National Study of Youth and Religion
National Study of Youth and Religion National Study of Youth and Religion National Study of Youth and Religion  
Research Study
News
Publications
Resources
Events
Contact Us

Historical

Pahl, Jon. 2000. Youth Ministry in Modern America: 1930--Present. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers.

Howard, Agnes Rose. 1999. ""the Blessed Echoes of Truth": Catechisms and Confirmation in Puritan New England." Ph.D. Thesis, University of Virginia.
Abstract: This dissertation analyzes the role of catechesis in Puritan New England. Although other studies of early New England have noted the importance of catechisms, they stop short of a systematic examination of these documents and their usage. Placing New England catechisms in their European Protestant context, I examine the content and practice of this form of religious instruction. Employed in colonial churches, families, and schools, catechisms taught children the fundamental elements of Puritan theology, including the order of redemption, the right structure of the church, and the moral obligations of community life. Catechizing helped to build doctrinal literacy among the laity. As conversion narratives reveal, Puritans found catechisms important elements in the process of religious formation. While religious instruction in New England substantially resembled the practice of other European Protestants, colonists departed from it in one important respect. Many early modern Protestants used catechizing to prepare youth for confirmation and full communion in their churches. Massachusetts settlers did not, at first, use catechisms this way. The Cambridge Platform did not include a confirmation ceremony. However, as ministers confronted problems surrounding children and the sacraments later in the seventeenth century, they reconsidered this rite. Some clergy looked to Protestant confirmation as a means to bring baptized children nearer to adult membership. However, while the church context of catechizing varied among New England congregations, inside and outside of the meetinghouse, New England colonists employed catechisms to cultivate piety and transmit doctrine to each rising generation. [Source: DA]

Mieras, Emily. 1998. "A More Perfect Sympathy: College Students and Social Service, 1889-1914." Ph.D. Thesis, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg.
Abstract: This dissertation examines the rise of social service work among college students between 1889 and 1914, arguing that such service was a new phenomenon that both defined a distinct youth culture based on social responsibility and redefined the American middle class. Advocates of student service believed that educated young women and men had unique qualifications for helping others, that they could bridge the gap between economic and social classes, that service would help develop student character, and that reform work would enhance the practical value of a college education. For the predominantly white middle-class students who answered the call for social consciousness, service among immigrants and the urban poor became a rite of passage. In their interactions with the "other half," these young people both tested and reasserted prevailing notions of what it meant to be young, white, educated women or men. While students challenged traditional gender identities for themselves, they reinforced them among the working-class and immigrant populations they encountered. Student service work emerged from three different, interrelated venues of social reform: Protestant Evangelical religious groups, the women's academic community and research universities. The dissertation investigates these different strands through case studies of three settlement houses where college students worked: the first run by University of Pennsylvania Christian Association members in Philadelphia; the second sponsored by women college alumnae in Boston; and the third, in Chicago, associated with Northwestern University. These examples demonstrate the interplay between changing conceptions of gender, the growing connection between universities and social welfare, and the Protestant impulses that motivated many reformers. In all these cases, those who promoted reform were as concerned with training college women and men to be socially conscious citizens as with reforming the immigrant, working-class people those students encountered in the cities. Their efforts helped create an intuitive association between youth and social responsibility that underlies modern-day community service programs on college campuses. [Source: DA]

King, Brian C. 1996. "Lutheran Young People's Societies to 1895." Currents in Theology and Mission vol. 23, pp. 347-355.

Coburn, Carol K. 1988. "Religion, Gender and Education among the German-Lutherans of Block, Kansas, 1868-1945." Ph.D. Thesis, University of Kansas.
Abstract: Since the mid 1960s, historians of education have begun to look at ethnicity, and to a lesser extent gender and religion, as key factors in the creation, function, and transformation of the public school system. However, even as historians of education have broadened their perspective beyond the white male, middle-class educational experience, they have concentrated most research on school attendance, public school settings, and urban populations. By contrast with history of education scholars, social historians have focused extensively on differences in gender, ethnicity, and religion, attempting to analyze the experiences of "common people." However, much of this research tends to view education only in terms of school experience. This interdisciplinary study attempts to explore and integrate perspectives in history of education, social history and women's studies by studying the interaction of religion, gender and education in a rural-ethnic community in Eastern Kansas. The term 'education' is used in its broadest sense to include values, beliefs and the transmission of culture across generations. Extensive church records and primary documents are combined with oral interviews to provide a plethora of sources and information spanning four generations. In order to avoid the oft used public/private gender dichotomy, this research focuses on four networks of association: church, school, family, outside world. This theoretical framework provides the opportunity to analyze generational change, the male-defined institutions of church and parochial school, the affects of the rural environment on assimilation, and the interdependency of women, men and children in the family and community setting. Although the study explores many themes, some conclusions can be drawn. Aided by rural isolation, Block's protective and insular institutions of church and school functioned with unparalleled authority, staving off religious and cultural threats to its unity. Block's third generation, bolstered by economic needs and the anti-German hysteria of World War I, began to enter the "outside world" and breakdown the homogeneous networks of association. Women gained autonomy through their domestic production and their adolescent experiences of working as "hired girls." [Source: DA]

Loomis, Barbara Diane. 1988. "Piety and Play: Young Women's Leisure in an Era of Evangelical Religion, 1790-1840." Ph.D. Thesis, University of California Berkeley.
Abstract: In the years of the Second Great Awakening, from the 1790s to 1837, thousands of young American women faced a crucial decision: whether to enjoy themselves in youthful fun or to follow the more austere regimen required by the revivalistic, Protestant churches. As a result of the growing militance of evangelical Protestantism, the ways in which people occupied their free time became an issue of pressing public concern. Religion and recreation are not necessarily incompatible. But in the early decades of the nineteenth century, the particular tenets of the evangelical denominations in the United States forced their followers to choose between the pursuit of amusements and the habits of a truly devout life. The perception of a fundamental tension between the urgings of the flesh and the desire for a higher spirituality reflected a long tradition of religious and ethical concerns that antedated the teachings of early nineteenth-century Protestantism. And some of the complaints against such amusements as dancing were, by the nineteenth century, already very old. However, the issue of young women's leisure surfaced in the period 1790 to 1840 in ways that revealed tensions which were unique to those years. Changes that had been a long time in the making suddenly crystallized, especially changes in the ways in which young people met and selected a partner for life. Alterations in the nature of parental authority, the increasing power of the peer group in guiding young people's behavior, uncertainties about what was proper in the interaction between the sexes, fears about widening class differences and new habits of consumption--all of these significant historical developments were reflected in the belief of evangelical church leaders that feminine leisure activities constituted an urgent problem. Evangelicals stood squarely opposed to the frivolous youth subculture that had become increasingly conspicuous by the end of the eighteenth century. [Source: DA]

Parkerson, D. H. and J. A. Parkerson. 1988. "Fewer Children of Greater Spiritual Quality - Religion and the Decline of Fertility in 19th-Century America." Social Science History vol. 12, pp. 49-70.

Brickley, Lynne Templeton. 1985. "Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy, 1792 - 1833." Ed.D. Thesis, Harvard University.
Abstract: Established in 1792, Sarah Pierce's Litchfield Female Academy was one of the first major educational institutions for women in the United States. The Connecticut school was founded and administered by a woman, enrolled as many as one hundred and forty students at a time, drew pupils from throughout the republic, and evolved a highly academic curriculum during its forty-one year existence. The role of the early female academies in shaping later developments in the history of women's education in the United States has been ignored or misinterpreted in the scholarly literature. The history of Sarah Pierce's school documents the extent to which such institutions provided important new educational opportunities for women in the opening decades of the nineteenth century. The study is based on archival materials including student diaries and journals, correspondence, compositions, teachers' journals and writings, and institutional documents. Materials on other educational institutions of the period have been used to provide a comparative context and major prescriptive writings of the era are examined to trace their influence on the development of Sarah Pierce's educational philosophy and the evolution of the school's curriculum. The thesis investigated the reasons for the emergence of the school in Litchfield, Connecticut, exploring the support provided by the leading families of the town. Through an examination of enrollments, the geographic distribution of the student body, family backgrounds and socio-economic status, the study draws a collective portrait of the more than 1,500 students known to have attended the school. The examination of the forty-year evolution of the curriculum challenges conventional assumptions as to the intellectual rigors of education at early female academies, especially when compared to the curricula at the major male academies and colleges of the period. The study explores the many ways in which religion permeated every aspect of life at the school, focusing on female adolescent conversion crises. The family boarding system, social life, courtship and marriage are also examined in terms of the influence academy attendance exerted on the students' lives. Throughout the study materials are presented which create a vivid portrait of the daily life of students at the Litchfield Female Academy. The students' writings present a new and fascinating insight into the world of educated young women of the early republic. [Source: DA]

Thompson, Roger. 1984. "Adolescent Culture in Colonial Massachusetts." Journal of Family History vol. 9, pp. 127-144.
Abstract: Examined are 4 issues in recent research on adolescence in early modern society: the recognition of a distinctive age period between puberty & marriage, parent-teenager relationships, adolescent sexuality, & youth culture. An investigation of these topics in seventeenth-century New England is conducted using court, town, & church records from Middlesex County, Mass, from 1649 to 1699. The 26 reported incidents involving groups of young people suggest the presence of a youth culture in the county, especially in Charlestown & Cambridge, but also evident in 8 other towns. This culture emerged during the 1660s, possibly in the institutional context of the militia, & members were from all SCs. It is concluded that adolescence was generally recognized as a distinct stage of life & that a marked generation gap existed. Youth culture represented an alternative to norms & values of the adult world & puritan patriarchalism, transcending SC & religious distinctions & with enough institutional regularity to be regarded as more than just a subgroup of deviants. Implications are provided for future research & revisions in current studies of family dynamics, generational relations, the pathology of conversion, & puritan sexual attitudes. [Source: SA]

Schwartz, Hillel. 1974. "Adolescence and Revivals in Ante-Bellum Boston." Journal of Religious History vol. 8, pp. 144-158.
Abstract: In the early 1800s, adult images of youth encouraged the impression that religious revivals were primarily adolescent phenomena. Revivalists who came to Boston between 1820 and 1845 - C. G. Finney, John Maffitt, E. N. Kirk and Jacob Knapp - equated the character of adolescence with the qualities of true conversion. Anti-revivalists, reluctant or unable to deal with the sexual implications of puberty (especially in young women), divorced true conversion from the sudden passions of youth and accused revivalists of pandering to adolescent emotions. Whether or not adolescents were the majority of revival converts, revivalist and anti-revivalist alike expected converts in revivals to act in conformity with their coherent perception of adolescence. [Source: RI]

Banner, Lois W. 1971. "Religion and Reform in the Early Republic: The Role of Youth." American Quarterly vol. 23, pp. 677-695.

Beales, Ross Worn Jr. 1971. "Cares for the Rising Generation: Youth and Religion in Colonial New England." Ph.D. Thesis, University of California, Davis, Davis.

National Study of Youth and Religion


The National Study of Youth and Religion, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., is under the direction of Dr. Christian Smith, Professor of Sociology at the University of Notre Dame, and Dr. Lisa Pearce, Assistant Professor of Sociology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.