Date of Award

Spring 5-3-2022

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Liam Riordan

Second Committee Member

Stephen Miller

Third Committee Member

Anne Knowles

Additional Committee Members

Shelby Balik

Jacques Ferland


Asynchronous communication was essential for the development of the cross-border and global identities of Baptists in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes between 1770 and 1840. Religious print, especially published association meeting notes and periodicals, extended the reach of itinerant preaching and molded a cross-border community in the Northeast Borderlands between 1790 and 1810. It allowed Baptists to discuss theology, share news about local churches, and expand their community. American Baptists formed international institutions focused on the spread of Protestantism after the War of 1812, and Maine Baptists actively engaged this more global community through financial donations to the new institutions and by engaging with their periodicals as readers and contributors. Maritime Baptists in the post-war period did not pivot to this expansive community as quickly due to economic and political constraints, and their efforts prioritized local churches and domestic missionary efforts into the mid-1820s, after which they participated more actively in the international benevolent movement. Both Maine and Maritime Baptists published their own periodicals by the 1820s. Baptists in both parts of the Northeastern Borderlands had joined the broader Protestant reform movement by the late 1820s, but in doing so the former close ties between Maine Baptists and those in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia were no longer as vital.

Print played a critical role in the transition from cross-border to global identity by offering a medium for discussion. Baptist culture was not homogenous and growing commitments to foreign missions were challenged by some. Print provided a space to debate values and to reshape Maine and Maritime Baptist identities. A study of asynchronous religious print culture is especially important to understand how laypeople engaged this process. Print particularly enriched women’s expression as an influential tool to engage fellow Baptists throughout the Northeastern Borderlands and beyond. Religious print culture was a vital form of social networking that shaped community formation. It helped build cross-border and global religious identities and connected isolated individuals to a larger Baptist community. Then, as now, asynchronous communication has a powerful impact on individuals’ sense of self and place in the world.