The Pledge of Allegiance never would have been written and promoted if The Youth's Companion had not existed in 1892. Today, the magazine and its owner and editor, Daniel Ford, are largely forgotten. This is unfortunate because Ford was a very successful and amazing businessman who knew how to interest both children and their parents in reading, a skill needed today.
The Youth's Companion magazine from 1892 to its demise in 1929 promoted the Pledge of Allegiance. The magazine claimed that its personnel, under the leadership of James Bailey Upham, Ford`s nephew, had written the Pledge. The magazine resented Francis Bellamy's claim that he alone, and not Upham or the staff of the magazine, had written the Pledge. (The magazine's tradition of anonymity at the time the Pledge was written meant that no staff names were associated with any of the writing in the magazine.) In a sense the magazine management was right, for without the leadership of Upham and the backing of Ford's highly respected and successful magazine the Pledge would not have been written and successfully promoted as a flag salute and a national creed for the use of the American public.
In 1892 The Youth's Companion magazine had the largest or next to largest circulation of any American weekly magazine. In 1885 the magazine had a circulation of about 385,000, 400,000 in 1887, 475,000 in 1892, and in 1898 passed the one half million mark. In 1901 circulation was 545,342. It continued near that figure until 1907 and then began a gradual decline. There were still 305,455 subscribers when the Atlantic Monthly Company in Boston took over in 1925. Its final issue was as a monthly in 1929 when it became part of the American Boy.
In 1892 the level of writing in the Companion was of such high quality that parents as well as their children were reading it. It had articles written at all levels for the children and articles for the parents, who would read the magazine around a living room table or the dining room table. This was before the time of television and radio and even the daily newspaper was rare in rural areas.
The decorative seal on the title page showed a family group reading The Companion. In the center was grandmother holding the paper. Behind her were father and mother. Completing the group were a boy about fifteen, a boy of eleven, and a girl about eight years old. Its motto was, "Nothing But the Best."
Daniel Ford had discovered that if you publish for children alone you are doing well if you can keep any reader as long as five years. By publishing for the whole family, although with an emphasis on youth, The Companion held on to many subscribers for a full generation. The Companion was somewhat like the Reader's Digest in that it had something of interest for every member of the family.
Ford and the other editors of The Companion discovered,like the Reader's Digest, that a magazine is more interesting when it contains plenty of short bits as well as plenty of full-length articles. It contained quantities of clippings from other magazines and from books, all with due credit. Even English, German and French magazines were scanned for suitable bits. "Miscellaneous" items ran from fifty words to a thousand words in length.
There were adult articles by presidents of universities, professors, leading scientists, and famous authors. Some of the authors included William James, Willa Cather, O. Henry, Mark Twain, Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, Winston Churchill, Lincoln Steffens, William Cullen Bryant. The Youth's Companion had articles by Thomas Huxley and Mark Twain, by Theodore Roosevelt and Grover Cleveland, and even poetry by John Quincy Adams and Francis Scott Key. In 1892 several poems by Emily Dickinson were published in the magazine.
The emphasis in the fiction was on action, adventure and humor. New writers were welcomed to write for the magazine and were eagerly sought out. The Youth's Companion first brought Jack London to public notice in 1899. The basic formula of the magazine was a mix - serials, short stories, articles by the famous, developments in the sciences, comments on current events, a page of amusing anecdotes, a children's page, a miscellany page, and puzzles. Its fiction combined realism and plenty of action, but often also contained the refined and conventional Victorian sentimentality. Sex, crime or anything considered immoral were rigidly excluded.
Ford was proud of the literary excellence of his paper and wanted it to be a moral and spiritual force in society. He was a great believer in the social gospel principles of Jesus Christ and sought to direct his life by those principles. The three or four hundred employees of his magazine found in him a generous and considerate employer.
The Companion in 1892 also was a leader in the new science of advertising. Great changes in marketing and distribution were taking place in America by 1892, as advertising by national manufacturers began to dominate the magazines and as local retail advertising began to dominate the newspapers.
A leader in circulation and advertising volume in the 1890s, The Companion was a leader in developing methods for making advertising more attractive and more effective. At a time when advertising agencies were basically space salesmen, The Companion established a copy department which turned out advertisements that set new standard of typography and effectiveness. The magazine's practice of submitting a suggested completed ad to advertisers resulted in sales of high-cost space in the publication and was an idea that advertising agencies adopted. The use of photographic illustrations first came into magazine advertising through the example of The Youth's Companion.
The World's Fair edition of Youth's Companion (May 4, 1893), which had a circulation of 650,000 - its highest ever - also had the record amount ever paid for one ad. The $14,000 paid by Mellin's Foods for the first color ad published in an American periodical was for a lithograph of the winning Paris Salon painting of 1891, "The Awakening of Cupid."
The Companion editorial material was not subservient to its advertising. It did not run stories along side of advertisements, but kept all in one section. It had Victorian but intelligent taboos that extended to advertising, taking into consideration that it was read by children. Like today, a large percentage of the magazines of the time had ads devoted to tobacco products, liquor, perfumes and specialized articles of women's underwear. The Companion would not accept such advertising, and eventually this policy helped bring about its demise.
Francis Bellamy was probably correct when he claimed that The Companion's campaign in 1892 to promote the National Public School Celebration for Columbus Day was the first national campaign to combine modern public relations and publicity techniques with national advertising.
The original offices of The Youth's Companion had been in downtown Boston, including locations on School Street, Washington Street and Temple Place. In 1892 Ford moved the headquarters to 201 Columbus Avenue (now 142 Berkeley Street), near the present Boston Central Public Library on Copley Square. The building, which Ford erected for The Companion, today is called the "Pledge of Allegiance Building." The first issue published here was the July 21, 1892, issue and the Pledge of Allegiance was written and published here.
Ford's monumental, five-story building combined beauty and artistic qualities with good design and lay out for a publishing business, with natural light from windows and skylights. Ford erected a monumental, five-story building. His architect, Henry Hobson Richardson, was probably the leading American architect of the time. He designed dwellings, business buildings and public buildings not only in New England but also in the Middle West. His style was the round-arched, squat-columned, masonry-exalting Romanesque. Among his other buildings are the Trinity Church, near the "Pledge of Allegiance Building," and Sever Hall at Harvard University.
This five-storied building Richardson designed for The Companion is of brown sandstone and matching brick, as solid and impressive as a bank. Great arched windows and heavily recessed and arched doors characterize the street facade. Passing beneath the great arch, one enters a great vestibule two stories high. Throughout the interior the woodwork was of oak with heavily carved oaken benches for waiting visitors.
The Business Office was on the first floor and here visitors were assigned guides for a tour of the magazine's building. On one side of the entrance were the Subscription and Advertising Departments. Mr. Ford's office was located in the rear of the Advertising Department. On the other side of the vestibule was the Correspondence Department where business mail was handled.
The Premium Department was on the third floor accessible by stairs or elevator. It had bins and shelves stocked with the premiums. Nearby was the packing and mailing room. Apparently the folding machines and stitching machines were located here also.
The pressroom was located in the basement. In the basement were the presses, collators, binding equipment and paper supplies. Here were located two dynamos which generated electricity for lighting for the building and steam tubular boilers for power.
The editorial offices, library, and art department were on the top floor. The library's principal source of information was immense collection of clippings. The file was like an encyclopedia. Its contents were culled from more than two hundred magazines received from all over the world.
Ford was a modest and self-effacing editor and publisher, and his own name never appeared in any part of the paper until after his death in 1899. He personally approved all the material going into the magazine and its wide range reflected Ford's broad interests. He carefully avoided a didactic tone in the stories, and articles which he printed succeeded in establishing the paper as a powerful influence for high literary and moral standards for three generations.
He called his magazine company the Perry Mason Company for no obvious reason except to protect his privacy. The name was changed to Perry Mason and Company in 1900 after his death in 1899. Earl Stanley Gardner, author of the "Perry Mason" mystery stories, thinks he named his hero after the company's name, which he remembered from his childhood. Gardner was one of the magazine's many readers and a native of Malden, Massachusetts, home of James Upham.
Daniel Ford was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1822. His father, Thomas Ford, and his mother were both born in England and came to the United States at the beginning of the century. The father died when Daniel was only six, leaving his mother a widow with six children and very limited means of support. Daniel as a boy grew up in a family close to the poverty line and perhaps it was this childhood experience that made him sympathetic with the poor and the needy.
He had a common-school education in Cambridge and later supplemented it with constant reading and careful practice in writing. Cambridge, Boston and New England were the intellectual and literary capital of the nation in the nineteenth century. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and other literary "greats" lived in Cambridge during Ford's lifetime.
In Cambridge, the home of Harvard College, Ford apparently learned the self-discipline, penchant for hard work, and highly principled character characteristic of the Puritan. He had a high moral vision of how communities ought to function. The Puritans were a very civic people, with not only a concern with private peccadilloes and personal morality, but also with a strong sense of institutional virtue. What drove many of them were inner discipline, and a sense of responsibility and integrity. You could place the character of your children in such hands, something you could not do with many magazine editors.
Ford was still a boy when he went to work in the printer's trade. He was employed first as a compositor and later as a bookkeeper in the office of the "Watchman and Reflector," a prosperous weekly Baptist journal published in Boston. At age twenty-two he became a partner with J. W. Omstead and bought a large share in this journal.
In 1857 Ford, Omstead and Company bought The Youth's Companion, which had been founded thirty years before by Nathaniel Willis. Its first issue had appeared in 1827, a pioneer in youth weeklies. It may not have been what the young would have chosen, but it was what the parents of the religious New Englanders thought best for them - moral stories for Sunday Schools and Sunday reading, when the principle of Sabbath observance was very rigid. Not long after purchasing The Youth's Companion, the firm dissolved its partnership; Omstead kept the "Watchman and Reflector" and Ford took "The Youth's Companion." One reason for the split in the partnership was that Ford had wanted to increase circulation with premiums while Omstead saw premiums as a form of bribery. The magazine's circulation grew from seven thousand in 1857 to more than half a million copies at the time of Ford's death in 1899.
In his private life, Ford was a generous helper of religious enterprises which were associated with Baptist charities and Christian social action. For many years he supported the Ruggles Street Church, a Baptist missionary institution in the Roxbury factory district of Boston not too far from his residence in downtown Boston. He also supported Francis Bellamy's churches in the area. He often gave away as much as fifty thousand dollars a year to these churches and to other Baptist charities.
At his death the larger part of his fortune of more than two million dollars was bequeathed to the various missionary and benevolent associations of the Baptist Church in New England. Almost one million dollars went to the Baptist Social Union of Boston. With that money the Union built Ford Hall, the meeting place of the Ford Hall Forum, one of the earliest institutions for the open public discussion of controversial social, economic, political and religious issues. Ford Hall was completed in 1908 and could seat 1400 people, and was located near the State Capitol. The State bought the building in World War I, but Ford Hall still exists as a public institution.
In 1908 Ford Hall Forum began its Sunday Evening programs; the first program had four clergymen speaking, three of them socialists and openly stating their positions on the day's social and economic problems.
In 1928 the Forum was ejected from the auspices of the Boston Baptist Social Union. A conservative Baptist group successfully charged that the Forum's meetings were anti-Christian, un-American, socialistic, communistic, and generally radical. Reverend Herbert Johnson, a Baptist minister, helped by the Daughters of the American Revolution, attacked the Forum for its continuous discussion of such radical topics as socialism, woman's suffrage, civil rights, minimum wage laws, birth control and pacifism.
In 1928 the Forum became independent of the Baptists with the aid of such liberal Boston businessmen as Edward A. Filene and Roger Babson. The Forum still provides a platform from which the current political, social intellectual and cultural issues are discussed and debated. It reaches about a million people through public radio and, occasionally, through public television.
The Ford Hall Forum continues to reflect its founder's broad social interests. Ford felt comfortable with the topic of socialism and was much interested in the Social Gospel, which to his friend, Francis Bellamy, implied Christian Socialism. Ford's position was that businessmen should be interested in the welfare of workingmen. He feared unrest among the working classes and saw the possibility of an industrial warfare justified by the legitimate grievances of labor. In willing his money to the Forum, he said that he hoped to stimulate the interest of businessmen who belonged to the Baptist Social Union "in the welfare of those who are dependent upon the returns from their daily toil for their livelihood." He added that the Social Union and the nation should foster closer personal relations between Christian businessman and the workingman because of the latter's "religious indifference, his feverish unrest and his belief that business men and capital are his enemies. This attitude of mind forebodes serious perils, and Christianity is the only influence that can change or modify them."
Ford's wife was Sarah Upham of Melrose, sister of the Reverend James Upham. They married in 1844 and had one son and two daughters. He lived a modest life style in Boston, but he did keep horses and had a yacht, or sailboat, at Marblehead, Massachusetts.
In 1886, Ford's nephew-by-marriage, James Bailey Upham, was appointed head of The Companion's Premium Department and was also admitted as a junior partner in the firm of Perry Mason Co. Upham is responsible for the Pledge in at least three ways. Between 1888 and 1892 he successfully introduced the Flag into the school and the classroom. In 1891 and 1892 he arranged for the National Public Schools Celebration for Columbus to be built around the public schools and a flag ceremony with the as yet unwritten flag salute. In 1892 he described to Francis Bellamy what kind of Pledge he wanted and supervised his writing of it.
In 1893 Upham introduced adults to their present practice of reciting the Pledge at the National Liberty Pole and Flag Raising Ceremony, held at the Highlands of Navesink on the New Jersey coast. In a letter to William McDowell, who was the initiator of this ceremony, Upham wrote, "While it is true that I suggested and marked out the campaigns for the patriotic work which The Companion has inaugurated, yet I recognize the fact that personally I could have done nothing without the backing of The Companion..."
In short, Upham is responsible for placing the Flag in front of the school house, placing the Flag in the classroom, conceiving the idea of a "pledge of allegiance" for a flag salute and promoting its adoption in the public school system and in adult patriotic ceremonies. No wonder that for years many of the Pledge's supporters argued that James B. Upham and The Youth's Companion, not Francis Bellamy, had written the actual Pledge itself.
Both Daniel Ford and James Upham were leaders in the use of premiums. The Companion was the first magazine to use effectively the device of giving premiums for annual subscriptions, a practice it began under Daniel Ford's leadership in the late 1860's. This premium system probably reached its highest development under his nephew, James Upham, who used the American flag as one of many premiums in promotion campaigns. Premiums were given to new subscribers, old subscribers for renewals, and to subscribing clubs and institutions like schools and churches.
By the time of Upham, subscribers could buy many items from the Premium Department. For over a half century, The Companion issued, in late October, a "Premium List Number" containing pictures and descriptions of many different types of goods. This premium number was in many ways the predecessor of the mail order catalogue of Sears and Roebuck. The premiums included laying hens, microscopes, singing canaries, steam engines, 93-piece dinner sets, pedometers,watch fobs, clothes, tools, sewing machines, church bells, pianos, toys, stoves, bedsteads, furniture, silverware. moccasins, Jack knives,lockets, cameras, pictures, and books by Shakespeare, Dickens, Hardy, Gladstone, and Tennyson.
In 1886 Upham had become head of the Premium Department. By 1888 he had launched his School Flag Movement not only to sell flags but also to raise the level of patriotism in the schools. His promotion often would take the form of an advertisement in the magazine.
One very successful ad urged the student to write the Companion for one hundred cards bearing the inscription: " This Certificate entitles the holder thereof to one share in the patriotic influence of a Flag over the schoolhouse." These cards, sold by the pupil at ten cents each, brought in the ten dollars to buy a flag sold from the Premium Department. The Board of Education was asked to furnish the flag staff. This plan, supported by spirited literature, resulted in about twenty-five thousand schools buying the American flag in the year 1891 alone.
The school flag movement was recognized by the nation's education press and was encouraged at the teachers' meetings. Soon it would have the support of the National Educational Association and the United States government. Previously military installations were the only institutions which flew the Flag every day. Upham argued many times that the best national defense was free public school education and therefore all public schools should fly the Flag. In 1890 Upham had a contest in the magazine offering a free flag to the winning school in each state for the best essay on the topic, "The Patriotic Influence of the American Flag When Raised over the Public Schools." The prize flags were nine by fifteen feet in size.
A Companion promotional article of Upham's stated the following:
"Though there are still many schools which are not as yet provided with the flag, the time does not seem far distant when no public school shall be too poor, too remote or too indifferent to have the stars and stripes float over its roof.
"Sufficient time has passed since the movement began to make it possible to judge the results of the unfurling of the flag above so many schools...Has it stirred up in the breasts of boys and girls the hope of living to be brave men and women?
"Has it begun to serve with the children of millions from abroad who inherit no love for your country as a symbol around which will grow a thoroughly American feeling?...
"The writer has seen a large number of letters from teachers throughout the country, over whose schools the flag has been raised, which answered these very questions...
"...teachers report a distinct growth of real patriotism. In a school in Maine, 'Almost every day after the flag raising one could hear the children cheering the old flag.'..
"In this way the school house flag, seen so often so constantly present in the pupil's thoughts, has a marked influence, as several teachers report, upon foreign born children and the children of foreign born parents."
Many schools in 1892 did not want to pay for a flag pole but found a flag staff from the building was more feasible. ( At this time only military bases routinely had flag poles on the grounds.) Thus, "Flag over the school house" was sometimes the campaign name for Upham's school flag program. Today, most state have laws requiring the flag to be flown on a flag pole in front of the school.
The Youth's Companion and its Premium Department promoted these compulsory flag laws. The magazine maintained a file of such laws and provided free copies of them to any individuals or organizations in states which had not yet passed one. The first flag law was apparently passed in Massachusetts when, in 1895 the Legislature passed an act making it obligatory upon school committees to provide a flag and flag staff for each school house.
By 1905 the following states had passed flag laws: all the New England states except Maine, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The southern states probably had not passed any such laws because the American flag was the hated Union flag and not the flag of the Confederacy.
The Companion encouraged the flying of the flag on special national holidays, including Christmas. It also encouraged its readers to buy one for placing on a wall inside the house. One ad recommended hanging a Premium Department's picture of George Washington and draping the American flag around it.
The Premium Department sold American flags of every size, shape and price, including a pocket size flag with a carrying case. Perhaps the most unusual was an apparatus which consisted of a metal flag, enamelled in colors, with its field, stars and stripes detachable. The twenty-eight inch long flag could be built up into its proper fields of stars and stripes and was a suggested prop for school celebrations of George Washington's birthday.
The magazine also sold other types of patriotic materials, for example General Carrington's book, "Beacon Lights of Patriotism," which contained nearly three hundred selections from eminent living statesmen, soldiers and poets. The ad stated: "The spirit that inspired the founders of our nation must be revived and infused into the multitudes that flock to our land. This is the mission of the book." Beacon Lights was given to Companion subscribers for one new subscription or bought for eighty cents.
The magazine urged girls in every public school to form a society for "Mending the Flag." The Premium Department had prepared a kit consisting of a portable cabinet with lock and key, a supply of Red, White and Blue blunting, needles, thread, and a pair of scissors. The first ten schools with such a society received a free kit. Others had to pay $1.50 or send in two new subscribers.
Upham also promoted the sale of patriotic pictures for classroom walls. In 1893 The Companion started a movement for placing portraits of Washington in the public schools. These "Historical Pictures" finally included not only Gilbert Stuart's George Washington, but also portraits of Lincoln, Longfellow and Whittier, and about one hundred patriotic images, such as" The Spirit of '76,", "The Mayflower," " Mount Vernon," Lincoln's Birthplace, "The Landing of Columbus," and "Plymouth Rock." These prints were commonly seen in public schools right up through World War II.
Upham also started a beautification program for rural schoolhouses, urging the planting of trees and shrubs and offering free plans and directions. The Companion also sent out an Arbor-day Roll of Honor on which to inscribe the names of the teachers and pupils who carried out the work. Upham thought the grounds of the rural one room school house to be in greater need of beautification than that of city schools. Professional educators of his time considered the rural school house "old fashioned" and Upham was probably of the same belief. He also was one of the first to connect the environment with patriotic education, believing that the school children should know and appreciate native wildlife and plants.
Where did Upham get all this fervor for patriotic education in connection with the public schools? Apparently it came from both his New England background and his beloved Masonic Order. James Bailey Upham was born in New Hampshire in 1845 and moved as a small boy to the village of Fairfax in northern Vermont. His father, Reverend James Upham, taught Greek and Latin and was the president of the local school, the "Literary and Theological Institution." His son, James Bailey Upham, was educated in this school and was nineteen years old when the Civil War ended. He never served in the Union Army but he did join the local home guard unit and received some military training.
At the end of the Civil War Reverend Upham left for Boston, where he was editor of the "The Watchman and Reflector," the same Baptist journal his brother-in-law, Daniel Ford, had been connected with. He later became the associate editor of the Religious Herald in Richmond, Virginia. James Bailey Upham was his son by his first wife and he had one daughter by a second wife.
After the war, James Bailey Upham went to Detroit and entered the employ of a bookseller and publisher. After a partnership with William Hartshorn, his future brother-in-law, he sold out his interest in 1872 and joined his uncle, Daniel Ford, at The Youth's Companion in Boston. He married Mary Hartshorn of Milwaukee in 1876. They had two children.
Upham moved to Malden, a northern suburb of Boston, in 1880. A large church edifice there, The First Baptist Church, owes much to his support and enterprise. He lived at number 49 Lincoln Street and is buried in Malden.
Upham was a Knight Templar in the Masonic "Converse Lodge" in Malden (the Converses were a wealthy local family). The Order of Knights Templar, also know as the American Rite, is the highest order in the York Rite, the largest Masonic organization in the United States. This is the equivalent in prestige to a Thirty-Third Degree Scottish Rite Mason, the top of the Masonic hierarchy.
The core of Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory, an elaborate mythology, and illustrated by symbols and ritual. The Fraternity believes in mutual assistance among members and in good works of an altruistic and humanitarian nature, such as aid to education, hospitals, and medicine. It looks to the future and believes in human progress.
The Masons, historically, did not admit negroes, mulattoes or women. Many states would not admit cripples. Since each state grand lodge is independent, the state lodge determines many of the local rules and rituals.
To exaggerate only slightly, many of the Masons believed that the United States of America, itself, was the Mason's greatest creation. Many of the founding fathers were Masons, including "Brothers" George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and James Monroe. The great Supreme Court Justice, John Marshall, was also a Mason. By the turn of the century, almost half of the American Presidents had been Masons, including Garfield, Cleveland, McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft. The three-time Democratic presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan, was also a member.
The promotion of secular state run education, as against church-run education, has been an important factor in Masonic history. The modern public school movement in the United States has had a no more consistent supporter than the Mason. Masons believed that there is an essential link between freedom and education and that this linkage requires support for a free, non-sectarian school system. Masons seek to inculcate the ideals of Freemasonry and of "Americanism" into local, state and national affairs. They strive to preserve the fundamentals and principles of the American government, to promote moral values, and to develop America spiritually.
As early as 1642 in Massachusetts, Masons successfully pushed for a law stating that all children were to be taught to read. Believing the public school is the only institution able to combat ignorance and promote "Americanism," the Masons opposed any aid in any form to parochial schools. (Through the years, the Masons also have been a leading supporter of the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.)
The Catholic Church in the papal bulls of Clement XII (1738) and Benedict XIV (1751) condemned Free Masonry as anti-catholic. In France and in southern and eastern Europe the Masons historically had a pattern of rigorous anti-clericalism and liberalism. Six other popes have spelled out the Catholic position regarding the Masonic Lodge, the most famous encyclical on the subject being issued by Leo XIII in 1894. The Church declared that no Catholic may join a Masonic Lodge without incurring excommunication.
Two major reasons exist for the Church's position. One is that the Masonry presents itself as a religious institution with an elaborate mythology and rites. The second objection is that the Masonry administer solemn oaths as part of its initiation ceremony. The Church or State may require oaths for some serious reason, but the oaths and secrecy of the Masons were considered objectionable.
The Masonic influence on Upham is seen in many ways. The Masons' educational goals included pride of patriotism and love of flag and country, with an "Americanism" program for their accomplishment. Masonic influence is especially apparent in The Youth's Companion programs, in the Lyceum League of America, and in The Public School Celebration of 1892.
In 1891 Upham started the Lyceum League of America through The Youth's Companion. The Lyceum League was a patriotic society and debating club under the direction of the magazine and was composed of high school students and recent graduates. The League was intended to supplement the work of the public school and support the spirit of "Americanism," a common goal not only of the Masons but of many other groups at the time.
Upham copied the public meeting aspect of the League after the village Lyceums which were common in New England. The first Lyceum began in Millbury, Massachusetts, in 1826, an innovation of Josiah Holbrook who was a friend and collaborator of Horace Mann, a leader in the public school movement. A lyceum organized lectures at regular intervals, usually with a different speaker each week. The lyceum provided adult education and social life at a time when villagers lacked movies, television, the automobile and often mistrusted the legitimate theater. The only other common diversion was the weekly prayer meeting.
Often a lyceum also provided the subscribers with a library, reading room and lecture hall. By the mid-1830's there were some three thousand lyceums, mostly in the North. A nationwide Lyceum Association eventually led to what would become the National Education Association.
The Companion furnished each of its Lyceum League clubs with a secretary's book, a president's gravel and a parliamentary procedure manual, all packed in a neat box. A list of subjects and books were provided with the box, the books and a bookcase being for sale by the Premium Department.
Three of the recommended books were by the liberal economist and founder of the American Economic Association, Professor Richard T. Ely - "The Labor Movement in America," "Political Economy," and "Problems of Today." Another book was James Bryce's, "The American Commonwealth." Bryce, an English author, saw the United States as setting a course of responsible liberty that would be a model for the world. He saw American institutions as the answer to mankind's longings, towards which the rest of mankind is being forced to move. Other books were the American Statesmen Series: Biographies of Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, etc. Other books included selections of readings by Henry Clay , Daniel Webster, Horace Greeley, Grover Cleveland, and William McKinley. Upham and Francis Bellamy may have drawn up this list of books together.
A Lyceum League club's program included a ritual somewhat similar to the religious and patriotic ritual of the Mason's Order of DeMolays. Like the DeMolays, the clubs were to promote patriotism, character, and citizenship for older boys and young men. Since the DeMolays for Boys was not founded until 1920, Upham, apparently, had the idea for such an Order thirty years early!
By April 1892 the Lyceum League had twelve hundred clubs and thirty thousands members with dreams of lining up two hundred thousand more promising young men. Many Clubs were composed of the entire graduating class of a school. The Companion hoped that the organization would be composed of the best men from each graduating class. The Companion urged club members to promote two Youth Companion campaigns as theirs major projects for 1892 and 1893: the Public School Celebration of Columbus Day in 1892 and the National Liberty Pole and Flag Raising Ceremony in 1893.
Upham's idea of the Public School Celebration was to impress the nation with the fact that the American system of free and universal education was the source of America's greatness and to honor the Public School as the most characteristic product of the four centuries of American life.
In April, 1890, Congress had passed a Resolution for the World's Columbian Fair to be held in Chicago. In the same year Upham began promoting his idea of a Public School Celebration to be built around the Flag and a flag salute. He asked The Companion readers whether or not they liked his idea and the response was good.
The Exposition's Governing Board was composed of two commissioners appointed by the Governor of each State and Territory plus eight at large and two from the District of Columbia appointed by the President. The Exposition was based on Education in the broadest sense of the word. Charles C. Bonney, a Chicago judge, persuaded the Governing Board into setting up a World's Congress Auxiliary to take charge of public schools projects. The official ground breaking was planned for Columbus Day in 1892, the day around which Upham built his Public School Celebration. The actual opening of the Fair would take place in May 1893 and would last until October. In April,1893. a big naval review would take place in New York Harbor to which the President would invite all the world's navies to join the United States Navy. Connected with this New York harbor program would be the Liberty Pole and Flag Raising Ceremony at Navesink, New Jersey, where Upham would be the main speaker and the Lyceum League would provide the flags.
In January 1891 Upham approached the Governing Board of the World's Columbian Fair for their approval to have all the schools have the same basic program centered around the raising of the flag and the reciting a flag salute. By January, 1892, A. F. Nightingale, President of the American Youth's Association of the World's Columbian Exposition, wrote to The Companion and said he supported the National Public School Celebration. He asked The Companion to become the official representative of the Youth's World Congress.
Judge C.C. Bonney, the originator and president of the World's Youth Congress Auxiliary, which had charge of all congresses and which assigned space for the exhibits in the Fair, officially made The Companion the manager of the National Public School Celebration. In January he wrote the magazine and stated, "The management of the National Public School Celebration of October 11, 1892, now belongs to The Youth's Companion. The World Congress Auxiliary cheerfully concurs, and will aid all it can in making your work a success."
Bonney also contacted William T. Harris, United States Commissioner of Education and the National Chairman for all the school projects and exhibits at the Fair. Harris, also a leader and former president of the National Education Association, asked the NEA to join in Upham's venture. Harris succeeded in this task at the Superintendents of Education Convention held at Brooklyn, New York, on February 16 - 18, 1892.
Lyceum League members promoted The Pubic School Celebration in each school. They were to convince their teachers to read a "Message to the Schools" in the classrooms. They were to show their teachers, School Superintendents and Boards of Education that they wanted to celebrate Columbus Day The Youth's Companion's way. Another task was to raise funds for the flags for the lighthouse at Navesink.
The idea of the National Liberty Pole and Flag Raising Ceremony at Navesink came from William Osborne McDowell (1845 - 1927), a businessman of Newark, New Jersey and the founder of the Sons of the American Revolution. His project was to erect a gigantic flag pole of unusual height on the Navesink Highlands on the New Jersey coast near Sandy Hook Point. This is the highest point of land upon the Atlantic Coast in the continental United States and the location of the Navesink Light Station. McDowell saw the twin-towered light house as the ideal place to fly the American flag, where it would be the first thing seen by all those sailing into the New York Harbor, including the immigrants.
Today this Navesink Light Station is called the "Twin Lights Historic Site" in Highlands, New Jersey, and is run by the State Park Service. The federal government in 1862 built this lighthouse with twin towers. In 1898 it became the America's first electrically powered lighthouse. From the water, the connecting building and twin towers gives the appearance of a stone fortress. It was against this background that a group of adults recited the Pledge on April 25, 1893.
John Winfield Scott, who was in charge of the New York advertising office of The Companion, arranged for the Lyceum League of America to participate in this ceremony. He also arranged for Upham to be a guest on board the flagship in the naval review in New York harbor.
Upham gave the major address at Navesink. He said the following:
" America has crossed the threshold of her supreme century. Preceding centuries have built but the framework of our nation. Shall America fulfill her divine mission? Then must she train leaders loyal only to right.
"The times demand a patriotic citizenship, patriotic schools, a patriotic pulpit, a patriotic press. Patriotism in its broadest sense is the propelling force behind this multitude of thoughtful, earnest young men, whose generous action makes this event today possible...
"In behalf then of the Lyceum League of America I have the honor to present to the government of the United States these flags. As the future shall behold them floating in their majestic mission, may all hearts wave a glad welcome to the coming millions; a welcome not in bondage and superstitions of the past, but to freedom, enlightenment and human brotherhood."
A member of the Daughters of the American Revolution then raised the flag which was donated by the Lyceum League, and it was saluted by the guns of the United States Navy. A photograph shows all present saluting the Flag, with outstretched right arms, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the first time that adults had recited the Pledge in unison.
Several Lyceum Club members presented the flags, the flags being the gift of the young people of the Lyceum League. This set of oversized flags was presented to the government for the flying for the first time of the American Flag at the lighthouse. Francis Bellamy, with Upham and McDowell beside him, led the group in reciting the Pledge.
The Lyceum League seems to have declined and eventually disappeared in the 1890's. Francis Bellamy, just before he left The Youth's Companion, suggested that the League permit girls to join, but this step was not taken.
William McDowell was a leader in several new patriotic organizations. He had a role in organizing the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution. He was a friend of Henry Baldwin, a leader in the American Protection Association and the American Patriotic League, but was not as bigoted against immigrants and Catholics.
McDowell established "The Committee of the Society of Pan-American Republics," also known as the "Human Freedom League." He formed the society for the purpose of uniting all the republics of the world and committing them to the principles of arbitration in international affairs. He hoped that each republic would place a border of white around its flag as a hopeful prophecy of the principle of peace among nations.
After raising the Liberty Pole at Navesink, McDowell hoped to raise similar Poles in France, Switzerland and Brazil. He wrote to Carnot, the President of the French Republic, but had no success in persuading France to join the Human Freedom League. Another organization that McDowell helped to found, the Sons of the American Revolution, also refused to help finance the Liberty Pole project. Financial embarrassment associated with the Columbian Liberty Bell Committee, which he chaired, also prevented McDowell from promoting his Human Freedom League. Money troubles may have compromised his association with James Upham because he asked The Companion for about a thousand dollars to pay his construction expenses associated with the National Liberty Pole at Navesink Highlands.
As we will see in the Chapter Six on the authorship controversy, The Companion continued to promote the Pledge until its demise in the 1920's. The magazine began its financial decline in 1915 when the management built a new building for its headquarters near the present site of Boston University. The new building created a debt that could not be liquidated, and as the size of the organization was not cut, its financial difficulties increased substantially.
Even though the printers had a strike in 1920, the management of the magazine refused to save expenses for The Companion by laying off the older employees in favor of younger workers. The management keep their employees on their jobs until The Companion became insolvent. In 1925, it moved to the Atlantic Monthly headquarters on Arlington Street. In 1929, it disappeared as part of the American Boy, which was published in Detroit. Almost all of The Companion's archives have been lost, unfortunately.
Go to Chapter Three.
Dr. John Baer
10 Taney Ave.
Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 268 - 1743