Sunday or Sabbath schools were first established in the United States in the 1790s. Though initially confined to the urban Northeast, they later spread throughout the country and were common across the South by the mid-nineteenth century. Sunday schools were organized by individual congregations, by networks of affiliated churches, and by members of urban neighborhoods who created “union” schools that crossed denominational lines. Teachers tended to adopt secular pedagogical models to teach religious study, exhortation, prayer, and class singing for a variety of ages. Whereas older students memorized and recited passages of scripture or a catechism, the youngest children usually learned metrical psalms or hymns. Students could earn premiums, like mugs or handkerchiefs decorated with hymn texts, when they advanced to a higher class or demonstrated mastery of the material. Though early Sunday schools also taught adult students, teachers and churches ultimately turned exclusively to the needs of children, creating a repertoire largely separate from “adult” church music and texts. Sunday school music was simple, often folk-like in character, limited in range, and rhythmically driven. Texts were often shorter and simpler than other hymns, presenting subjects more moral in character rather than explicitly religious. Though the simplicity of Sunday school texts continued to reflect their intended practitioner-audience of children, the musical accompaniment often existed in lively conversation with gospel music meant for adults.