The Youth's Companion

The Youth's Companion
Youth's Companion, 1831
Categories children's magazine
Founder Perry Mason
First issue  1827 (1827-month)
Final issue 1929
Company Perry Mason & Co.
Country United States
Based in Boston
Language English

The Youth's Companion (1827–1929), known in later years as simply The Companion—For All the Family, was an American children's magazine that existed for over one hundred years until it finally merged with The American Boy in 1929. The Companion was published in Boston, Massachusetts by the Perry Mason Company (later renamed "Perry Mason & Co." after the founder died). From 1892 to 1915 it was based in the Youth's Companion Building, which is now on the National Register of Historic Places.


Early issues of the Companion were centered on religion, having been created, in the words of its first publishers Nathaniel Willis (father of Nathaniel Parker Willis) and Asa Rand, to encourage "virtue and piety, and ... warn against the ways of transgression". In its early years its circulation did not reach 5,000.

Through the years, publishers included Willis & Rand (Washington St., c. 1831); Olmstead & Co., (School St., c. 1857);[1] and Perry Mason & Co. (Washington St., ca.1868;[2] Temple Place, c. 1873–1888;[3][4] and Columbus Ave.; c. 1894).[5]

In the 1890s its content was re centered on entertainment, and it began to target adults as well as children with pieces contributed by writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Emily Dickinson, Booker T. Washington, and Jack London. Another innovation was a medical column for older readers. In consequence, its circulation increased one-hundredfold, with sales peaking in 1893. It was advertised in 1897 as "an Illustrated Family Paper", having, as one person said of it, done "away with childish things". It did, however, retain a children's section, which included short poems and puzzles, and in faith to its beginnings, however, The Youth's Companion did not mention nor advertise drugs or alcohol, nor did it delve much into politics; when it did, it usually did so in a humorous way.

On September 8, 1892, the magazine published the first copy of the Pledge of Allegiance, written by staff member Francis Bellamy.

From 1893–1907, Johnson Morton (Harvard 1886) served as an editor. In later years the magazine published articles from Willa Cather and Winston Churchill.[6]

Erle Stanley Gardner (1889–1970) was, as a child, very fond of the magazine. When he embarked on his own writing career, Gardner borrowed the name "Perry Mason" for his famous fictional attorney-detective.[7]


  1. Boston Directory. 1857.
  2. Boston Directory. 1868.
  3. Boston Directory. 1873.
  4. Boston Almanac and Business Directory. 1888.
  5. Boston Almanac and Business Directory. 1894.
  6. Thomas D. Weist, "Thomas B. Marquis", in, Marquis, Thomas B., The Cheyennes of Montana, p. 35, Reference Publications, 1978 ISBN 0917256042.
  7. Erle Stanley Gardner biographic material by William F. Nolan

Further reading

  • Youth's Companion. v.4-5 (1831).
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