The religious subject matter of this early reader is common. The early schools were often taught by the community leader (i.e. the church minister or his wife). The American Sunday School Union was founded in 1817 as an interdenominational organization. The children's books that they published were written anonymously and required approval by a committee made up of at least three members from different denominations. Sunday School libraries stocked with ASSU publications were the earliest free children's circulating libraries.