The Monthly Packet

The Monthly Packet

The Monthly Packet was an English magazine published between 1851 and 1899. It was founded by members of the Oxford Movement to counter Anglo-Catholic extremism. It was strongly influenced by its first editor, the novelist Charlotte Yonge. Its aims were to provide instruction, entertainment, and improvement. Unstated aims were to encourage an interest in education, missionary work, and charity.


Content changes

The Monthly Packet of Evening Readings for Younger Members of the English Church, as shown in "The Introductory Letter" in Volume 1, was targeted at middle- and upper-class Anglican girls. Evidence suggests readership actually included males, adults, and lower classes. (By July, 1880, the word "Younger" had been dropped from the title.)

The magazine encouraged certain attitudes, among them the prevailing view of religious and social standards. Over time, the approach was modified: Anglo-Catholic contributions were accepted, and it became more tolerant of Roman Catholicism and Nonconformism. It came to recognize that certain ills in society, such as poverty and ignorance, needed to be addressed. There was less stress on submission and obedience.

Literary history

The Monthly Packet was the first to publish Lewis Carroll's short stories that were later complied into A Tangled Tale. Other literary contributors included Rosa Nouchette Carey with her novel Heriot's Choice in 1879.[1]

Charlotte Yonge

Charlotte Yonge was a churchwoman influenced by John Keble, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. She was an authoress who combined editing The Monthly Packet with writing novels, biography, history, school textbooks, and pieces for her magazine. To some extent, the magazine can be seen as an expression of her personality and beliefs. She describes her audience in the first editorial as "daughters of our own beloved Catholic church in England" (meaning that the Church of England is by definition a part of the universal church). (However, unusual work such as that by Lewis Carroll was also included.) In 1891 Christabel Coleridge became the assistant editor and was sole editor from 1894.

The magazine has insights into Victorian life, especially regarding religious attitudes. Other subjects of interest are history, education, sociology, and women's studies.


  1. ^ Rosa Nouchette Carey's ODNB entry: Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  • Sturrock, June (2006) 'Establishing Identity: Editorial Correspondence from the Early Years of "The Monthly Packet"', Victorian Periodicals Review 39: 3, Fall 2006, pp. 266–279

External links