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Mission and History

The mission of Friends Journal is to communicate Quaker experience in order to connect and deepen spiritual lives. -Mission statement, 2012

Friends Intelligencer editors (date unknown): photo from FGC archives
Friends Intelligencer editors (date unknown).  Meet today’s Friends Journal team.

Friends Publishing Corporation was founded in 1955 “for the purpose of promoting religious concerns of the Religious Society of Friends and the education and information of its members and others by means of the written or spoken word, including the publication of a magazine or magazines, pamphlets or other writings.” Friends Journal, the major publication of Friends Publishing Corporation, is the consolidation of two previous Quaker publications and corporations, Friends Intelligencer (Hicksite) and The Friend (Orthodox), at the time of reunification of the two yearly meetings in Philadelphia. Friends Intelligencer was published from 1844 to 1955. The Friends Intelligencer Corporation was founded in 1933 “to publish a magazine, pamphlets and other writings for the purpose of promoting religious concerns of the Religious Society of Friends and the education and information of its members and others.” The Friend was published from 1827 to 1955. The corporation, named “Contributors to the Friend, Inc.,” was founded in 1874 “to carry on the publication of the religious and literary journal known as The Friend and to publish such other material pertaining to the general field of the interests, practices, and beliefs of the Religious Society of Friends as may from time to time be determined by the Board of Managers.”

With initial assets of $21,000 and a staff of four, Friends Journal shared office space with Friends Peace Committee of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting from 1955 to 1974. The first issue went to “Friends and readers from other groups in all 48 states of the Union and to 42 foreign countries.” It carried the colophon designed by artist Fritz Eichenberg that has appeared in all subsequent issues of the magazine. In 1955 the Journal appeared weekly, with the annual subscription cost set at $4 (single copies at 15 cents–plus 2 cents postage). By 1957 it had 5,143 paid subscribers. The initial Board of Managers had 39 members (21 appointed by Friends General Conference and 9 each from the two predecessor publications) mostly from the Philadelphia, Pa., area. Thereafter the 18 at-large members of the Board were elected by those persons who subscribed to the magazine and “in addition contribute $5 or more annually to the corporation for the support and promotion of its activities.” On November 11, 1955, Friends Journal “Associates” (616 subscribers who were also contributors) had their first dinner meeting, which became an annual public event featuring speakers on topics of interest to Friends and others.

Today Friends Journal’s staff works in the historic Young Smyth Field building in Center City Philadelphia (a plaque in the lobby notes that our office was once the Quaker Maid Stocking Factory), with a staff of eight and the assistance of volunteers and  interns. Our readership is located in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries. The magazine is published in print 11 times per year and continuously online, with an annual subscription cost of $45. Postage and handling charges of $11 per year apply to subscriptions shipped outside North America. Single copies are available for $6.00 plus shipping. The Friends Publishing Corporation Board of Trustees represents a diverse cross-section of North American Quakers. With an annual operating budget of $1,077,923, we continue to rely on the generous support of subscribers who can also contribute financially for 28 percent of our budget.

Friends Publishing Corporation is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Learn more about FPC’s commitment to financial transparency here.


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