The Youth's Companion
|Company||Perry Mason & Co.|
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 Perry Mason & Co., later renamed "Perry Mason Company" after the founder died. The revised name first appears on the August 9, 1900 issue. 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); and Perry Mason & Co. (Washington St., ca.1868; Temple Place, c. 1873–1888; and Columbus Ave.; c. 1894).
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.
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.
In the 1947 movie Life with Father, which is set in the 1880s, the children of the family mention reading The Youth's Companion.
- Boston Directory. 1857.
- Boston Directory. 1868.
- Boston Directory. 1873.
- Boston Almanac and Business Directory. 1888.
- Boston Almanac and Business Directory. 1894.
- Thomas D. Weist, "Thomas B. Marquis", in, Marquis, Thomas B., The Cheyennes of Montana, p. 35, Reference Publications, 1978 ISBN 0917256042.
- Erle Stanley Gardner biographic material by William F. Nolan
- Youth's Companion. v.4-5 (1831).