June 30, 1840

Transcendentalists Publish The Dial

Greater Boston

On this day in 1840 the first issue of the Transcendentalist magazine "The Dial" was published in Boston. The moving force behind this "journal in a new spirit" was Ralph Waldo Emerson, the man who stood at the center of Transcendentalism. The subject of the quarterly publication — the first genuinely original journal published in the United States — was, Emerson wrote, the "state of life and growth [that] is now . . . arriving." The men and women who contributed to "The Dial" were among the best minds of the nineteenth century. The magazine never made money or had more than a few hundred subscribers. It survived for less than four years, but Emerson and his fellow Transcendentalists had unprecedented influence on American culture.


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