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Guideposts is a Christian non-profit organization founded in 1945 by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, Raymond Thornburg, and Peale's wife, Ruth Stafford Peale. The 1945 inaugural issue of Guideposts magazine, which was printed and distributed to 10,000 Americans, was a four-page leaflet meant to encourage and uplift individuals, particularly soldiers returning home from the war. The inaugural issue also contained a story by World War I Ace, Eddie Rickenbacker.
Although a fire destroyed the magazine's circulation files in 1947, the publication was saved thanks to publicity from radio broadcaster Lowell Thomas, and an article in Reader's Digest. Over the years, the magazine circulation has increased considerably. Today it is among the top 30 largest magazines in the United States, with a circulation of 2 million. The Guideposts organization, which also maintains an outreach ministry service, is currently headquartered in Danbury, Connecticut, with additional offices in New York City and Nashville, Tennessee.
The magazine today
Each monthly issue of Guideposts magazine contains numerous articles by people of all ages, races, and backgrounds, recounting how their faith in God, or the wisdom of an older relative or mentor, helped them through personal challenges. These can include grief, poverty, relocation, serious personal or family illness, unemployment, and strained personal relationships. Surviving natural disasters, accidents, and becoming stranded on wilderness adventures are also frequent topics. Most articles contain a snapshot of the author, along with an artistic illustration showing the situation. Monthly lead cover articles often feature the story of a noted entertainer, professional athlete, or other celebrity who rose from poverty. The magazine also judges and awards monetary awards for stories by teenage authors. Guideposts is nonsectarian and welcomes Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish writers. A separate youth edition, published for several years, has been discontinued.
Guideposts Magazine sponsors two writing contests. The annual Guideposts Young Writers Contest awards a total of $25,000 in scholarship funds to high school juniors and seniors whose personal true stories are chosen for publication in the magazine. The Guideposts Writers Workshop Contest, held every other year, offers winners a free writing clinic with established authors in Rye, New York, for five days, all expenses paid.