Cruikshank's decorated initial 'T'n 1751, John Newbery embarked upon a new, albeit short-lived, venture in publishing the Lilliputian Magazine; or, the Young Gentleman & Lady's Golden Library, being An Attempt to Mend the World, to render the Society of Man More Amiable, & to establish the Plainness, Simplicity, Virtue & WIsdom of the Golden Age, so much Celebrated by the Poets and Historians. With two issues priced at 3 pence each and bound together with a third, and final, issue produced in 1752, the Lilliputian Magazine occupies a somewhat disputed place as the first English children's magazine. Although it appears that Newbery intended for circulation to run to 4,000 copies per issue and each of the three issues included a variety of rhymes, riddles, scores for dances, simple recipes and short stories, Newbery did not intend to sustain any regular output for the Lilliputian Magazine. (Drotner 17) Other publishers quickly followed in Newbery's footsteps, and between 1752 and 1800, eleven juvenile periodicals appeared, these include John Marshall's Juvenile Magazine; or, an Instructive and Entertaining Miscellany for Youth of Both Sexes first published in 1788, the Children's Magazine; or, Monthly Repository of Instruction & Delight, published in 1798-99 and the Picture Magazine; or, Monthly Exhibition for Young People, circulating from 1800 to 1801. Despite the precedent for installment publishing sustained by the ever-popular chapbooks and moreover by late eighteenth-century religious tract writers such as Hannah More, the first sustained effort at publishing children's periodicals must be William Lloyd's Youth's Magazine, started in 1805. (Hannabuss 22)

Throughout the nineteenth century, the market for children's magazines continued to explode, driven in part by advances in printing, the decreasing price of paper and the already high literacy rate of the English population. Indeed, although religious periodicals continued to form the majority of children's magazines, other publications followed and by the end of the century, religious titles shared a burgeoning market comprising of secular magazines and the scintillating penny dreadfuls. Although varying in size and quality, most magazines continued to consist of 32 or 24 pages with 4 or 6 engravings per issue. Indeed, by mid-century, these readily available, cheaply priced — often one penny or at most six pennies — magazines regularly enjoyed monthly circulation rates in the thousands.


Bratton, J.S. The Impact of Victorian Children's Fiction. London: Croom Helm; New Jersey: Barnes and Noble Books, 1981.

Drotner, Kristin. English Children and their Magazines, 1751-1945. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1988.

Haining, Peter, ed. The Penny Dreadful. London: Victor Gollancz, Ltd., 1976.

Hannabuss, C. Stuard. "Nineteenth-century Religious Periodicals for Children." British Journal of Religious Education. Vol. 6, No. 1, (1983), p. 20-40.

Springhall, John. "Disseminating Impure Literature": The 'Penny Dreadful' Publishing Business Since 1860." Economic History Review: New Series, Vol. 47, No. 3, (Aug., 1994), p. 567-584. Accessed on JSTOR, Brown University.

Last modified 22 July 2007