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The New England Watch and Ward Society - Oxford Scholarship Online
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The New England Watch and Ward Society

P. C. Kemeny


The New England Watch and Ward Society provides a new window into the history of the Protestant establishment’s prominent role in late nineteenth-century public life and its confrontation with modernity, commercial culture, and cultural pluralism in early twentieth-century America. Elite liberal Protestants, typically considered progressive, urbane, and tolerant, established the Watch and Ward Society in 1878 to suppress obscene literature, including Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. These self-appointed custodians of Victorian culture enjoyed widespread support from many of New England’s most r ... More

Keywords: New England Watch and Ward Society, suppression, obscene literature, gambling, prostitution, modernism, civil libertarians, Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, H. L. Mencken

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780190844394
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2017 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190844394.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

P. C. Kemeny, author
Professor of Religion and Humanities and Assistant Dean, Grove City College