For those of you familiar with the “Friend”, you will no doubt be aware that this week we are celebrating our special anniversary birthday. One hundred and fifty years ago on January 13, 1869, “The People’s Friend” was published for the first time. What must the original editorial staff have thought when they produced the magazine back then; did they have any inkling that the publication would still be going strong a century and a half later?
The magazine’s first ever editor, David Pae, sums it up best: “We intend that fully one half of the ‘Friend’ shall be devoted to fiction. The ‘Friend’ being intended for fireside reading, nothing will be admitted into its columns having the slightest tendency to corrupt the morals either of old or young.”
Entertaining The Readers
Though the “Friend” has changed its look over the years, going from a monthly to a weekly, the introduction of its famous scenic covers and accompanying short story illustrations, I believe the content has stayed true to David Pae’s original words.
The early editions of the magazine were described as “A Weekly Miscellany Of Popular And Instructive Literature”. I love the uncomplicatedness and honesty of the wording, so that the readers knew what was in store for them, and that they wouldn’t be disappointed, or worse offended, by the content.
From a fiction perspective, it gives me great pleasure when I read one of our stories in which the storyline or its characters resonate with me. I believe this is what the magazine excels at – its writers do an astounding job of capturing everyday people and circumstances, and making the reader care about them. “Entertaining” and “feel-good” are words often banded around the Fiction Team. It’s accessible fiction, which doesn’t try to be clever or pretentious.
At the heart of the magazine, there’s a reliability to the writing. And like in life, what more could you ask for from any friend.