Old Church Magazines Online

In January, I wrote that the Church History Department had scanned all the General Conference Reports in English since 1880 and placed them online in the Internet Archive. They have now added to the Internet Archive the following LDS magazines:

  • The Contributor (1879- 1896) was intended “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.”
  • The Improvement Era (1897-1970) was the official arm of the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (YMMIA). It was the premier adult periodical of the Church through its General Authority sponsorship and its focus on theology, history, contemporary affairs, and life in the Church.
  • The Juvenile Instructor began publication in January 1866 and was the first children’s magazine published between the Mississippi River and the West Coast of the United States. Its purpose was to help prepare children  for future responsibilities. The magazine published editorials, poetry (some by Eliza R. Snow), and a monthly column, “Voices from Nature,” by Karl G. Maeser. It also printed essays, stories, and biographical sketches that often focused on moral issues or the history of other cultures. As its interests turned more toward filling the needs of teachers, it became the teachers’ magazine of the Church and was renamed The Instructor in 1929.
  • The Instructor was originally published as Juvenile Instructor from 1866-1929. At first a children’s magazine, it became the official publication of the Sunday School in January 1901. As its pages gradually filled with articles on teaching methods and gospel subjects to be used by the several Church auxiliary organizations, especially the Sunday School, its name was changed to The Instructor in November 1929, to better reflect its content. The Instructor ceased publication in December 1970, when the Church consolidated its English language magazines into three: Ensign for adults, New Era for youth, and Friend for children.
  • The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star was the official publication of the Church in the British Isles from 1840-1970. Parley P. Pratt, an Apostle of the Church and the first editor of the periodical, outlined its purpose: “The Millennial Star will stand aloof from the common political and commercial news of the day. Its columns will be devoted to the spread of the fulness of the gospel- the restoration of the ancient principles of Christianity-the gathering of Israel- the rolling forth of the kingdom of God among the nations- the signs of the times- … in short, whatever is shown forth indicative of the coming of the ‘Son of Man,’ and the ushering in of his universal reign on the earth.” The Millennial Star was officially retired in 1970, when it was subsumed into the Ensign. This collection begins with the January 3, 1901 issue and ends in 1970. The BYU Digital Collections has available 1840-1900.

Each issue of the above magazines appears in various formats: text, PDF, EPUB, Kindle, Daisy, Full Text, and DjVu.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Stephen M. Bird January 11, 2014, 11:02 am

    Thank you for sharing these invaluable resources.

  • Samuel Bradshaw September 1, 2014, 3:18 pm

    Do you know if there are any plans to scan and put online church magazines from 1971 to 2000?

  • Larry Richman September 1, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Samuel,

    The text of the magazines is already online. There are no plans for scanning all the pages of the magazines from 1971 to 2000 because we don’t have copyrights to display all the pictures online from that far back.

    Larry

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