Two years after its founding in 1824, the American Sunday School Union published Hymns for Sunday School Teachers, a copy of which is now in the Music Library. Measuring a mere 10 cm. in height and 76 pages in length, it may be one of the smallest items in our collections. It joins 17 other publications by the Union in the Stanford Libraries.
The American Sunday School Union (ASSU) grew into a national organization from loose-knit Sunday school societies begun in the Philadelphia area in the 1790s, which spread steadily across the young nation. Sunday schools promoted the development of early literacy and spiritual growth in children, and were more often than not the only formal public education available to young children in most communities. Book and serial publications by the ASSU underwent strict review for age-appropriate, patriotic, uplifting moral content. Authors often contributed work for free; the publications were distributed at cost or sometimes as free giveaways, or were assembled into small lending collections for free circulation. The ASSU published into the 1960s.