Friends Journal began as a weekly on July 2, 1955. It was black and white, all text except for a Fritz Eichenberg-designed woodcut of three Friends that remains our colophon to the present day. A quote from Rufus Jones graced the first cover, and contributions included an essay on “Our Theological Illiteracy” by the celebrated scholar Henry J. Cadbury and a somewhat earnest benedictory poem for the new publication by William Bacon Evans. A list of contributing correspondents from “the United States and abroad” sought to “interpret some of the current ‘temperature readings’ in world affairs.” An editorial outlined the goals of the new magazine:
The present Friends Journal succeeds The Friend, published continuously since 1827, and the Friends Intelligencer, published since 1944. The merger of the two Philadelphia Yearly Meetings earlier this year and developments in other eastern Yearly Meetings have given as much vision to this enterprise as did the new sense of unity in American Quakerdom resulting from the 1952 World Conference at Oxford. We believe that our religious witness as well as our testimonies for peace, social and racial reconciliation requires a vigorous journalistic expression. The Friends Journal will endeavor to speak to the spiritual situation of modern man and support, or stimulate, the aspirations of our meetings for worship and the more tangible efforts of Friends along various lines of practical endeavor. Our new paper needs, in turn, to benefit from the spiritual essence that lives and grows in our home, Meetings, and schools.
Bonus Web Material
Our first issue from July 2, 1955.