Religious Revivals and Revivalism in 1830s New England
In the first half of the 19th century, America experienced a renewed interest in religion. Contemporaries noted that throughout the United States revivals of religion were regularly occurring. The signs of this phenomenon were increasing church memberships, missionary zeal at home and abroad, and the proliferation of religious meetings during the week. Frontier regions in particular were scenes of the most emotional revivals. Indeed, in Kentucky, the Rev. James McCready held the first camp meeting in July of 1800.i Perhaps the most intense and dramatic example of revivalism, and certainly the best known, occurred in upstate New York, in "the burnt-over district." However, like the rest of the nation, New England too witnessed its share of religious revivalism in its many forms.
Participants in revivals ascribed their occurrence and success to the workings of the Holy Spirit. Contemporary critics as well as modern historians have. advanced other explanations. The emotional need of people living under the rigors of factory life, or those of the frontier, in a society beginning to undergo profound changes, is a frequently used explanation for revivalism's popularity. Quite often an ambitious preacher would latch upon the sudden death of a child, the spontaneous conversion of some renowned local reprobate, or some other recent dramatic event to stir the fear and awe of a people deemed ripe for a revival. Consciously or not, revivals were also to many, social occasions and entertainments.ii One Irish laborer brought a friend to a revival service, assuring him, "The meeting was as good as a theatre."iii Most ministers certainly were motivated by devotion to God and concern for the salvation of sinners; yet some were moved by less noble forces. Of the latter, the majority sought prestige and an easy living. In extreme cases, however, preachers were accused of being inspired by lust, desire for power, drug addiction, and greed.iv "There is nothing new under the sun."v
Historian William Sweet saw three basic types of revivals in the early 19th century. (While this construct of orthodox, non-orthodox [e.g., Methodist], and "new measure" orthodox revivals is useful, the actual situation was varied and complex. Revivals produced both intradenominational and interdenominational divisions, as well as interdenominational cooperation and synthesis.) The first were revivals among the most orthodox Calvinists. These produced new church members, to be sure, and increased community involvement in religious and charitable matters. Sturbridge witnessed two Congregationalist revivals: that of 1826 produced 55 converts, and that of 1831 produced 44 converts.vi During a local revival of this type, a weeknight lecture or prayer service was usually added to the regular Sabbath exercises. Ministers took a more active role by this, and did more visiting with people. Sometimes this work was undertaken by a single local minister; at other times, several area clergymen joined forces to promote a revival. They shared the work of preaching, praying, and visiting, this also giving their flocks some variety as well. On occasion this ministerial cooperation crossed sectarian lines, and a Baptist preacher might be heard in a Congregational meetinghouse.vii
Orthodox revivals were generally staid affairs. The fatalistic predestination of Calvinist theology was awkwardly juxtaposed to the guilt and depravity of sinners in need of spiritual salvation. While there certainly were conversion experiences that stirred souls, the somber and well-educated Congregationalist clergy frowned upon extravagant emotion and any innovation smacking of impropriety. The noted Congregational revivalist Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., wished to stir up his audiences so little that if a meeting began to show signs of violent feeling, he broke it up.viii
One observer at a midweek Congregationalist meeting reported witnessing a spiritually abstract tour de force. by a scholarly preacher which, given the doctrine of predestination, was a calculating, dismal, and almost hopeless paradox.
"The preacher [had a stern face]; and instead of offering the bosom of sympathy, and inviting the poor troubled sinner to lean upon it, he presents a sword to the sinner's own bosom; and his language is, 'I must probe this festering wound to the quick; I must cut off this fatal gangrene . . .'
"The metaphysical part of this discourse, which was four fifths of it, was a piece of as chilling ratiocination as I ever heard from the mathematical chair at Oxford. The preacher displayed his metaphysical apparatus, he drew forth his sharpest instruments, and, though he was cutting the heart strings of the people, or thought he was, he did it mechanically and coldly as ever did [a] surgical apparatus. He seemed to think the human heart was to be approached by a regular system of tactics. Everything, with him, indeed, was a matter of system. He gloried to Calvinism as the only plan of doctrine by which sinners could be driven to conviction and utter despair of themselves . . . ."ix
At the other end of the spectrum of New England Protestantism were the more emotional and "hopeful" denominations. Branded by the orthodox as Arminians because of their rejection of predestination, these were primarily represented by the Methodists and the Free-Will Baptists. These groups believed that people could, by an act of self-will, accept salvation from Christ. While these denominations expanded most rapidly outside of New England, even here they enjoyed a great deal of success at obtaining converts relative to their more somber Calvinist brethren. Yearly they became more numerous and established, and their revival methods increasingly influenced the orthodox.x
Prior to the 1830s many of these groups, which drew especially but not exclusively from the ranks of the poor, had few meetinghouses to call their own. Although they met most commonly in schoolhouses or private homes, they also met in borrowed meetinghouses, factories, and even taverns.l0 With a highly organized episcopal system the Methodists provided itinerant preachers who rode established circuits to serve a number of small congregations. Many of these congregations could not support their minister. One Baptist reverend recalled the commencement of his career in the 1820s in southeastern Connecticut: "Our Baptist tradition, bearing upon the ministerial life, was for the minister to follow some honorable [secular] calling to afford him support, and then preach . . . ."xi
By the 1830s, however, these groups increasingly had their own meetinghouses, and a settled clergy. Still, the educational standards for these ministers were considerably lower than were those for the orthodox. A year or two at a small, undistinguished seminary, or even just an "apprenticeship" of sorts and probationary preaching were all the training a Methodist or Free-Will Baptist minister was likely to undergo. They, like much of their flocks, were typically from humble backgrounds. Jabez Swan, the preacher quoted above, once said, "I could never preach in a new suit of clothes til I had worn them through a rain storm. "xii Such men usually preached extemporaneously, or only from a rough outline. They used common language, and won the working class over better than the schooled Calvinists. Their "libraries" were often no more than a Bible and sometimes a book or two of commentary. Arguing for a more common approach to the ministry, evangelist Charles G. Finney observed: "Great sermons lead the people to praise the preacher. Good preaching leads the people to praise the Saviour."xiii Ministers of this cast did not fear emotion. They would, "hold an all-night prayer meeting and wrestle with God until the day dawned."xiv It was observed of one anonymous
"He woos the soul to heaven! He works upon the passions. The medium through which he operates, is social sympathy."xv
More will be said later of the revival services of these sects. For now, the report of a Methodist revival service, at 9:00 p.m. on a weeknight, will suffice.
"As I entered, I observed at the farther end of the chapel, in an enclosure, about which was a slight railing a person with his hands crossed and partly folded in each other, and with an air of pious abstraction in his whole demeanor, walking back and forwards, and singing . . . a very soothing strain of music. It was in the solemn measure of a chant, or recitative, and the sentiment agreed well with the tone of it, being an invitation to the sinful, the sorrowful and heavy laden, 'to come to Jesus.' This is the burden of many of their sacred songs, of whose power, you can scarcely have any idea, without hearing them . . . .
"The music soon ceased, and the minister of the congregation came forward, and in very gentle and affectionate tones, invited all who were anxious for their salvation to approach the altar, that they might receive his counsel and the prayers of their Christian friends. About thirty, as I judged, went out from the mass of the congregation, and kneeled down around the altar. The minister then spoke to them of their situation and feelings, in a manner that was really paternal. There was no harshness in his language, and he used no denunciation. He spoke with . . . much tenderness and sympathy . . . .
"When the exhortation was over, he invited them to join in prayer. There were several persons around the minister, and within the altar, who kneeled down together, and some of them as their feelings prompted, prayed in succession . . . . The tone . . . was generally mild, and even when it arose to vociferation, it appeared to be the vociferation of affectionate and earnest entreaty . . . . There was no formality, no praying by rule or appointment. It was a series of prayers, or rather one continued intercession, and each one who led the devotions of the others, seemed to do so from the immediate promptings of his feelings. Others, at the same time, accompanied the most interesting petitions, with exclamations of 'Amen,' or 'God grant it,' or 'we beseech thee!' . . . . Every now and then, in the brief intervals of this service, the sweet singer . . . lifted up his voice, commonly singing one or two stanzas, such as occurred to him at the moment, and admirably adapting his selections to what had been uttered in prayer or exhortation . . . ."xvi
Midway between the cold Calvinists and the maudlin 'Arminians' stood that famous revivalist, Charles G. Finney. Finney, and his colleagues such as Jedediah Burchard, Horatio Foote, "Father" Nash, and dozens of others, were ordained by the Congregational/Presbyterian orthodoxy, but adopted the methods of the Methodists and Free-Will Baptists. Starting out in the 1820s in the "burned-over district" in New York state, Finney and others conducted revivals in several New England cities as well by the 1830s. Finney tried to avoid the sticky issue of predestination, and brought evangelism to the Calvinist fold. Asahel Nettleton and Lyman Beecher, two champions of Congregationalist revivals, at first condemned Finney's methods. "The new measures which so aroused the conservative revivalists was his practice of inviting people under conviction to come forward and occupy . . . 'The anxious bench'; of praying for people by name in public meetings, especially in cottage prayer meetings . . .; in permitting women to pray in public . . . and of using . . . 'undignified means' of advertising his meetings. "17xvii Yet when Finney met Beecher in Boston, the latter was won over, and the two became friends. Although they would later quarrel over certain matters of doctrine, in the 1830s they were on such good terms that Beecher invited Finney to lead a revival in his own church. As for Nettleton, he became pastor of the short-lived revivalistic Hartford Free Church (later the Fourth Congregational Church).
Finney justified his methods this way:
"Look at the Methodists. Many of their ministers are unlearned, in the common sense of the term, many of them taken right from the shop or the farm, and yet they have gathered congregations . . . and won souls everywhere. Wherever the Methodists have gone, their plain, pointed and simple, but warm and animated mode of preaching has always gathered congregations. Few Presbyterian ministers have gathered so large assemblies or won so many souls. Now are we to be told that we must pursue the same old, formal mode of doing things, amidst all these changes . . .? It is impossible that the public mind should be held by such preaching. We must have exciting, powerful preaching, or the devil will have the people, except what the Methodists can save . . . . Many ministers are finding it out already, that a Methodist preacher, without the advantages of a liberal education, will draw a congregation around him which a Presbyterian minister, with perhaps ten times as much learning, cannot equal, because he has not the earnest manner of the other, and does not pour out fire upon his hearers when he preaches."xviii
Jedediah Burchard put it more pointedly:
"They [the orthodox] are so wrapt up in prejudice, that they don't care if men all go to hell, if they won't be saved exactly according to their notions."xix
Finney, Burchard, Nash and others all borrowed methods and mannerisms from one another. Their energetic preaching, in turn, became prototypical for a growing cadre of evangelists:
"The imitator of Finney and Nash 'must throw himself back and forward just as far as they did; and must if strong enough, smite as hard upon his chair, besides imitating their wonderful drawl and familiarity with God." Hand clapping, wild gesticulation, and the shift of voice from shout to whisper added visual and auditory sensation to a theatrical performance. The evangelist had time to study manners, since a small stock of sermons could be frequently repeated in his cruising routine.xx
Another feature of this breed of preacher was the free use of vivid, powerful imagery. Jedediah Burchard, an actor and circus performer before he became a minister, once asked an audience:
"Do you know what hell is? Well, I'll tell you; and I'll tell you, too, it's real. An ocean of liquid burning brimstone, that is daily replenished. It is walled in by great walls guarded by devils armed with pitchforks. High on the crest of the waves of fire, the damned soul is swept toward this wall, where the sinner thinks he may find at least temporary rest, but when at last he has managed to climb part way out of this sea of fire he suddenly finds himself pitchforked back and swept out by the receding tide."xxi
Perhaps New England was not engulfed by evangelical revivalism the way New York state was, but it certainly saw its share of charismatic religion. Boston and Hartford witnessed Finney's revivals; Burchard's revivals penetrated well into Vermont and New Hampshire; Freewill Baptist Jacob Knapp held revivals in many New England cities, though not without trouble: he was mobbed in Boston and arrested in Providence. Small towns hosted dozens of lesser names, such as the Reverend Jabez Swan, who went about southeastern Connecticut preaching, baptizing, and expelling demons.
The well-organized Methodists had many types of religious meetings on a regular basis. A practice which particularly scandalized the orthodox was the active participation of women in quasi-leadership positions. Although they sometimes went so far as to preach before a mixed audience, or spoke in tongues, they more often witnessed, testified, exhorted, or led female prayer groups.xxii
Protracted meetings were a favorite tool of revivalists. One or more local ministers, with or without an itinerant evangelist, planned and conducted these events. For three, four, or sometimes as many as thirty consecutive afternoons and evenings the people gathered for prayer, preaching, and exhortation. The church members would, "go out into the highways and hedges and bring people to hear preaching whenever they are called upon to do so . . . . [L]ittle slips of paper, on which was printed an invitation to attend the services, would be carried from house to houses in every direction . . . ."xxiii These meetings most often took place in church buildings, but also were held in schools, fields, and factories. Thus Congregational revivals took on characteristics of the dissenting sects.
The "new measures" of the evangelists were often especially appealing to young mill operatives. When machinery broke down, or when water was too low to run the mill, evangelists often moved in to seek converts, at the invitation of the mill owners. (Were the owners truly concerned for the salvation of their workers or did they merely realize that this was a harmless, even beneficial, diversion?) Usually filled with the noises of industry, the mills rang with, "exhortations, prayers, and the shouts of the redeemed."xxiv The mill ponds proved convenient for the baptism of converts, and participants felt that, "God was in the mill."xxv Sturbridge's Baptist minister Zenas Leonard was a mill agent himself, and the son-in-law of a textile mill owner. He was especially interested in preaching to mill operatives. Alvan Bond, the Congregationalist minister in Sturbridge, recalled one revival in a mill warehouse attic, with rough board seats and a rude board pulpit.xxvi Another place many mill operatives, as well as people from all walks of life, gathered to worship and socialize was the camp meeting.
Camp meetings were, for the Methodists, the regional equivalent of the local protracted meetings. The faithful (and the curious) from a large area, sometimes from as far away as fifty or a hundred miles, gathered on a wooded site for three to eight days to participate (or observe). (Though it was unusual for a camp meeting to last over the Sabbath, some did.) Many slept in tents, either by family or by local society, but it was also common for people living nearby to return home nightly. Conversely, some locals slept over on the camp grounds, even if they lived close by. Camp meetings were especially popular with the Methodists, who also held other regular meetings: conventions, prayer meetings, class meetings, and so on. By the 1820s, camp meetings were an established part of the Methodist regional routine in New England. Where as the local protracted meeting held in a church was well suited to the long evenings of winter (though by no means exclusively so), the camp meeting was a summertime phenomenon. Summoned by newspaper ads, printed hand bills, word of mouth, and especially their local ministers, busy mechanics, farmers, and mill operatives came to escape worldly cares for a few days. Under a canopy of trees they socialized, prayed, sang, heard a variety of preachers, felt the power of God, and often tussled with, "the family of Cain"xxvii (rowdy outsiders), or the disapproving orthodox.
A camp meeting's committee of arrangements tried to lease a wooded grove, and as much of the surrounding land as possible, as a buffer zone. They cleared out the underbrush, leaving the tall trees as a majestic shading canopy. In the center they set up rows of pews on either side of a wide central aisle. These pews were planks spiked onto stumps, logs, or pilings. Usually men sat on one side of the aisle, women on the other. Surrounding the pews were the tents -- up to a hundred or more of them -- owned by families or by societies. In front of the seats was the altar, also called the anxious seats.
This was a twenty-five foot square enclosure full of benches for "the anxious," that is, those under conviction who sought conversion. Finally, in front of this enclosure, usually on the north side, was the preacher's stand. This was a rude board platform, perhaps 12' x 16', six feet high, with a roof over it. It was from here that as many as a dozen or more ministers in turn preached, prayed, exhorted, and led singing. At times there was lodging space in the stand for some ministers, and the space beneath the stand served as a jail for the disruptive.xxviii We have one reference to the cost of setting up a camp meeting: $200.xxix
As people arrived at a camp meeting, there was activity as the faithful greeted each other and set up their tents.xxx The first night of the meeting, the service would usually begin with singing. A preacher started a song, and the congregation picked it up. Many of these songs were simple, familiar hymns easily remembered. There were hymnals printed just for camp meetings, however. Furthermore, there was no instrument of accompaniment: The injunction in Genesis 4:21 was taken seriously. There was also no sermon this night. After a while, exhortation alternated with the singing, eliciting congregational ejaculations of "Amen!", "Glory!", or "Jesus!" As the penitent came forward to the anxious seats, exhortations and singing became simultaneous. Ministers and others also entered this altar area, encouraging the anxious to pray and give their hearts to Christ. Many were "slain," that is, swooned under the power of the Spirit; some danced and shouted; some cried. Around 10:00 p.m. the service broke up. Visitors left the ground and members retired to their tents, where individual prayer meetings or counseling of converts continued into the night.
At 5:00 or 5:30 a.m. people rose, often to trumpet blasts. Then came a time for family prayer, followed by breakfast. Sometimes a brief communal prayer service occurred prior to breakfast as well. After breakfast, a bell or trumpet called worshippers to the morning service. There was often spontaneous singing until all were assembled, then the ministers moved to the stand, or the altar, from whence they offered prayers as the people knelt at their seats. Sometimes exhortations and invitations to the anxious were given, or new converts gave testimony. At around 11:00 a.m. the principal sermon was preached. This was not always preached by an ordained minister, but could be delivered by an elder or lay preacher. This was the only time at a camp meeting when there was a chance that a prepared address might be read instead of the usual extemporaneous sermon. A song could follow the sermon, then people ate their dinner around noon or 12:30.
After about 2:00 p.m. the faithful were summoned back for another service. Starting in the afternoon and on into the evening more outsiders drifted onto the ground. The afternoon meeting was more of the same praying and preaching with singing and exhorting sometimes added. Around 5:00 p.m. there was a break, when the clergy met in individual tents and at the altar with small groups for prayer, song, and encouragement. Tea was around 6:00 p.m.
About 7:30 the evening service began. This was the most well-attended, as there were a lot of visitors in addition to those camping out. Furthermore, this service usually was the most exciting. It typically saw the most converts, as well as disruption by outside elements. These later could be heckling Calvinists who objected to the physically expressive nature of the members; they could be peddlers hawking wares; or they could be scoffers and rowdies. Certain members of the faithful might fight with these elements, either driving them off or imprisoning them under the preacher's stand, or a civil constable was sometimes retained by the meeting organizers to arrest the disruptive. The excitement of the prayers and preaching caused many people to be "slain," that is fall prostrate in front of the stand; or to dance, shout, and clap their hands. At times people spoke in tongues. Exhortations became more powerful:
"Go, sinner; go to hell and be ruined forever, and I will say, amen! Go on, if you want to, after all that has been done for you by a dying Savior and a living ministry . . “xxxi
"Three good unimpeachable witnesses were sufficient to cause any man in the congregation to be hung by the neck, until he was dead, DEAD, DEAD, if he was guilty, and as every sinner was guilty, and under sentence of death, they must die unless a mediator was applied for, who was willing and able to save all who applied."xxxii
As with the first night's service, people retired around 10:00, although services might continue in the individual tents until dawn if there was enough excitement.
The remaining days of the camp meeting repeated this pattern. If there was a good deal of rain, the preaching would be done in a few individual tents. At the conclusion of the camp meeting, converts were sometimes baptized. Or there might be a "love feast," which was an official induction of new members. This event consisted of the usual singing and prayer, after which the converts gave testimony. The meeting concluded with the collecting of the names of the newly saved and a celebration of the Lord's Supper. Finally, all participants lined up and bid farewell to the preachers. Then the oldest minister present blessed the assembly, and everyone departed for home. Who were converted by these revivals? Converts came from all groups, but numerous sources state that young people were the most widely influenced. New church members were increasingly unmarried and in their teens or early twenties. Anxiety of youth, dependence on adult society, and a desire to conform and be accepted were factors in this trend. In most age groups, women were the more numerous sex. Pious wives often brought unconverted husbands to Christ. Alcoholics were particular targets of revivalists. Commercial and industrial leaders were also more likely than others to join a church during a revival. Could this have been for respectability's sake and to "make connections?? Perhaps.
The synthesis of traditional Congregationalism and "new measures" revivalism was an important phenomenon. It eventually undermined and eroded the doctrine of predestination. It also led to conflicts within and outside the church. Many conservatives were not won over by the "new measures," and they seriously questioned the authenticity of rapid, emotionally charged conversions. There was some justification for their fears: new converts often relapsed into sinful behavior and were excommunicated or resigned. Some churches became almost addicted to revivals as a way to maintain membership. The wide-spread expectation that revivals and conversions would morally improve society led to a different perspective of sin. Churches increasingly required "genuine" believers to exhibit near-perfect behavior or face expulsion. Thus gossip and judgmentalism were more socially sanctioned. Furthermore, the influx of many new emotionally charged members diluted the value of church membership in democratic congregations.
Outside the evangelical churches there were also problems. In the early stages of revivals, Episcopalians, Universalists, and Unitarians were tolerant and sometimes mildly supportive. However, as passions heated, denominational bigotry and a doctrinaire attitude was manifested by many revivalists who denounced all who were not "born again." Often these were socially prominent people. This behavior alienated religious liberals as well as non-Christians who resented the self-righteous presumption of authority displayed by some revivalists. In and out of churches, it often became a question of power and control.xxxiii
Religion in New England circa 1830 was by no means monolithic. It meant different things to many people. To some, certainly, it was a vital, exciting quest for solace and salvation which broke the bonds of orthodox Calvinist tradition. To others it was a device of social control. For all, it was a change from the traditions of the past.
i William Warren Sweet, Revivalism in America (New York, 1944) p. 122.
ii This phenomenon is particularly well illustrated in David Kasserman, Fall River Outrage. (Philadelphia, 1986).
iii Rev. F. Denison, ed., The Evangelist, or Life ,and Labors of Rev. Jabez S. Swan (Waterford, Connecticut, 1873) p. 150.
iv Kasserman, throughout, and Whitney R. Cross, The Burned-over District. (Ithaca, New York, 1950) pp. 187 - 8.
vi Ellen Miller, "Alvan Bond." Unpublished paper, Old Sturbridge Village, 1972, pg. 9
vii Denison, p. 185.
viii Bennet Tyler, Memoir of the Life and Character of Rev. Asahel Nettleton, D.D., Hartford, Connecticut, 1844, p. 237.
ix Anonymous] Letters of an English Traveller to His Friend in England on the "Revivals of Religion"
in America (Boston, Massachusetts, 1828), pp. 43 - 46
x Denison, throughout; Hiram Munger, The Life and Religious Experience of. Hiram Munger. (Chickopee, Massachusetts, 1856) pp. 77 - 8
xi Denison, p. 58
xii Denison, p. 35
xiii John Wesley, A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Methodist Episcopal Church (New York, 1831) p. 74.
xiv Denison, p. 170.
xv Letters, p. 43.
xvi Letters, pp. 47 – 50.
xvii Sweet, pp. 135 - 6.
xviii Charles Grandison Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion. (originally published, 1835) republished (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1960) pp. 252 - 3.
xix Jedediah Burchard, Sermons, Addresses,. Exhortations (C. G. Eastman, comp., (Burlington, Vermont, 1836) p. 23.
xx Cross, p. 175.
xxi H. Pomeroy Brewster, "The Magic of a Voice, " Rochester Historical Society Publication Fund Series IV (Rochester, New York, 1925) p. 273.
xxii Munger, p. 107; Cross, p. 178; Denison, p. 456; Ephraim Coleman, Diary, Newington, New Hampshire,1835-41, Old Sturbridge Village Research Library, throughout.
xxiii Wesley, p. 172.
xxiv Denison, p. 247
xxv Denison, p. 247.
xxvi Miller, “Alvan Bond,” p. 6.
xxvii Munger, p. 25 and throughout.
xxviii Munger p. 98.
xxix Munger, p. 47.
xxx This description has been assembled from accounts from Munger, Bruce, Gorham, and Coleman.
xxxi Dickson D. Bruce Jr., And They All Sang Hallelujah. (Knoxville, Tennessee, 1974) p. 77.
xxxii Munger, p. 69.
xxxiii Many of these conclusions are adapted from Randolph A. Roth, The Democratic Dilemma: Religion, Reform, and the Social Order in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, 1791 -1850. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987.
Baker, George Claude, Jr. An Introduction to The History of Early New England Methodism. Durham, North Carolina, 1941. An extensive bibliography lists sources of sermons and addresses.
Baxter, Norman Allen. History of the Freewill Baptists:. A Study in New England Separatism. Rochester, New York, 1957. Includes a description of a service.
Beecher, Lyman, and Asahel Nettleton . . . . On Revivals. New York, New York, 1828. Two leading Congregationalist ministers, who take a dim view of "new measures" in revivals.
Bradley, Joshua. Accounts of Religious Revivals in Many Parts of the United States from 1815 - 1818. Albany, New York, 1819. Despite the author's obvious enthusiasm, it is a series of trite accounts of revivals, devoid of interesting historical detail.
Bruce, Dickson D. Jr. And They All Sang Hallelujah. Knoxville, Tennessee, 1974. A history of southern camp meetings in the early 19th century, it is good for both national perspective and corroboration of New England accounts.
Bull, Lisa A. "The Revival Years: The Sturbridge Baptist Church 1810 - 1850." Unpublished paper. Old Sturbridge Village. ND. Not as useful as the title suggests, it does explore who converted and why.
Burchard, Rev. Jedediah. Sermons, Addresses,. Exhortations. (Compiled by C. G. Eastman..) Burlington, Vermont, 1836. An excellent source for extemporaneous material. The publisher hired a stenographer to attend a revival and copy down the services. Includes an appendix detailing how Burchard tried to keep this from ever being published.
Coleman, Ephraim. Unpublished diary: 1835 - 41. Old Sturbridge Village Research Library, Sturbridge, Massachusetts. The diary of a New Hampshire Methodist includes mention of all the meetings he attended.
Cross, Whitney R. The Burned-over District. Ithaca, New York, 1950. Although outside of New England it does shed light on New England revivalism and includes information on Finney, Burchard, and others.
Denison, Rev. F. (ed.). The Evangelist, or Life ,and Labors of Rev. Jabez S. Swan. Waterford, Connecticut, 1873. The lively account of a Baptist revival preacher in Connecticut and New York, from the 1820s to the 1870s. Very informative.
Finney, Charles Grandison. Lectures on Revivals of Religion. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1960. (1835). A very detailed and energetic "how to" manual on revivals by the preeminent revivalist of the 1830s. Foster, Charles I. An Errand....of Mercy. Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1960. A history of American evangelism from 1790 to 1837, primarily of tracts and missions. Not very useful for domestic revivals.
Gorham, Rev. B. W. Camp Meeting Manual. Boston, Massachusetts, 1854. Gorham drew on his experience to write this detailed "how to" book. He goes from justifying camp meetings to plans for sewing tents. Good resource.
Humphrey, Rev. Heman. Revival Sketches and Manual. Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 1859. Interesting but mostly orthodox and church-centered, as well as well post-period. Includes information on sermons and exhortations.
Fall River Outrage. Philadelphia Kasserman, David Richard., Pennsylvania, 1986. Through the history of a controversial murder involving a Methodist minister, the author gives much insight into New England Methodism, including its organization and camp meetings.
Letters of an English Traveller to His Friend in England on the "Revivals of Religion" in America. Boston, Massachusetts, 1828. Mostly reflections on the revival movement, he describes a few revival services as well. McLoughlin, William G. Revivals, Awakenings, and Reform. Chicago, Illinois, 1978. Theological and historical interpretation of revivals and their social consequences.
Miller, Ellen. "Alvan Bond." Unpublished paper, Old Sturbridge Village. ND. A look at the memoirs of Sturbridge's Congregational minister from 1819 - 1831. Good for local color.
Muller, H. N., III, and Duffy, John J. "Jedediah Burchard and Vermont's "New Measure" Revivals; Social Adjustment and the Quest for Unity." Vermont History, Vol. 46 #1 (Winter 1978). Pp. 5 20. A good, colorful account and analysis of Burchard's revivals.
Munger, Hiram. The Life and Religious Experience of. Hiram Munger. Boston, Massachusetts, 1856. The autobiography of a rough and tumble Methodist miller in south central Massachusetts in the 1830s and '40s. Includes camp meetings, miracles, and divine intervention.
Myers, Peter D. (comp.). The Zion Songster: A Collection of Hymns. and Spiritual Songs Generally Sung at Camp and Prayer Meetings and in Revivals of Religion. . New York, New York, 1834 (1829). Three-hundred seven hymns and an illustration of a camp meeting.
Neale, Rev. R. H. Revival Hymns (and revival tunes by H. W. Day,). Boston, Massachusetts, 1842. Dozens of hymns with music.
Rabinowitz, Richard. "A Revival of Religion." Unpublished paper, Old Sturbridge Village. ND.
Roth, Randolph A. The Democratic Dilemma: Religion, Reform, and the Social Order in the Connecticut River Valley of Vermont, 1791 -1850. Cambridge, 1987. Chapter 6 is an excellent account of the Burchard revivals in Vermont.
Scott, Donald M. From Office to Profession: the New England Ministry, 1750-1850. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1978.
Sweet, William Warren. Revivalism in America. New York, York, 1944. A short readable history of revivalism.
Weisberger, Bernard A. They Gathered at the River. Boston, Massachusetts, 1958. A history of revivalism with brief sketches of some revivalists.
Wesley, Rev. John. A Collection of Hymns for the Use of the Methodist Episcopal Church, New York, New York, 1831. Six hundred seven hymns, with the names of suggested tunes.
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