Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 12

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Lt 18, 1897

Those in Responsible Positions in our Publishing Houses

“Sunnyside,” Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia

January 1897

Portions of this letter are published in PM 215, 217.

To Those in Responsible Positions in our Publishing Houses:

I am troubled in regard to the use of pictures in our publications. Some of our papers seem bent on using them in season and out of season. Some of the cuts used are very inferior, and but poorly illustrate the subjects represented. I hope our publications will not come to represent a comic almanac. 12LtMs, Lt 18, 1897, par. 1

On one point I wish to speak decidedly: that is in regard to using in the papers the cuts from my books. Who has given the publishing houses permission to do this? Such use makes the pictures so common that it hurts the book. Is this right? Let it be understood that hereafter the cuts from my books are not to be used in the papers. 12LtMs, Lt 18, 1897, par. 2

There should be greater care in the choice of subjects for illustrations. Cuts of auto de fe, Catholic pictures of persecution and burning, should be kept out of our publications. It is enough to read of these wicked deeds, without trying to bring them, in all their terrible details before the eyes. When I was a child, Fox’s Book of Martyrs was given me to read. I saw the pictures representing various horrible acts of cruelty. I could scarcely eat or sleep. Day and night I was passing through the horrors, identifying myself with the suffering ones. I almost lost confidence in God because He allowed such things. It was a long time before I could overcome the impression made on my mind. Whenever the Book of Martyrs, or any other book of like illustrations, finds its way into my library, I hide it, that no child may be caused to suffer as I did. Such pictures do not increase faith. 12LtMs, Lt 18, 1897, par. 3

I would not altogether condemn the use of pictures, but let fewer be used, and only such as are good illustrations of the subject. Bear in mind that illustrations should be choice rather than numerous. 12LtMs, Lt 18, 1897, par. 4