Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » The Whole Year Through: Children’s Friend, 1926

The Whole Year Through: Children’s Friend, 1926

By: Ardis E. Parshall - February 22, 2013

As a general rule, when copies of magazines were bound in a yearly volume, their covers were torn off and discarded. I’ve seen very few early covers for the Children’s Friend and the Improvement Era and the Young Woman’s Journal, although I’ve been able to scan the covers of loose copies of some of the other magazines, like the Juvenile Instructor and Relief Society Magazine, which are on the shelves of the Church History Library.

When the Children’s Friend was bound in hard covers in 1926, though, 11 of the 12 monthly covers (March being the exception) remained on the magazine, so I’m able to post them for you now (although the left margins of some are a little cramped by the tight volume binding). I’m delighted by the colors and the bold graphics of this set of covers – they are so much more attractive than covers used in the 1940s and ‘50s. I want to somehow scout up covers from other years in this era.




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  1. Oh, I just LOVE these! Wouldn’t these be fun hanging in a child’s play room?

    Comment by Chocolate on my Cranium — February 22, 2013 @ 7:19 am

  2. Yes! Or a children’s library, or in the hall outside the Primary room.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 22, 2013 @ 8:08 am

  3. That House of Health is very unusual. What were the stories about in that one?

    Comment by Carol — February 22, 2013 @ 8:20 am

  4. My parents saved all the copies of The Children’s Friend from the early 1950’s on. Whenever I look through these issues, I’m amazed at the contrast to today’s magazine. I guess it wouldn’t be entirely fair to say that the current magazine has been “dumbed down,” but it’s probably fair to say that the current magazine has more content for children to read themselves, while the older magazine was for parents to read to their children. Mom always read it to us, cover to cover, and my sister and I alternated months for who would get the real paper dolls printed in the magazine, and who would get the ones Mom traced from the real ones onto another piece of paper. I also remember occasional more “participatory” stories in the magazine which were sprinkled with little rebus pictures so that the child being read to could do some of the “reading” too.

    Comment by Marilyn O. — February 22, 2013 @ 8:58 am

  5. Ardis, Do you happen to know anything about the artist/illustrator? In-house? Commissioned? Just curious.

    Comment by Gary Bergera — February 22, 2013 @ 10:02 am

  6. I wish they’d have left the title as it was then. When something works well, don’t break it. :)

    Comment by RoeH — February 22, 2013 @ 11:32 am

  7. Gary, I was going to say they looked like Nelson White drawings (he was a longtime in-house artist), but then I see some other initials (HW,maybe?) in the lower right corner of some covers. I’ve seen that before in the Children’s Friend, but for the life of me I can’t think of the artist’s name. I’ll get back to you — when the artists are knowable, I *should* name them in posts like this.

    Carol, there may have been some story on a health theme in this issue — I’ll have to pull it to find out — or it could have been a generic Primary theme not related to the contents of that particular issue. Health was a frequent theme in those years, with features inside on being healthy, or finding your way through an illustrated map of Health Land. I even remember seeing one skit where children were put on trial for bad health and sentenced to going to bed on time, brushing their teeth, and drinking lots of water!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 22, 2013 @ 3:43 pm

  8. Love this series. The hand-lettered titles and the way the issue date is moved around the cover–in an astonishing variety of styles–that these are polar opposites of today’s computer-centric graphic design.

    The color scheme(black + two spot colors)is classic early-20th century.

    Also, I like the that nearly every outdoor boy is has a little non-descript mutt at his heels.

    Comment by The Other Clark — February 25, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  9. I tried today to identify the artist (HW? FHW? something else?) He or she illustrated a dozen pages in every issue, some of them very specifically LDS/Children’s Friend pages, so there’s no question that the artist was in-house. I have not yet been able to identify him/her, though.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — February 25, 2013 @ 12:16 pm

  10. Ardis,

    I have loose copies of each of these issues, and several from other years. Unfortunately, the covers are a bit worn and dirty since they were unbound, and thus unprotected. But I’d be happy to share scans of the covers of any issues I have. Can you email me?

    Comment by Jay Call — May 30, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

  11. Check your email box, Jay. Thanks!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — May 31, 2013 @ 5:39 am

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