Children And Teen Magazines 1953. The Magazines And I: Chapter 7, Part 3.

May 31, 2021

Children and Teen Magazines … is the 7th chapter from the serialized book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter seven, part three.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, three, four, five and six in previous blogs.  Enjoy.


A boys’ magazine encouraging the outdoor life, The Open Road for Boys was published from November 1919 to the 1950s. The title changed to Open Road The Young People’s Magazine in 1950. The magazine was quite the motivator for young boys to get out and explore the open road, so to speak, with adventure, sports and outdoor fun prominent features. By 1949, the magazine was published by Holyoke Publishing in Massachusetts.

The March 1953 issue had a basketball ace on the cover, along with stories about hunting lions in Africa and adventure in Alaska. From swapping ideas to the cartoon contest the magazine became noted for, Open Road was a valuable part of the history of young people’s magazines, especially in the 1950s. 


Seventeen was first published in New York City in 1944. Its mission was to provide teenaged girls with impeccable role models and all the information they needed about their own personal growth and development. Hearst Magazines bought the publication in the early 2000s. In November 2018, it was announced that Seventeen’s print editions would be reduced to special stand-alone issues only.

The March 1953 cover was splendidly “springy,” with the cover line “Wake Up, It’s Spring.” It was colorful and featured a young lady resplendent in her best Easter frock, complete with hat and gloves. The articles inside ranged from “What You Wear” to “How You Look and Feel.” There was a section called “Your Mind” for those personal thoughts and feelings; a “Home and Food” section; along with “Having Fun.” Seventeen was and still is a relevant resource for teenaged girls.


The advisory board for Story Parade magazine was impeccable. Members from the American Library Association, the U.S. Office of Education, Columbia University, and the list goes on and on, offered their expertise and knowledge on the content of this children’s title. The magazine was issued monthly, except for July and August, and had no advertisements at all, giving it the look and feel of a paperback book. The illustrations were colorful and very complementary to each of the whimsical and educational stories inside.

The March 1953 issue features a cover story about a wonderful little bear named Bruno, “The Awakening of Bruno,” by author Richard Stone. The subsequent stories and poems are just as perfect for holding a young child’s attention, while teaching them something valuable at the same time. The magazine was complete with fun-filled puzzles and games that children could relate to and enjoy.


A magazine for teenaged girls, this title was a predecessor of the dating apps of today. From dating advice to a story titled “Have You Tasted Forbidden Love?” such as the March 1953 issue features, this magazine was certainly focused on the female perspective, but offered “boyfriend” in the title nonetheless. On the March 1953 cover, a young woman with her mouth slightly opened seemed a bit breathless as she pondered the teaser lines for a story called “Love’s Seven Sins” right below her face. It was definitely a romantically-geared publication that could lure itself off the newsstand and right into a teenaged girl’s hands. 


Another digest-sized children’s magazine, Tom Thumb’s Magazine for Little Folks was published by Universal Publishing and Distribution. The magazine was  filled with pages children could color and stories that could teach them without seeming to. The magazine was written and edited by child guidance experts, with vocabulary that was carefully controlled and basic. There was a “How and Why” section, along with games and cartoons for loads of fun.

This 1953 issue was filled with 3-D action pictures and had cut-out glasses that children could use to get the full effect of the 3-D. The cover was bright and colorful and touted the magazine as 130 pages of bewitching fun for little folks. 


Wee Wisdom is the name of an American children’s magazine, which was established in 1893 by Myrtle Filmore, one of the two founders of the Unity spiritual teachings. The magazine was published for 98 years, until 1991. The magazine’s philosophy was that children have an inherent nature that is wise and good, and that the purpose of education is to teach them how to shine their light of goodness and wisdom in the world. 

The March 1953 issue had three lively-looking children building kites on its cover, complete with a string-wrapped kitten in the middle of them. The content is filled with puzzles, games, vivid poetry and stories that entertain and educate. The activities inside range from drawing to coloring to stamp collecting. It’s a different time, a different era, but fun for children nonetheless.


Young Mechanic magazine was published by Ziff Davis, which was an American publisher founded in 1927 by William Bernard Ziff Sr. and Bernard George Davis as a hobbyist print magazine publisher. Young Mechanic was a magazine that gave young people with mechanical minds an outlet, with stories like “Faster Than Sound,” TV Is Not New,” and “Body Tips For Hot Rodders.” It was a magazine that provided blueprints for things like wastebaskets or diagrams for how to start a car when it won’t. There was a plethora of ideas and creative thinking behind each story and advice article.

The spring 1953 issue featured an illustration of a young man building his own 14-foot boat on its cover, with inside stories such as “Developing and Printing Film,” (remember film) and “How to Solder.” The magazine was a young person with a mechanical brain’s dream.

Up next, the True, Detective, and Confessions magazines of 1953. Stay tuned.


  1. Bubba. Do you know who the “basketball ace” was?

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