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The Youth’s Companion Magazine; To Pledge or not to Pledge

The Youth’s Companion Magazine
The Pledge of Allegiance never would have been written and promoted if The Youth’s Companion had not existed in 1892. Today, the magazine and its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, are largely forgotten. This is unfortunate because Ford was a very successful and amazing businessman who knew how to interest both children and their parents in reading, a skill needed today.
The Youth’s Companion magazine from 1892 to its demise in 1929 promoted the Pledge of Allegiance. The magazine claimed that its personnel, under the leadership of James Bailey Upham, Ford`s nephew, had written the Pledge. The magazine resented Francis Bellamy’s claim that he alone, and not Upham or the staff of the magazine, had written the Pledge. (The magazine’s tradition of anonymity at the time the Pledge was written meant that no staff names were associated with any of the writing in the magazine.) In a sense the magazine management was right, for without the leadership of Upham and the backing of Ford’s highly respected and successful magazine the Pledge would not have been written and successfully promoted as a flag salute and a national creed for the use of the American public.
In 1892 The Youth’s Companion magazine had the largest or next to largest circulation of any American weekly magazine. In 1885 the magazine had a circulation of about 385,000, 400,000 in 1887, 475,000 in 1892, and in 1898 passed the one half million mark. In 1901 circulation was 545,342. It continued near that figure until 1907 and then began a gradual decline. There were still 305,455 subscribers when the Atlantic Monthly Company in Boston took over in 1925. Its final issue was as a monthly in 1929 when it became part of the American Boy.
In 1892 the level of writing in the Companion was of such high quality that parents as well as their children were reading it. It had articles written at all levels for the children and articles for the parents, who would read the magazine around a living room table or the dining room table. This was before the time of television and radio and even the daily newspaper was rare in rural areas.
The decorative seal on the title page showed a family group reading The Companion. In the center was grandmother holding the paper. Behind her were father and mother. Completing the group were a boy about fifteen, a boy of eleven, and a girl about eight years old. Its motto was, “Nothing But the Best.”
Daniel Ford had discovered that if you publish for children alone you are doing well if you can keep any reader as long as five years. By publishing for the whole family, although with an emphasis on youth, The Companion held on to many subscribers for a full generation. The Companion was somewhat like the Reader’s Digest in that it had something of interest for every member of the family.  MORE
this post is by comment suggestion of Urdrighten

 To Pledge or not to Pledge

Generally, most Americans blindly accept our national values and traditions without question or doubt. Most twentieth century Americans have been so occupied with living the “good life” of ease, pleasure and materialism that they have neglected to safeguard their culture, Christian faith and philosophical heritage. Many strange ideas and foreign concepts have crept into the average American psyche without notice or question and, therefore, have become mainstream thought patterns which set a standard by which our society is governed. Once example of this condition is the lack of knowledge concerning the history behind the writing of the Pledge of Allegiance to our National flag. Without doubt, the knowledge of most Americans concerning the writer, his political philosophy, his major objective and his long range influence in our national life would be considered slim to none.
Through statist education, we learn and accept without question what we are fed as long as it is seasoned with sugar-coated treats. In the midst of America’s present cultural war, it is imperative that we re-examine all of our “traditions” that have been accepted as part of American “patriotism.” This we shall attempt to do with the “PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE,” which was born out of the concepts of political liberalism and “Christian Socialism.”
During the nineteenth century, America became deeply involved in a social, political, religious and philosophical warfare that was equivalent to the French Revolution. The opposing forces in this warfare were Biblical Christianity and constitutional government on one side and liberal Christianity and socialistic government on the other side. Among those who became proponents of the liberal and socialistic views were many prominent northern poets, philosophers, educators, editors and even Christian ministers. A Baptist minister of Boston, named Francis Bellamy (1855-1931) was one of those ministers.
FRANCIS BELLAMY was born in Mount Morris, NY into the home of a Baptist minister, David Bellamy. As a child he was educated in the public schools of Rome, NY. In 1872, he entered the University of Rochester as a ministerial student. For his graduation commencement speech he spoke on “The Poetry of Human Brotherhood.” In this speech, he applauded the concepts of the French Revolution. He said it awakened man to a realization of his personal dignity and God-given rights. He soon began to advocate the French Revolutionary slogan of “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.”
In 1876, Bellamy enrolled in the Rochester Theological Seminary. Upon graduation in 1880 he began his public ministry at the Baptist Church in Little Falls, NY and soon became involved with the National Prohibition Party. In 1885 he moved to accept the pastorate of the Dearborn Street Church in Boston which he later named Bethany Baptist Church. There he was involved with the social, religious, labor and economic problems of the city’s poor factory workers. While pastor he gave a speech entitled “Jesus the Socialist” and a series of sermons on “The Socialism of the Primitive Church.”


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