19th Century American Advice Books
Advice Books Available Online at The Making of America Site:
Familiar letters to young men on various subjects. Designed as a Companion to The young man's guide. Wm. A. Alcott, 1850
The American citizen: his rights and duties, according to the spirit of the Constitution of the United States. John Henry Hopkins, 1857
The student's manual; designed, by specific directions, to aid in forming and strengthening the intellectual and moral character and habits of the student. Rev. John Todd , 1859
Lesson's in life A series of familiar essays. By Timothy Titcomb [pseud.]. Publication Date: 1862
Man and his motives, George Moore,1862
Plain talks on familiar subjects. A series of popular lectures. J. G. Holland, 1866
Mile stones in our life-journey. Samuel Osgood, 1877
Excerpts from "Nineteenth Century Advice Literature" Courtesy of the Worcester Women's History Project:
The Young Ladies' Book: A Manual of Elegant Recreations, Exercises and Pursuits. Boston: 1830.
The Young Wife's Book: A Manual of Moral, Religious and Domestic Duties, By a Lady. Philadelphia: 1838.
The Young Man's Evening Book. Boston: 1838.
Advice to a Young Gentleman on Entering Society, By a Gentleman. Philadelphia: 1839.
The Young Woman's Guide. Boston: 1840.
The Young Wife. Boston:1842.
The Boy's Guide to Usefulness, William Andrus Alcott. Boston: 1844.
The Young Man's Guide. Boston: 1846.
The Young Lady's Home, Mrs. Louisa C. Tuthill. Boston: 1847.
The Young Bride's Book, Arthur Freeling. New York: 1849.
Advice to a Married Couple, James Bean. American Tract Society. Boston: 1856.
Fiction on "Self-Culture" and the "Self-Made Man":
See the novels by Horatio Alger available as part of "Young Readers" collection at the University of Virginia's Electronic Text Center. Included, for example, is Alger's Bound to Rise, published in 1900.
A Sample Chapter from a 19th century American Young Man's Guide.
A cover of a 19th century self-help book for boys.
Evidence to help you understand the kind of reading done by one 19th century teenage boy.
A web-project on advice manuals constructed by an Assumption College Student
If you want to probe more deeply into this subject, you might find the following books helpful:
Learning to Behave, Sarah E. Newton, 1994
Rudeness & Civility : Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America
John F. Kasson, 1944.
The Search for Improvement in Antebellum America:
Project in Progress
Department of English, Assumption College