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The word “race” meant different things to different people in the 19th century. In its broadest sense, “race” referred to the common ancestry of a group of humans who shared characteristics that had developed over time. The first British association devoted to research of an anthropological character was the Ethnological Society of London. Its leading member J.C. Prichard (1786-1848) argued in support of the Bible that humankind had descended from a single common ancestor. Prichard’s thesis was generally upheld in periodicals such as Church Missionary Gleaner and Voice of Pity for South America. The Anthropological Society claimed to practice a more empirically and theoretically rigorous brand of anthropology, which, as it disassociated itself from religious institutions, shied from no subject of inquiry. Because the Anthropological Society published the views of its critics as well as its members and supporters, the various debates that it generated may be examined in depth by consultation of its Anthropological Review, Memoirs, Proceedings, and the short-lived Popular Magazine of Anthropology. (Adapted from: Burroughs, Robert: Race and Anthropology. See our Contextual Essays section for the full version.)


“Mr. Gordon in Uganda.” Church Missionary Gleaner, 1 May 1888

Bridges, Thomas. “Tierra Del Fuego.” Voice of Pity for South America, 1 Aug. 1883

“The Rival Races; or, The Sons of Joel.” Anthropological Review and Journal of the Anthropological Society of London, 1 Nov. 1863

“On the Acclimatisation of Man.” Popular Magazine of Anthropology, 1 Jan. 1866



Part II contains many periodicals that were published in various parts of the world, which were available to readers in the UK. Many came from prominent colonies, or areas of expansion for the British Empire. There are editions from a range of journals published in Oceania, including The Australasian, the Australian Journal, and The New Zealand Graphic and Ladies Journal. Sam Sly’s African Journal, Lantern, and Owl were published in South Africa, and are joined in this archive by various periodicals from India, including the Madras Journal of Literature and Science and The Friend of India. Canada is represented by such periodicals as the Canadian Journal: A Repertory of Industry, Science, and Art and the New Dominion Monthly, which sit alongside periodicals published around the UK such as the Scottish Geographical Magazine and the Scottish Missionary Register (Scotland), and the Missionary Herald of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.


Trollope, Anthony. “The Novelist.” The Australasian, 3 Jan. 1874

“No Mistake.” New Dominion Monthly, 1 Nov. 1878

“Dreams of the Future.” The Friend of India, 19 July 1900

“How We Do It.” Lantern, 23 Feb. 1878



Colonial periodicals both imitated and found it difficult to compete with popular journals published in Britain. There were many colonial versions of Punch, for example, such as Melbourne Punch and Indian Punch, and also increasingly sophisticated imitations of the great British reviews. Colonial periodicals reprinted metropolitan authors both because good new writing was scarce in the colonies and because the colonists nostalgically demanded works from “home” - that is, from Britain. Periodicals published in India such as the Calcutta Review featured literature by Anglo-Indian authors, but also the first stirrings of writing by English-educated Indians. The Cape Monthly Magazine ran from 1857 to 1883 and serialized a number of novels by anonymous, white southern African authors. (Adapted from: Brantlinger, Patrick: Literature and the Empire. Visit our Contextual Essays section for the full version.)


“Privileged Ruffians.” Melbourne Punch, 27 Oct. 1870

“ART. VII.-The Indian Conspiracy of 1864.” Calcutta Review, [Date Unknown]

“The Indian Press.” Oriental Observer, 7 Jan. 1837

O., J. W. G. V. “History: What it is Studied for, and how it is to be Taught.” Cape Monthly Magazine, 1 Mar. 1876



Throughout the 19th century, periodicals published both in Britain and in the colonies featured aspects of the imperial experience. Both in Britain and in the colonies, there were many periodicals that featured the often heroic struggles and occasional martyrdoms of missionaries. Such journals include Missionary Magazine and Chronicle, and the Wesleyans’ Missionary Notices. Missionary editors offered early entries into the emerging field of writing for children, with such periodicals as the Juvenile Missionary Magazine and the Wesleyan Juvenile Offering. Though missionary periodicals did not emphasize poetry and fiction, throughout the century they were a major source of knowledge fortheir readers about non-Western cultures and religions. Missionaries often served as the best sources available for information reproduced in anthropological journals back in Britain (Adapted from: Brantlinger, Patrick: Literature and the Empire. Visit our Contextual Essays section for the full version.)


Bulloch, G. M. “AlmoraLeper Asylum.” Missionary Magazine and Chronicle; Relating Chiefly to the Missions
        of the London Missionary Society
, 1 Feb. 1890

“Missions in The West Indies.” The Missionary Notices, 1 Jan. 1848

Anderson, S. H. “Across the Waters; or, Gleanings on the Way To Mauritius.” The Juvenile Missionary Magazine, 1 July 1871

Clayton, G. A. “T’ienPao: A Story of Chinese Village Life.” Wesleyan Juvenile Offering: A Miscellany of Missionary Info, 1 Feb. 1899


The natural world held enormous fascination for the British in the 19th century. The Botanical Magazine, which enjoyed uninterrupted publication from the beginning of the 19th century to its end, is one indicator of botany’s appeal to the public, which extended to other natural sciences as well, as evidenced by periodicals such as The Geologist. All of these strands of involvement with the natural world – the imperial, the representational, the commercial and the scientific – came together in the enterprise of exploration. The African Association can be considered a key progenitor of this drive to explore the interiors of continents, its initiatives are detailed in the Proceedings of the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa, and periodicals such as Illustrated Travels published stories of exploration for the delectation of domestic British readers. (Adapted from: Kennedy, Dane: Landscape, Geography and Exploration. Visit our Contextual Essays section for the full version.)


“Cassia Australis. New-hollandCassia.” The Botanical Magazine; or Flower Garden Displayed, [Date Unknown]

Raisin, Catherine A., B. Sc. “II.-Contributions to the Geology Of Africa.” The Geologist; a Popular Magazine of Geology, 1 Oct. 1893

Young, W., The Secretary. “At a General Meeting … Held June 1, 1805.” Proceedings of the Association for Promoting the
        Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa
, [Date Unknown]

Lyons, Frederick A. “Adventures in Lazestan.-II.” Illustrated Travels: A Record of Discovery, Geography & Adventure, [Date Unknown]



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