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Onward masthead

Read every issue of ONWARD for free at Hathi Trust.

In December 1868, with a loan from New York banker LeGrand Lockwood, Mayne Reid launched a new magazine for youth, entitled "Onward." The first issue, dated January 1869, consisted of material almost entirely written by Reid, as did the next two issues.Onward magazine cover

Altogethere, there were only thirteen issues. All of volume one (January through June 1869) and one issue in volume two (July 1869) were published by Carleton Publishers. Beginning with the August 1869 issue, Reid himself published the magazine from an office located at 119 Nassau Street in downtown Manhattan. He was assisted by his friend and personal secretary, Charles Ollivant, who left England and came to New York at Reid's bidding to work on the magazine.

The cover of the magazine featured the guardian angel "Ithuriel" and an eagle.

Onward was named for a contemporary English magazine of the same name.(Onward, vol. 2, p. 169)

Reid wrote all or most of the material contained in the first three issues. Starting with the April 1869 issue he included identified contributions from other writers. Although none received a byline, Reid acknowledged most of these contributors by name in the "Vis a Vis" section following the magazine's index or table of contents. While none of ONWARD's other contributors are household names today, some, such as Hezekiah Butterworth, Gen. J. Watts De Peyster, and Frederick Whittaker, enjoyed a literary career beyond the magazine. One of the last contributors, interestingly, was Charles Beach or "Cannibal Charlie," the mysterious author of Lost Lenore, a book that is sometimes attributed to Reid based on the assumption that Charles Beach was not a real person but rather a Reid pseudonym.

Below is an alphabetical list of all known ONWARD contributors, as identified in the magazine by Reid (with place of residence, if given):

  1. W. H. Babcock, Connecticut
  2. J. Jay Barber, Columbus, Ohio
  3. Charles Beach
  4. Charles B. Brockaway, Pennsylvania
  5. Hezekiah Butterworth, Warren, Rhode Island
  6. J. C. Clarke
  7. Pearl Clifford
  8. Ashley W. Cole, New York
  9. Mr. M. F. Crossley, Columbia, Pennsylvania
  10. G. Walter Dale, Northampton, Massachusetts
  11. A. A. Dayton, Binghamton, New York
  12. Edward Denny
  13. Gen. John Watts De Peyster
  14. Edward Fawcett
  15. William Ferguson, Brooklyn, New York
  16. Riter Fitzgerald, Philadelphia
  17. Homer Greene, Poughkeepsie, New York
  18. Miss Grace Horr, Massachusetts
  19. Thomas Hartley
  20. Cherry James
  21. C. F. Jones, Providence, Rhode Island
  22. W. H. Macy, Boston
  23. Miss E. A. Meikleham, Virginia
  24. Ida W. Morris, "daughter of one of the sweetest song-writers America has ever produced"
  25. George Patten
  26. George Prentice, Louisville, Kentucky
  27. Walter Rose
  28. J. Soulé Smith, Florida and Lexington, Kentucky
  29. Charles Stephenson
  30. William L. Stone, New York
  31. W. H. Stuyvesant
  32. R. S. Walsh
  33. Edward A. Ward, New York
  34. Joseph Watson
  35. Frederick Whittaker

ONWARD went out of business after the February 1870 issue. Reid seemed genuinely puzzled that the magazine had not been more successful. Ollivant blamed financial difficulties.


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