Just Teach One

Columbian Magazine (Nov. 1786)

Front Fold-out. Click to enlarge.

Back Fold-out. Click to enlarge.


Our spring 2015 text is a reproduction of the November, 1786 issue of The Columbian Magazine, published in Philadelphia.  This was the third issue of a periodical published between 1786 and 1792 by a partnership of printers trying to create a new magazine for the United States.

The issue features a series of scientific essays, including articles on mastodon bones, rattlesnakes, and locusts; several pieces by Benjamin Rush, including his short essay on phobias; several short pieces of fiction; a poetry segment; and the international and local news section that concluded the issue.  Our edition is annotated and includes an introduction by Jared Gardner, author of The Rise and Fall of Early American Magazine Culture (Illinois UP, 2012).  The two images above accompanied the issue.  The first depicts objects discussed in the scientific essays, while the second offers information common to almanacs of the time.


Columbian Magazine November 86 JTO

Exploring Editorial Work

Siân Silyn Roberts Queens College, CUNY Producing an edition of the Columbian Magazine for JTO was a gamble that, in my opinion, really paid off.  This reading elicited some truly outstanding, creative insight from my students, and they responded so well to the questions the magazine invited.  This was definitely my favorite JTO assignment yet!  […]

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A Literary Lab: Exploring the Columbian Magazine

Keri Holt Utah State University I introduced The Columbian Magazine to my students at the end of a survey course on Early American literature. We had just wrapped up the final unit, which focused on the literary culture of the early United States, covering canonical classics such as Franklin’s Autobiography, Charlotte Temple, and The Contrast. […]

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The Pleasures and Peculiarities of Teaching the Early American Periodical

Adam Lewis Boston College I taught the November 1786 issue of the Columbian Magazine about a third of the way through my American literature survey course this past fall.  Coming in between Franklin’s Autobiography and Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette, my thinking was the periodical would provide an opportunity to consider and compare different literary […]

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The Columbian Magazine and Genre

Michelle Burnham Santa Clara University “Introduction to Literary History and Interpretation” is one of three foundation courses for the English major at Santa Clara University, and as such is probably a less than ideal pedagogical context in which to ask students to read and talk about the November 1786 issue of The Columbian Magazine. Indeed, […]

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Heterogenity and United States Public Formation

Michael Ditmore Pepperdine University I sandwiched Columbian Magazine into an upper-division survey of eighteenth-century American literature, 1730-1830 (“The Great Awakening to Rip Van Winkle and Nat Turner”), between Crevecoeur and Thomas Paine’s Age of Reason/Thomas Jefferson’s Bible(s); we devoted a week to the magazine. Truth to tell, as much as I admire the Just Teach […]

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Digital Enhancements

Jonathan Beecher Field Clemson University I taught the Columbian Magazine issue at the end of a semester where I was trying out a lot of new things on the syllabus.

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