Ohio History Journal

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A Literary Pioneer of the Middle West.



In the preparation of this sketch, acknowledgment should be made

of the writer's indebtedness to the "Beginnings of Literary Culture in the

Ohio Valley" by our fellow member Dr. W. H. Venable. This volume

published in 1891 is of the greatest importance and value to the student

of early literary history and an indispensable book of reference. It is a

matter for much regret that it is out of print, and only to be found with

difficulty. The materials for a revised edition are in the author's hands,

and it is hoped that he may feel justified in giving it to the public ere


The Golden Age of Cincinnati was the decade of 1830-1840.

Her fame as a growing town was spread over the civilized world

by visitors from abroad. The beauty of her site, was the theme

of traveller and poet. The satire and ill-natured gossip of the

tribe of Trollope and Hall, failed to lessen the good name which

sympathetic and appreciative writers freely accorded to her

buildings, her regular streets, her enterprise, her society and her

literature.  Her people were industrious, "They seem," says

Chevalier "to have adopted Poor Richard's maxims as a Fifth

Gospel."  "Her business," writes the same acute observer "was

founded on sharp-sighted, wakeful and untiring industry. The

only patrimony which was inherited from their New England

fathers."  Her position in relation to literature is evidenced by

the publication of several magazines, literary journals and many

books; by the extensive, for those days, enterprises in publishing

and in bookselling, and in a host of literary men making for

Western Literature, who had chosen Cincinnati as their home.

But one city west of the Alleghanies, that near the mouth of the

Mississippi, exceeded her in population.  Nearly one hundred

steamboats belonged to the district controlled by the port of

Cincinnati in 1840. Her skies were clear, her atmosphere un-

defiled by the smoke of many railways, and factories, her streets

beautiful with rows of trees; her hillsides still clothed with the

primitive vegetation.         468