A Little Gallery of Magazine Covers

The images on the front of nineteenth-century children’s periodicals didn’t change with every issue, but they provided delightful graphics for readers to pore over. The cover reflected the personality of the magazine: Robert Merry’s Museum was permeated by Merry’s genial presence; in keeping with The Little Corporal ’s focus on home, a family cloistered in the parlor listens as The Corporal reads aloud from the magazine.

This page celebrates the periodical cover and masthead from 1813 through 1872. A number may not be exactly artistic, but there are graphics here too interesting and inviting to ignore.

The images are arranged here by first publication date of the periodical. Because it can be difficult to find copies of the magazines with their covers on, I don’t have descriptions or images of covers for each year of the magazines.

Each thumbnail links to a larger image; larger images were scanned at a fairly high resolution in order to show detail and will appear MUCH larger than seems plausible. Sizes of the images on this page are roughly proportional; it’s easy to see how unusually tiny The Slave’s Friend was—just the size to slip into a pocket and read in private. A number of the covers are available to decorate your computer as a busybusy desktop wallpaper.

The title of each periodical links that periodical’s description in the onsite bibliography, “American Children’s Periodicals, 1789-1872.” While this page features only images from copies I own, the bibliography includes images of covers from microfilm and various databases; if you’d like to know more about the covers of children’s periodicals before 1873, you’ll want to browse the bibliography.

A note about the images.
For users of Internet Explorer.

Juvenile Port-folio and Literary Miscellany

(17 Oct 1812-7 Dec 1816)

Juvenile Port-folio, 1815
Masthead for 1813-1816

The Sunday Visitant; or, Weekly Repository of Christian Knowledge

(3 Jan 1818-25 Dec 1819)

Sunday Visitant, 1818
Masthead for 1818

The Guardian, or Youth’s Religious Instructor

(Jan 1819-Dec 1824)

The Guardian, 1819
Cover for 1819

Teacher’s Offering; or Sabbath's Scholar’s Magazine • Teacher’s Offering; or Sunday Scholar’s Magazine • Youth’s Friend, and Scholar’s Magazine

(Nov 1823-after 1845)

Youth's Friend, 1831
Cover for 1831

The Guardian and Monitor

(Jan 1825-Dec 1828)

Guardian & Monitor, 1828
Cover for 1825 & 1828

The Juvenile Miscellany

(Sept 1826-Feb 1836; April 1836)

Juvenile Miscellany, 1827
Cover for 1827
Juvenile Miscellany, 1829
Cover for 1829
Juvenile Miscellany, 1835
Cover for 1835

Youth’s Companion • Youth’s Companion and Sabbath School Recorder • Youth’s Companion

(16 April 1827-Sept 1929)

Companion, 1832
Masthead for 6 June 1827-2 Aug 1834, 20 May 1836-8 May 1840, 14 May 1841-14 Jan 1842
Companion, 1842
Masthead for 21 Jan 1842-2 May 1844
Companion, 1853
Masthead for 3 May 1849-25 Dec 1856
Companion, 1866
Masthead for 27 Dec 1866-31 Dec 1868

The Child’s Magazine

(July 1827-1844)

Child’s Magazine, 1827
Cover for July 1827

Juvenile Gazette

(24 Nov 1827-15 Nov 1828)

Juvenile Gazette
Masthead for 1827-1828

The Hive

(27 Sept 1828-20 Sept 1830)

The Hive, 1829
Masthead for 1828-1829

The Sabbath School Messenger, and Children’s Friend

(Oct 1828-Sept 1829?)

Sabbath School Messenger, 1829
Cover for 1829

Children’s Magazine

(Episcopal Sunday School Union; Jan 1829-1874)

The Children’s Magazine, 1831
Cover for 1831

Classical Journal and Scholar’s Review • Juvenile Rambler • Juvenile Rambler, or, Family and School Journal

(Jan 1830-26 Dec 1833)

Juvenile Rambler, 4 Jan 1832
Cover for 4 Jan 1832

The Juvenile Key • Family Pioneer and Juvenile Key

(18 Sept 1830-23 May 1837)

Juvenile Key, 1831
Masthead for 1831

The Rose-Bud

(March 1832-after Feb 1834?)

The Rose-Bud, 1832
Cover for 1832

Youth’s Literary Gazette

(1 Dec 1832-22 Nov 1833)

Youth's Literary Gazette, 1832
Masthead for 1832

The Sabbath School Visiter


Sabbath School Visiter, 1837
Cover for 1837

Parley’s Magazine

(16 March 1833-1844)

Parley’s Magazine, 1833
Early cover for 1833;
more about this cover
Parleys, 1834
Cover for 1834

In 1835, each issue appears to have had a different illustration on the cover.

Parleys, January 1835
Cover for January 1835
Parleys, September 12, 1835
Cover for September 12, 1835

Three illustrations appear on the front or back of issues in the 1840s:

Parleys, 1836
Cover for 1836:
Peter Parley shows his magazine to admirers (appears on the back cover of the 1841 issue pictured here)
Parleys, 1842
Cover for 1842:
Peter Parley (appears on the back cover of an 1844 issue)

Slave’s Friend

(April 1835-before April 1839)

The Slave’s Friend, #8
Cover for 1835-1836
The first cover. The writing on the side reads, “Read + Circulate,” indicating, perhaps, that this copy was one of the many mailed to selected individuals or scattered in public places like railways, bar rooms, and stage coaches, to be read.
The third cover pictured Freedom alone.

Youth’s Cabinet • New-York Teacher’s Lyceum • Woodworth’s Youth’s Cabinet • Woodworth’s Youth’s Cabinet and Uncle Frank’s Dollar Magazine

(28 April 1837-March 1857)

A periodical with two identities, the Cabinet appeared in two formats.

As founded by Nathaniel Southard, the Cabinet was a 4-page anti-slavery paper

Youth’s Cabinet, 1839
Masthead for 1838-1839

The Woodworth brothers made the Cabinet into a 32-page magazine.

Youth’s Cabinet, 1851
Cover for 1846-1851:
the editor demonstrates magnetism by suspending a pair of scissors from a magnet; the scene appeared in every version of the cover
Youth’s Cabinet, 1856
Cover for 1856;
memorializing the short-lived combining of Woodworth’s Youth’s Cabinet and Forrester’s Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine

Sabbath School Messenger

(June 1837-16 April 1846)

Sabbath School Messenger, 1837
Cover for June 1837-1840
Sabbath School Messenger, 1844
Masthead for 1844-1846

Youth’s Magazine: A Monthly Miscellany

(New York, NY; May 1838-1841?)

Youth’s Magazine, 1839
Cover for 1839

Youth’s Temperance Advocate • Youth’s Temperance Advocate and Band of Hope Recorder

(Nov 1839-after May 1865)

Youth’s Temperance Advocate, 1841
Masthead for 1840-1841

Cold Water Army and Youth’s Picnic • Cold Water Army


Cold Water Army, 1841
Masthead for 1841

Robert Merry’s Museum

(Feb 1841-Nov 1872)

Merry’s Museum, 1841
First issue, 1841; the full name doesn't yet appear on the cover
Merry’s Museum, 1844
Cover for 1844
By now, peg-legged Robert Merry has two legs! This cover later was used by editor Mark Forrester for the cover of a juvenile keepsake
Merry’s Museum, 1848
Cover for 1848; apparently used for a brief time late in the year.
This design was used three ways by three editors of the Museum
Merry’s Museum, 1854
Cover for 1854-1856
Merry’s Museum, 1868
Cover for 1868-early 1870
The daisies are reminiscent of the morning glories appearing on the The Riverside Magazine for Young People at this time

Youth’s Medallion

(17 April 1841-10 Dec 1842)

Youth’s Medallion, 1842
Masthead for 1841-1842

The Young People’s Book

(Sept 1841-Aug 1842)

Young People’s Book, 1841
Cover for 1841

Sunday School Advocate

(5 Oct 1841-31 Dec 1921)

Sunday School Advocate, 1855
Masthead for 1843-1845
Sunday School Advocate, 1849
Masthead for 1849
Sunday School Advocate, 1857
Masthead for 1857
Sunday School Advocate, 1865
Masthead for 1864-July 1865
Sunday School Advocate, 1870
Masthead for 1870-early 1871
Sunday School Advocate, early 1872
Masthead for early 1872

Every Youth’s Gazette • Youth’s Gazette • Peter Parley’s Youth’s Gazette

(22 Jan-31 Dec 1842)

Every Youth’s Gazette, 1842
Masthead for 1842

Youth’s Guide and Star

(Jan-July 1843)

Youth’s Guide, 1843
Masthead for 1843 (magazine wrapper may be missing)

The Pierian

(Jan-Aug 1843)

The Pierian, 1843
Cover for 1843

Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine • Boys’ & Girls’ Monthly Library

(Jan 1843-after March 1844)

Colman’s Boys’ and Girls’ Magazine, 1843
Cover for 1843 (cover was mutilated when the volume was bound)

Youth’s Penny Gazette • The Youth’s Sunday-School Gazette

(11 Jan 1843-1861)

Youth's Penny Gazette, 1845
Masthead for 1845
Youth's Penny Gazette, 1848
Masthead for 1848
Youth's Penny Gazette, 1853
Masthead for 5 Jan 1853-17 Dec 1856;
The Myrtle used a variation on this theme

The Child’s Friend • The Child’s Friend and Youth’s Magazine • The Child’s Friend and Family Magazine

(Oct 1843-Oct 1858)

Child’s Friend, 1853
Cover for 1853

The Well-spring • The Wellspring for Young People • The Well-spring and Missionary Echoes • The Wellspring

(5 Jan 1844-1928)

Well-Spring, 1845
Masthead for 1845
Well-Spring, 1857
Masthead for 1857

Uncle Ezekiel’s Youth’s Cabinet

(May 1844-15 March 1846?)

Uncle Ezekiels Youths Casket, 1845
Masthead for 1845

The Myrtle

(Dover, NH; 17 May 1845-31 Dec 1904)

Myrtle, 1859
Masthead for 1859:
a variation on a theme familiar to readers of Youth’s Penny Gazette

Young People’s Magazine

(Jan-Dec 1846)

Young People’s Magazine, 1846
Cover for 1846

The Student • The Student and Family Miscellany

(Nov 1848-Oct 1855)

The Student, 1849
Cover for 1849

Young American’s Magazine of Self-Improvement

(Jan-Dec 1847)

Young American’s Magazine, 1847
Cover image & cover layout for 1847

Boys and Girls’ Magazine, 1848
Cover for 1848-1850
Boys and Girls’ Magazine, 1852
Cover for 1852

The Youth’s Pictorial Magazine

(May 1848)

Youth’s Pictorial Magazine, 1848
Cover for 1848
Possibly the only issue ever of this eclectic collection apparently built around stock illustrations (This area of New Hampshire also saw "publication" of an amateur magazine, The Ladies Wreath, around the 1850s.)

The Friend of Youth

(1849-Oct 1852)

Friend of Youth, 1850
Masthead for 1850

The Schoolfellow

(Jan 1849-Sept 1857)

Schoolfellow, 1852
Cover for 1852

Sunday School Gazette • The Dayspring

(4 Aug 1849-after Dec 1879)

Sunday School Gazette, 1858
Masthead for 1858-1860

The Sunday-Scholar’s Mirror


Sunday-Scholar's Mirror, 1848?
Cover for 1848?

Youth’s Dayspring, 1850
Cover for Jan-Feb 1850
Youth’s Dayspring, 1854
Cover for 1854

Youth’s Monthly Magazine

(July 1850-June 1851?)

Youth’s Monthly Magazine, 1850
Cover for 1850

Fireside Miscellany and Young People’s Encyclopedia

(Sept 1850-July 1851)

Fireside Miscellany, 1854
Cover for 1850-1851, 1854
What may be a reprinting of the Miscellany appeared in 1854; on the cover, only the publisher’s address changed

The Standard-Bearer

(1851-after 1867)

Standard-Bearer, 1858
Cover for 1858

Presbyterian Sabbath School Visitor, 1855
Masthead for 1851-1852, 1855-1856
Presbyterian Sabbath School Visitor, 1869
Masthead for 1865-1871

The Child’s Paper

(Jan 1852-1897?)

Child’s Paper, 1853
Masthead for 1853-Dec 1857
Child’s Paper, 1861
Masthead for April 1861-Dec 1863

The Youth’s Casket

(Jan 1852-Dec 1857)

Youths Casket, 1856
Cover for 1856

The Schoolmate

(Feb 1852-Oct 1855)

Schoolmate, 1853
Cover for Nov 1852-1854

The Little Pilgrim

(Oct 1853-April 1869)

Little Pilgrim, 1855
Masthead for 1854-1855
The early Pilgrim was a small newspaper
Little Pilgrim, 1868
Cover for 1867-1869
The pilgrim made a final appearance on the early 1870 cover of The Little Corporal, which absorbed it in 1869

The Little Forester

(Jan 1854-1855?)

Little Forester, 1854
Masthead for 1854

Children’s Friend, 1861
Masthead for 1861-1862, 1864

The Little Traveler

(Cincinnati, OH; Nov 1854-after Dec 1854)

Little Traveler, 1854
Masthead for 1854

Forrester’s Playmate, 1855
Cover for 1855
1855-1867, covers were sometimes printed on colored paper: pale yellow, light blue, pale mauve

Student & Schoolmate, 1857
Cover for 1857
Student & Schoolmate, 1867
Cover for 1867

The Young Reaper

(Jan 1857-1908?)

Young Reaper, 1857
Masthead for 1857
Young Reaper, 1866
Masthead for 1865-1868

Youth’s Cabinet and Little Joker

(April 1857-after June 1857)

Youth’s Cabinet and Little Joker, 1857
Masthead for 1857

Schoolday Visitor, 1869
Cover for 1869

The Child’s Magazine

(May 1857-April 1858)

Child’s Magazine, 1857
Cover for 1857-1858

Youth’s Evangelist, 1861
Masthead for 1859-1862

Sunday-School Banner, 1859
Masthead for 1859

The Weekly Magpie

(30 April?-29 Oct 1859)

Weekly Magpie, July 2, 1859
Masthead for 18 June-9 July 1859

I Will Try

(May 1859-after Oct 1860)

I Will Try, November 1859
Cover for Nov 1859-1860

The Little-Pig Monthly

(May, July 1859)

Little-Pig Monthly, 1859
Cover for 1859

The Child at Home

(Dec 1859-1879?)

Child at Home, 1861
Masthead for plain edition, 1861, 1863-1866
She is, of course, reading The Child at Home
Child at Home, 1871
Masthead for plain edition, 1867-1871
Child at Home, 1872
Masthead for 1872

Children’s Guest

(Jan 1860-1866?)

Children’s Guest, 1864
Masthead for 1864

The Youth’s Temperance Visitor

(1860-after Jan 1872)

Youth’s Temperance Visitor, 1860
Masthead for 1860, 1864-1870

Lutheran Sunday-School Herald, 1865
Masthead for 1864-Dec 1867

Child's World, 1864
Masthead for 1864
Child's World, 1866
Masthead for 1866
Child's World, 1871
Masthead for Sept 1868-Feb 1869, 1871

The Children’s Friend

(Richmond, VA; Aug 1862-1 Feb 1865, 1866-June 1915)

Children's Friend, Richmond, 1867
Masthead for 1867-1868

The Young Pilgrim

(Sept 1863-after Dec 1869)

Young Pilgrim, 1869
Masthead for 1869

Our Young Folks

(Jan 1865-Dec 1873)

From 1865 to 1867, the cover changed every three months, with Columbia presiding over vignettes reflecting the appropriate season
Our Young Folks, winter
Cover for January, February, & March
Our Young Folks, summer
Cover for July, August, & September
Our Young Folks, 1872
Cover for 1868-1873
Columbia has become a very young (& slightly sulky) Athena

The Little Corporal

(July 1865-April 1875)

Little Corporal, 1865
Masthead for 1865-1866
The early Corporal was a newspaper; once the magazine had covers, similar images of the Corporal appeared on the first page
Little Corporal, 1869
Cover for 1869
His hat and saber nearby, The Corporal reads to a family comfortably ensconced in their parlor. The eagle pictured at the top of the cover is "Old Abe," a battle mascot which became the mascot of the magazine.
Little Corporal, 1871
Cover for July 1870-1871
July 1870 saw a new size and a slightly different cover, as the Pilgrim was removed, having guided subscribers into their new magazine
Little Corporal, 1872
Cover for 1872-1873

Youth’s Temperance Banner, 1867
Masthead for 1866-1868

Juvenile Instructor, 1869
Masthead for 1868-1872

The Children’s Friend

(West Chester, PA; May 1866-Dec 1887)

Children’s Friend, 1867
Cover for 1867
Children’s Friend, 1871
Cover for 1870-1876

Demorest’s Young America, February 1867
Cover for Feb 1867: In lavender and metallic silver, a father presents to his delighted family a copy of Demorest’s, on the cover of which a father presents to his delighted family a copy of ...
Demorest’s Young America, June 1867
Cover for June 1867: the family has a makeover (and the boy behind Father gets a face!)
Demorest’s Young America, 1869
Cover for 1869; same patriotic color scheme, new size & cover: what could be the family a few years later reads under the benign gaze of Art, Enlightenment, and Literature
Demorest’s Young America, 1872
Cover for 1871-1872; same family, larger page size

The Busy Bee

(Nov 1866-after Feb 1874)

Busy Bee, 1866
Masthead for 1866
Busy Bee, 1868
Masthead for Dec 1867-1868, 1874

The Children’s Hour

(Jan 1867-June 1874)

Children’s Hour, 1870
Cover for 1867-1870

The Little Chief

(Jan 1867-Feb 1872)

Little Chief, 1871
Cover for 1871

The Nursery

(Jan 1867-Oct 1880)

Nursery, 1868
Cover for 1868

The Riverside Magazine for Young People

(Jan 1867-Dec 1870)

Riverside Magazine, 1869
Cover for 1867-1869

Oliver Optic’s Magazine, 1867
Cover for 1867

The Little Messenger

(July 1868-1 Aug 1873)

Little Messenger, 1869
Masthead for 1869

Scattered Seeds


Scattered Seeds, 1871
Masthead for 1871
The upside-down S’s in her paper are also backward!

Golden Hours

(Jan 1869-1880)

Golden Hours, 1871
Cover for 1869-1871

Bright Side, 1870
Masthead for 1870

Our Young Folks’ Illustrated Paper

(1 Oct 1871-15 Dec 1873)

Our Young Folks Illustrated Paper, 1871
Masthead for 1871

Are the covers as perfect as the images seem? Alas, not always (well—the 1841 Parley’s Magazine is). Some are missing small chunks from the edges. I decided that there’s not much educational value in ragged edges, so I "filled in" the torn places, when I couldn't crop them out.

Why aren't there images of all the covers? The images come from copies in my personal collection. While I hope to someday have at least one copy of every cover, I'm not quite there yet!

Why does this page look strange in Internet Explorer? I use Firefox and am not a professional web designer. While I managed to get the images to line up tidily in an earlier version of IE, they "staggered" again once a later version was released. Embrace the wonkiness! (Or give Opera or Firefox a try!)

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