The Industrious Man, a plate from a book of Picture Lessons published in Philadelphia by the American Sunday-School Union about 1847, was intended for the instruction of children. It represents the ideal father returning home carrying a lunch pail. His son runs toward him and his wife and daughters await him in the comfortable, well-run-house. The caption printed below the image reads: “It is Saturday night. The industrious man returns from his labor in peace. He is welcome to a humble home. Pleasant smiles and happy voices greet him. Let him fear and serve God and God will bless him and his house forever.” The lesson being taught is that a happy home is dependent on good work habits and an ordered way of life. The accompanying story, titled “Welcome Home,” declares “The honest laborer is one of the noblest of men. By industry and skill in his business he obtains steady employment. By his temperate and frugal habits his earnings are all saved.” The conclusion of the story equates personal salvation and happiness with good republican virtue, exclaiming “How happy the family that have such a home? How happy would our country be, if all our families were like this one!”

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