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The Contributor

by Petrea Gillespie Kelly

Edited and published independently by Junius F. wells, the founder of the Young Men's Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA; renamed young men in 1977), the Contributor (1879-1896) proposed "to represent the Mutual Improvement Associations, and to furnish a publication of peculiar interest to their members and to the mature youth of our people" ("Salutation," p. 12). One of its purposes was to encourage and foster the development of literary talents among the young men and young women in the Church. It contained articles on such subjects as travel, philosophy, history, biography, and gospel topics. There were also letters from the General Authorities, conference reports, lesson outlines for the youth weekly meetings, hymns, fiction, and a little poetry.

The Contributor Company was formed on January 11, 1886, and Wells continued as editor, publisher, and business manager. But when it was purchased by the Cannon Publishing Company in 1892, Abraham H. Cannon became the editor and publisher. Cannon died suddenly in July 1896, and the Contributor ceased publication with the October issue.

In November 1897 the general board of the YMMIA launched an official magazine, the improvement era (1897-1970).

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


Anderson, Edward H. "The Past of Mutual Improvement." IE 1 (Dec. 1897):85-93.

Wells, Junius F. "Salutation." Contributor 1 (Oct. 1879):12.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, The Contributor

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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