Return to About Mormons home

The Children's Friend

by Vivian Paulsen

Published by the Primary, The Children's Friend was the children's magazine of the Church from 1902 through 1970. Reflecting its pioneer heritage, the January 1902 first issue (2,000 copies) was mailed out hand-wrapped in used but ironed wrapping paper and tied with string collected from nearby homes. May Anderson, editor of the magazine from 1902 until 1940, wrote in the first issue, "The basis of all our work will be to make the children want to live better lives." The first attempt to accomplish this was made by printing materials for the leaders and teachers of children: lesson guides, stories from the lives of outstanding men and women, stories about children, songs, memory work, handiwork projects, and specific instructions to Primary workers. Later a section for parents was added, and in 1909 a more direct approach was attempted by including materials for the children themselves in girls' and boys' departments. Later, pictures, riddles, continued stories, and a "Just for Fun" page were added (1913). In 1923 the size of the pages was doubled and the contents were directed more toward the children. Some of its stories were dramatized on "The Children's Friend of the Air" program over a local radio station in Salt Lake City.

Sister Anderson was succeeded as editor by May Green Hinckley (1940-1943), Adele Cannon Howells (1943-1951), and LaVern W. Parmley (1951-1970). In January 1971, as the Church consolidated its magazines, The Children's Friend was replaced by the Friend magazine, the current publication designed expressly for the children of the Church.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Church Organization and Priesthood Authority home page; Church Publications home page)


Kerr, Marion Belnap. "The Children's Friend for Fifty Years." The Children's Friend 51 (Jan.-Feb. 1952):29, 76.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Children's Friend

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

All About Mormons