Sarah Trimmer and the Sunday School Movement

By the early nineteenth century, the use of child labor had become a grossly negative outcome of the Industrial Revolution. Children of the poor, left uneducated, spent six days of the week working long hours in factories. It was in response to these conditions that a number of philanthropists and educators established the Sunday school movement in the 1780s in England. Included in that number was Sarah Trimmer, who became an influential figure in literature for children. She advocated using the Bible to teach both children and adults how to read by copying passages from the Bible—a controversial view at the time. In 1805, she wrote “Help to the Unlearned in the Study of the Holy Scriptures.” It was to help literate adults with “little leisure” time understand the Bible.

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