Ohio History Journal

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William D

William D. Gallagher, Champion of

Wester Literary Periodicals






DURING THE 1830's a number of attempts were made in

Ohio to create a successful literary journal, one that would be

devoted to subjects other than the predominant interests of

the majority of the newspapers and magazines of the day.

The existing media, for the most part, published articles on

religion, politics, and growth of the area, and there were few

local outlets for the aspiring author if he did not write on one

of these subjects. New literary periodicals, therefore, were

developed with a twofold aim: to encourage the writing of

essays, books, articles, and poems by western authors; and to

promote a serious literary effort concerning western subjects.

In a word, there was an effort made to develop a western

literary culture separate from and not dependent upon the

belles-lettres of the eastern section of the country. Some of

these ventures were good, some bad, some indifferent; all

suffered from several limitations, including the lack of avail-

able western literary talent and a serious lack of interest in

this kind of publication. None of them was able to overcome

these limitations completely. Several of those that came

closest were edited by William Davis Gallagher, whose third

journal, the Hesperian, was one of the best.

Gallagher was born in Philadelphia on August 21, 1808,

and moved with his mother and brothers in 1816 to Mount

Pleasant, Hamilton County, Ohio. While at Mount Pleasant,

* James A. Tague is a candidate for the Ph.D degree in history at Western

Reserve University. His article is a revision of a seminar paper written for

Dean Carl Wittke of the graduate school there.