The Juvenile Magazine wasn’t the first periodical for children published in England, but it seems to have been the first that acted like a magazine. This 60-page monthly included nonfiction, fiction, poems, and illustrations. And it offered something more. The “Editor’s Address to Her Young Readers” points out the educational value of the new periodical, but promises a more intimate relationship between editor and reader than today’s reader expects. The young subscribers were encouraged to send compositions for publication. And those “deprived of a tender parent, or friend, to correct their little foibles, and to guide them with propriety in the path of life they are destined to tread,” the editor asserts, could write to her and receive advice in the pages of the magazine.

It may have happened; it may not. Information from the editor appears at the beginning of many issues, but it consists of assurances to contributors their their work was received. Advice on less tangible matters may have been disguised as pieces on morality like “The Female Adviser.”

Whether works by young readers appeared in the magazine is also up to interpretation. “The Schoolboy” and “A Schoolgirl” have writing styles much more mature than is plausible; and the other pieces are clearly by adults.

The final product may not have had as intimate a relationship with its readers as the introduction promises, but it had a strangely intimate relationship with the first American magazine for children, providing much of the material it printed.
“The Editor’s Address to Her Young Readers” (from The Juvenile Magazine, January 1788; pp. 3-4)

[p. iii]






My young Readers,

The very great partiality I entertain for youth, has induced me to engage in a plan, which I flatter myself will be productive not only of your present amusement, but of your future welfare.

To you, my young friends, who are fond of instruction, this Magazine will be particularly advantageous; you will peruse it with delight, and glean from it that useful knowledge which will endear you to your friends, and render you, at maturer years, valuable members of society: nor does my zeal for your service rest here; there are, without doubt

p. iv

among you, some who are, from various circumstances, deprived of a tender parent, or friend, to correct their little foibles, and to guide them with propriety in the path of life they are destined to tread; to such, the Editor of the Juvenile Magazine may not prove an useless correspondent: should you, my young friends, at any time perceive an unruly passion or habit intruding, or a situation in which you are at a loss to conduct yourselves, by addressing a letter to the Editor, at Mr. Marshall’s, you will be furnished, in the next Magazine, with that advice which may enable you to overcome the one, and accomodate yourselves to the other.

Those young persons who wish to contribute to the Juvenile Magazine by any literary production, will have that attention paid to their performances, which their abilities, and the goodness of their intentions may merit.

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