The Girl's Own Book

Periodicals and Magazines for Children

eriodicals sprang up as children’s literature became increasingly profitable. The earliest magazines focused on moral stories and religious instruction. Lighter literature for children followed; by the middle of the nineteenth century there were many amusing publications featuring a mix of fiction, nonfiction, puzzles, and lively columns of letters and submissions from readers. Many magazines were published monthly, but were also issued in bound form on a regular basis — often annually, and appearing in stores in early December, just in time for purchase as gifts.

The Juvenile Miscellany, published in Boston 1826-1836, was didactic, but not aggressively pious. It emphasized patriotic historical accounts and helped shape a vision of American childhood as middle class and secure.
Aunt Judy’s Magazine (1866-1885) featured more “serious” content: science, philosophy, and stories by noted authors like Lewis Carroll and Hans Christian Anderson. Both the Miscellany and Aunt Judy were designed for both boys and girls.
By mid-century though, girls’ magazines were popular and common. The Child’s Pictorial (1885-1896) was edited by prolific author, Mrs. Molesworth, and frequently included her stories. Like many of the publications of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, it had numerous illustrations in color.
The Girl’s Realm Annual (1898-1915) was a progressive publication that featured articles on physical activities for girls, non-traditional careers for women, and women’s suffrage.
The Girl’s Own Annual, published by the Religious Tract Society, was more conservative politically. It offered its adolescent readers fiction, poetry, fashion, travel accounts, recipes, and instructions for crafts.

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