Flashback Photos

Flashback Photo: The Pledge of Allegiance Debuts in a Boston Magazine

In 1892, the Pledge of Allegiance, a staple in school classrooms for more than 100 years, made its debut in the Youth’s Companion magazine, which began publishing in Boston in 1827 by the Perry Mason & Co.

Students performing the Bellamy Salute

Students performing the Bellamy Salute

It was written by Francis Bellamy and included in the magazine in its original form:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”

Born in New York, Bellamy originally trained as a Baptist Minister, and he traveled New England preaching. In Boston, he landed a job with the magazine, which had launched an effort to sell flags to schools, with the idea that every school room should have one as a way to revive patriotism in the country.

It was a premium for the magazine and an idea that had the support of the magazine’s publisher, Daniel Sharp Ford and its promotions man James B. Upham.

The magazine’s publisher pondered, however, once the flag was in the room, what should be done with it? And the pledge was born.

It was officially adopted by Congress in 1942, and over the years, of course, it has undergone changes. But it remains remarkably consistent as it has been repeated countless millions of times.



  1. Chuck Johnson

    September 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I always found making children say the Pledge at such an early age to be frightening. No child should pledge to anything they can’t yet understand. Not to mention the religious crap we lump in with it.

    • Gleno

      September 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

      Right. Because we’ve seen how much better children turn out when we DON’T teach them right from wrong, when we DON’T indoctrinate them with the principles and ethics of our culture, and when we DON’T instill commonly held values in them.

      Put your head back in the sand and be quiet. When we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you.

  2. Cecily Muller

    September 8, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    Wow, this picture looks more Nazi like than American…rather looks like they are saluting Hitler…scary!

  3. Paul J. Spadea

    September 8, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    This is a bullshit story with a bullshit neo nazi picture used out of context.
    I didn’t realize that this page claiming to be the New England historical society was actually leftist propaganda.

    • ben

      September 9, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      If your beliefs aren’t challenged by the historical record, maybe you should reconsider your beliefs. Rejecting the facts as “leftist propaganda” is both hilarious and incredibly depressing. I hope you aren’t raising a crop of kids to “think” the way you do

  4. ben

    September 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    *ARE challenged


  5. Pingback: Eight-Year-Old Carleton Nicholls Stands Up For Freedom of Speech ... and Sits Down - New England Historical Society

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