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Young Woman’s Journal

The Young Woman’s Journal. Salt Lake City: [vol. 1] Juvenile Instructor Office; [vol. 2-8] Geo. Q. Cannon & Sons; [vol. 9-40] Deseret News.
Vol. 1, no. 1 (October 1889)-vol. 40, no. 10 (October 1929). 23 cm.

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The Young Woman’s Journal was published for forty years by the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (Y.L.M.I.A.). It began under the able editorship of Susa Young Gates, who had proposed its publication in a letter to President Wilford Woodruff and the presidency of the Y.L.M.I.A. on 24 August 1886, while she and her husband and family were serving a mission in the Sandwich Islands. She was to be its editor for 11 years. Earlier, from 1879, the concerns and contributions of the Y.L.M.I.A. appeared in the pages of the Contributor, edited by Junius F. Wells. This journal was the publishing arm of both the Y.L.M.I.A. and the Young Men’s Mutual Improvement Association (Y.M.M.I.A.).

From the beginning, Susa Young Gates emphasized the Journal “as an outlet for the literary gifts of the girl members … while representing the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (Gates, The Young Woman’s Journal, vol. 40, October 1919, p. 678). Within its pages were found various departments and features such as a Picture Gallery, Literary Department, Historical Sketches, Theological Division, Health and Hygiene, Guide lessons, Etiquette, as well as short stories and poetry. Its editors over the years represent many well-known women of the Church. Susa Young Gates, 1889-1901; May Booth Talmage, 1901-1902; Ann M. Cannon, 1902-1907; Mary Connelly Kimball, 1907-1923; Clarissa A. Beesley, Associate Editor, 1914-1923, Editor, 1923-1929; and finally Elsie Talmage Brandley, Associate Editor, 1923-1929 and Editor, 1929.

The Journal struggled financially in its early years and was seriously in debt to the Juvenile Instructor press and the Cannon family. But through the tremendous efforts of Susa Young Gates, who canvassed the state for subscriptions, during 1899-1900, she was able to increase subscriptions substantially and reduce the subscription price of the Journal by half, from $2.00 to $1.00. By 1910 their subscriptions were somewhere between 14,000 and 15,000. The literary and publishing interests of the Y.L.M.I.A. did not end in October 1929, as the November 1929 issue of the larger format The Improvement Era, which up to this time had been published by the Y.M.M.I.A., appeared with a special notice on the cover under its title which read “Combined with the Young Woman’s Journal. This new journal was published as the “organ of the Priesthood Quorums, the Mutual Improvement Associations and the Schools of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In part adapted from Susa Young Gates, History of the Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1911).