Little Women” was widely read, but its sequel “Little Men” even more so, perhaps because it was checked out by boys, too. The remaining authors at the top of the list — Charles Fosdick, Oliver Optic, Martha Finley, L. T. Meade and others — have vanished from memory. Francis Marion Crawford, whose novels were chiefly set in Italy and the Orient, was checked out 2,120 times, whereas Dickens, Walter Scott and Shakespeare circulated 672, 651 and 201 times respectively. Fiction was overwhelmingly preferred, accounting for 92 percent of books read in 1903.

The article is interesting throughout.


Comments for this post are closed