|Boy's Own Paper, The.
|vol 1 no 1, 18 Jan 1879 - Feb 1967.
London E.C., Middlesex. Ed: George Andrew (sub-editor and acting editor); Jack R. Cox; Leonard Halls; Robert Harding; Arthur Lincoln Haydon; G.A. Hutchison (1879 - 1912); James Macaulay (1879 - 1897); George J.H. Northeroft; Geoffrey Richard Pocklington; Thomas Baines Reed (co-editor). Prop: William Henry Giles Kingston (1814 - 1880). Pub: Edwin J. Brett; Purnell and Sons Ltd; The Religious Tract Society (under James M. Macaulay's direction). Printer: The Religious Tract Society. Contributors: Cecil Aldin (ill.); Frank Bagwyn (ill.); R.M. Ballantyne; Percy V. Bradshaw (ill.); Gordon Brewne (ill.); Warne Browne (ill.); Alfred Colbeck; Wilkie Collins; William Dickes (ill.); H.P. Burke Downing; Arthur Conan Doyle (Sir); (Mrs.) Eiloart; George Manville Fenn (1899); Charles Gibson (Capt.); W.G. Grace; George A. Henty; James Frederick Hodgetts; Ascott R. Hope; J. Harrington Keene; David Ker; Talbot Baines Reid Kingston; William Henry Giles Kingston (1814 - 1880); Thomas Millington; R. Hope Moncrieff (pen-name: Ascot R. Hope); Jack Nettleship (ill.); Alfred Pearse (ill.); Max Pemberton (Pemberton?); Talbot Baines Reed; Ashmore Russan; John Sachs (ill.); S. Whitechurch Sadler; John Scoffern; William Gordon Stables; Jules Verne; Edward Whymper (ill.); George Willis (ill.); John George Wood (Rev.); Stanley Wood (ill.); Theodore Wood; R. Caton Woodville (ill.). Size: 29cm, 16pp (1879, 1900). Price: 1d (1879-1881,1900,1912); 6d (1912). Circulation: 500,000/w; 665,000; 200,000/w; 160,000 (1879). Frequency: weekly (Sat 1879, 1900; Tue 1912); monthly (25th day, 1912, 1970). Illustration: colour & b/w engravings, sketches, photographs.
Issued by: Religious Tract Society, The.
Indexing: T of C/vol; list of writers/vol, list of artists/vol, T of C/no, list of illustrations/no. Departments: adventures by flood and field, adventures with wild animals, arithmetical puzzles, boys of English history, chess, correspondence, games amusements puzzles etc, serial fiction, pleasant hours with the magic lantern, outdoor sports and pastimes, poetry, prize competition, practical natural history, swimming, tales and sketches, travels voyages etc., weather forecasts (1879); adventures, the aviary, a bold climber, the boy himself, chess, competitions, correspondence, cricket, doings for the month, queries on electricity, football, the garden, indoor amusements, interviews, life at the zoo, note book and open column, outdoor sports, pets, photography, poetry, the rabbitry, stories (1900); serial fiction, sports, pastimes, amusement, instruction, &c.
Sources: Avery, Gillian. Childhood's Pattern. A Study of the Heroes and Heroines of Children's Fiction 1770-1950. Hodder and Stoughton, 1975.; Banham, Christopher. "'England and America Against the World': Empire and the USA in Edwin J. Brett's Boys of England, 1866-99". Victorian Periodicals Review. 40:2. Toronto: U of Toronto Press, 2007. pp.151-171; Cadogan, Mary, and Patricia Craig. 'You're A Brick, Angela!. A New Look at Girls' Fiction from 1839 to 1975. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1976.; Carpenter, Humphrey and Mari Prichard. The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature. Oxford, NY: Oxford UP, 1984.; Dixon, Diana. "Children and the Press, 1866-1914." The Press in English Society from the Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries. Eds. Michael Harris and Alan Lee. London, Toronto: Associated University Presses, 1986. pp.133-148.; Dunae, Patrick A. "Boys' Literature and the Idea of Race: 1870-1900." Wascana Review 12.1: 84-107.; Dunae, Patrick A. "Penny Dreadfuls: Late Nineteenth-Century Boys' Literature and Crime." Victorian Studies 22:2 (1979): 133-150.; Egoff, Sheila A. "Children's Periodicals of the Nineteenth Century: A Survey and Bibliography." Library Association: Pamphlet 8 (1951): 55.; Ellis, Alec. "Influences on the Availability of Recreational Reading for Victorian Working Class Children". Journal of Librarianship 8:3 185-195.; Ellis, Alec. A History of Children's Reading and Literature. London: Pergamon Press, 1968.; Frost, Ginger S. Victorian Childhoods. Praeger Publishers, 2009, p.1-168.; International Library Review 2.2 (1970).; Lang, “Childhood’s Champions”.; Lofts, W.O.G. and D.J. Adley. The Men Behind Boys' Fiction. London: H. Baker, .; Louis, James. "'Now Inhale the Gas': Interactive Readership in Two Victorian Boys' Periodicals, 1855-1870." VPR vol 42, 2009, 64-80.; Mitchell's.; Nash, “Elopement and the Nautical Novel”. p.44.; New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature vol 3 1800-1900. Ed. George Watson Cambridge: University Printing House, 1969.; Prince, Kathryn. Shakespeare in the Victorian Periodicals. Routledge, 2008, p.1-149.; Rollington, Brief History of Boys’ Journals.; Sutherland Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction.; Turner, E.S. Boys Will Be Boys. London: Michael Joseph, 1974.; Uffelman, 1992.
Histories: VPR 14:2, p.79, 17:1/2, pp.69-70; 18:2, p.78; 19:2, p.65-66; Altholz, Religious Press in Britain.; Altick, English Common Reader.; Barnet, Patricia Mary. "English Boys' Weeklies, 1866-1899." Ph.D. Diss. University of Minnesota, DA 35: 1096A.; Bingham, Scholt, Fifteen Centuries of Children’s Literature.; Cantor, Geoffrey and Richard Noakes et al. Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical; reading the magazine of nature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.; Castle, Kathryn. Britannia’s Children. New York: Manchester University Press, 1996. p.7.; Cox, Jack. Take a Cold Tub Sir!: The Story of the 'Boy's Own Paper'. Guilford Surrey, England: Lutherwood Press, 1982.; Drotner, Kirsten. English Children and Their Magazines, 1751-1945. New Haven and London; Dunae, P.A. "The Boy's Own Paper." Connoisseur 203 (Jan. 1980): 10-14.; Dunae, Patrick. "Boy's Own Paper: Origins and Editorial Policies." PL 9 [2s] (1976): 123-158.; Elleray, "Imperial Authority." VPR 47:3 (2014): 319-343.; Griffiths, New Imperialism and the Fiction of Empire.; Hannabuss, “Correspondence Column of the Boy’s Own Paper”.; Harris, Michael and Alan Lee. eds. The Press in English Society. London: Associated University Presses, 1986.; Holt, “Textual Formations of Adolescence”.; James Louis "Aspects of Victorian Juvenile Fiction." ILR 2:2 (1970): 125.; James, Louis. “Tom Brown’s Imperialist Sons.” VS 17 (1973): 80-99.; Meadows, Results of Scientific Research. 43-62.; Moruzi, "Children's Periodicals" p.295.; VPR [Editor's note: VPR vols 20 and later have numerous articles on this journal].; Warner, Boys Own Paper.; Waters, "Doing the Graphic".
|Comments: "The Boy's Own Paper, published by the Religious Tract Society, disguised by the cautious pseudonym of 'The Leisure Hour Office', achieved phenomenal success in fighting the dreadfuls, not from the lofty region of high class literature, but in hand-to-hand combat on their own ground. Editor G.A. Hutchison imitated their appearance, format and even typeset to lure 'blood and thunder' addicts, but substituted healthy, robust tales for the manufactured rubbish of sensational weeklies. Thus, the Boy’s Own Paper captured the adolescent market" (Lang, Marjory; p.28).
This periodical was the longest-living boys' magazine and it contained "a mixture of school and adventure stories. The odd poem, anecdote, and puzzle was thrown in for good measure" (Drotner, p.124). "A popular periodical dedicated to providing healthy, wholesome fare, Christian in tone but without religious emotionalism" (Bingham, et al).
The Boy’s Own Paper "had done perhaps more than anybody else to bring the ethos of the public schools to the elementary schools, but now those days were over. If the public schools retained any distinctive ethos in the post-war world, those outside their orbit were no longer interested in acquiring it" (Avery, Gillian; p.194).
This paper was "more accessible financially to working class children.... Between 1870 and 1900 many young people who would not frequent bookshops were able to purchase from bookstalls...specially produced periodicals such asThe Boy's Own Paper" (Ellis, p.187).
The Boy's Own Paper was started "to counteract the influence of penny dreadfuls" (Moruzi 294).
Altholz: "the Religious Tract Society began to issue periodicals in the 1820s, widened their scope from the 1850s, and attained best-seller status with the Boy's Own Paper in 1879" (2).
Altholz writes that, under the first editor, Dr. James Macaulay, "it betrayed no sign of religious purpose...under its next editor, G.A. Hutchinson...the cause it served was the late Victorian cult of manliness; it may have contributed more to imperialism than to Christianity" (55).
This is "almost the only Victorian religious periodical that can be read with pleasure a century later" (Altholz 55).
"The ubiquitous and cheap weekly serials known as PENNY DREADFULS inspired the godly and caring to produce magazines that would compete vigorously with them, would cost as little, and would offer as much action and illustration, but of a healthier sort.....The most successful of this type of high-intentioned but lively magazine - indeed of all 19th-century British children's periodicals - was the Boy’s Own Paper" (Carpenter, Humphrey and Prichard, pp.551-552).
"A more successful attempt to replace 'noxious' literature with 'wholesome' literature came from the Religious Tract Society....The Boy’s Own Paper, inaugural notices declared, is 'intended not only to provide the lads of our families and schools with wholesome and elevating reading, but to supplant, if possible, some of the literature the injurious effects of which all so sincerely deplore'" (Dunae, "The Boy’s Own Paper: Origins and Editorial Policies").
"The...Boy's Own took a very different course from some of the other well-intentioned, but less successful, publications of the day. Basically, it addressed itself to youths, instead of to parents, and, as a result, by the last decade of the century it enjoyed the largest circulation of any boys' periodical in Britain. Despite its popularity, though the B.O.P. (Boy’s Own Paper) did not single-handedly drive the dreadful from the newsstands; as much credit was due to Alfred Harmsworth (Lord Northcliffe) and the Amalgamated Press" (Dunae, p.148).
"Not the least popular feature of the Boy’s Own Paper was the splendid folding colour-plate given away with the monthly edition. It made the free chromographs of the 'penny dreadfuls' look remarkably shoddy by comparison" (Turner, E.S., p.89).
"The success of the Boy’s Own Paper was that it appealed to the boys as well as to their parents, and it satisfied a very real need. It was 'founded with the express purpose of counteracting, nay of destroying and throwing out in the field, those publications which have a very large circulation, and which are of the most pernicious kind, and obtained eagerly by boys and girls of our streets'. A periodical that attracted the very best authors and illustrators of the day which inculcated the virtues of manliness and honesty, and hailed from the eminently respectable stable of the Religious Tract Society was applauded....In short, a periodical produced with the boy in mind" (Dixon, p.137).
"Unlike many rival publications, the Boy’s Own Paper also made some attempt to view the African native in a relatively sympathetic, Christian light....The tide of popular opinion was difficult to resist and inevitably the paper joined other juvenile periodicals in conveying reassuring attitudes and opinions which supported Anglo-Saxon claims of superiority" (Dunae, p.86).
Motto: "Quicquid agunt pueri nostri farrago libelli".
The issues for the year are collected and published in an annual volume under the title The Boy's Own Annual. Advertised in The Artizan's Year Book and Engineers' & Building Trades' Almanack as "the magazine which every boy should read" (1883).
"The BOP (as it was familiarly known) was founded in 1879 as a boy's weekly. Its publisher was the RTS [Royal Tract Society] and the paper was intended principally to counteract the pernicious effects of the penny dreadful class of literature with 'pure and entertaining reading'. Also costing a penny it courageously (for an evangelical journal) made secular fiction its main element; the opening item in its first issue, for instance, was Talbot Baines Reed's 'My First Football Match'. The BOP in this way fought the secular juvenile publishers on their own ground, even taking its name from other popular papers with the 'Boys' prefix such as E. J. Brett's Boys Of England. Under its gifted first editor George Hutchison (1841-1913) the BOP featured stories by G. A. Henty, R. M. Ballantyne, Conan Doyle, 'Captain' Charles Gibson and W. H. G. Kingston. Large graphic illustrations and witty vignettes were part of the layout. Among the artists who worked for the paper were: Frank Brangwyn and Jack Nettleship. BOP quickly became the market leader among boys' magazines of the late nineteenth century, with a circulation approaching a quarter of a million and annual profits of over £4,000 year. The paper specialised in tales of adventure, sport and of public life and left an indelible mark on generations of 'lads' of all classes. The BOP survived in attenuated form until the 1960s. In 1880, a Girl's Own Paper was begun as a sister publication" (Sutherland p.79).
It specialised in tales of adventure, sport and public school life. Founded 1879. Tried "to illustrate by practical example the noblest type of manhood and the truest Christian devotion" (Altick, Richard D. The English Common Reader).
Richard Noakes in Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical examines the scientific material in the Boy's Own Paper as a "case study for understanding mass consumption of the sciences" (Noakes, p.153). Noakes also notes that "recent bibliometric work by David Reed has shown that of fourteen leading popular magazines published in Britain and America in the 1890s, the BOP [Boy's Own Paper] contained one of the highest percentages (approximately 6 per cent) of material on topics relating to science, technology, nature, and health" (Noakes, p.153).
"The periodicals from which examples are drawn represent the relatively more expensive, penny journals produced for a middle-class and public school market, like the Boy's and Girl's Own Paper and the Captain, and the newer publications for the working-class readers, weekly halfpenny papers like Marvel, Pluck, and the Magnet" (Castle, Kathryn; p.7).
Location: partial runs: LO/N-1 A vol 1-22+ (1879-1900+, 1946), OX/U-1 A (1879-1941), QZ/P-1 vols 1-2, 4-5, 7-12 (1879-1890), XY/N-1 30:1508-32:1611 (07 Dec 1907-27 Nov 1909); N.America: see Fulton; ULS 2&3; The full text is available on CENGAGE from Gale.
Reproduced by permission, British Library, Boston Spa, Yorkshire
Reproduced by permission, British Library