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Let’s Read The Christian Herald, June 1937!

The Christian Herald ran from 1878 to 2006. Originally inspired by a British Christian newsletter of the same name, the magazine was at one point the highest circulating religious magazine in America. Along with news of the Evangelical Christian ministries across the globe, the magazine featured original fiction and poetry,  homemaking and child rearing interest articles, as well as international Christian-Muslim relations. A platform for appeals to international and domestic charitable causes, the magazine made a name for itself in the interest of charity through summer camps for disadvantaged inner city children. My personal impression of this magazine is that it seems written for the archetypal midcentury progressive Christian, like the image of the kindly granny who spends all her free time knitting socks for babies born to unwed mothers, as someone reads articles from this magazine to her to pass the time. For a good history of The Christian Herald and its lasting impact through Christian summer camps, click here.


This cover features a Rockwell painting that was previously used as the cover of a Boy’s Life from 1935. The cover of that Boy’s Life was commissioned to promote the Washington DC Boy Scout Jamboree, which never happened – a polio outbreak hit DC, so Roosevelt cancelled it at the last minute. The DC Jamboree was rescheduled for June 1937, hence why they’re bringing it back to the cover. Why it’s the cover of the Christian Herald, I don’t know, but I guess they were just doing the Boy Scouts a solid. Maybe the art came at a discount in case it was cancelled again. I think the boy scout is beckoning his fellow scouts to join the party, but in 2019 terms it just looks like he’s taking an invisible selfie. Find your best angle, kid!


I’m not sure what the story is here – this man hates salesmen because they’re annoying and, even worse, they have bad breath, which offends him more than the sales pitch – because HE has a bottle of Listerine within reach at all times! That seems to suggest a bigger problem, doesn’t it? Listerine IS something like 25% alcohol…

What, did YOU forget about the distinguished legacy of the Quackenbush dynasty? But really, if you need a source for generic mid century whitebread American names, this is a nice listing. Is your family name in here? I found both my maternal and paternal names.

Not having read the letter in question, I’m going to assume that the young woman was complaining that her life was boring because she wasn’t all that interested in giving her whole life over to the service of her church community. Well, Mrs. Cora M. Turrell is here to set her straight with the “milk of human kindness”.

Mrs. McLeod is referring to the New London School Explosion, a natural gas leak that killed an estimated 300 people at an elementary school in Texas. The wiki article is not for the faint of heart. I had never heard of it before this magazine, which is apparently something that attracted little publicity despite being such a horrific tragedy.

As for France nationalizing munitions, that’s a bit over my head, but from what I gather it was a move by a newly socialist-controlled France to both bolster their economy and fight off Germany, which…well, we know how that went down.

I’m not sure why that person wanted a list of why Protestants were legit, whether they were looking for reassurance or confirmation that they had no purpose, but that just seems bizarre to me that they would need to ask.

An interesting and charmingly preachy essay on resisting cigarettes, given that it has no health data to cite and mostly makes its arguments in opposition to inescapable tobacco advertising. The author is also very nervous about the addictive properties of nicotine, which he tobacco industry of course didn’t acknowledge at the time.

Women, of course, are weaker and more susceptible to the negative effects of smoking than men, so we really have to work extra hard to resist even getting started on cigarettes. Also featuring the adventures of Fred and Madge and The Boy of Shining Unbreakable Patriarchal Faith Who Totally Smokes In The Shed after School.

An example of some gripping original fiction, featuring some distant cousin of The Giving Tree that seems to have a voyeuristic streak when it comes to pretty ladies.



The reach of Kotex ads in every single magazine is really amazing, isn’t it? And sheesh – this was the era of pads being attached to a little garter belt-type thing around your waist, but having a period is bad enough without having to worry about people seeing your pad through your dress.

If you can make it through that poem without gagging, kudos to you. Interesting that “colored grown up socks” signified maturity, when nowadays adult socks are pretty uniformly black or white and colorful socks are deliberately quirky for adults, cute and appropriate for kids.

Margaret Sangster was a hugely popular poet, writer, editor (she edited Harper’s Bazaar for ten years), and later columnist for these kind of Christian family magazines. Given that she died in 1912, I can’t say when this feature was actually written, but I guess “feeling crappy because your kids are growing up” and “I’m holding my husband back from his great destiny with my womanly insecurities about not being good enough for high society” are timeless problems.

I love that photo of the little boy and his dog.

Let’s sum up this white Christian man’s 1937 trip to Morocco:
– slow your roll with that opening paragraph there, Joseph Conrad.
– men are alternately described as seagulls and leeches, children are alley cats with “savage tongues.”
– donkeys be tiny.
– the men on the donkeys don’t like you, probably because you’re a dick who compares them to seagulls and leeches.

– Moorish women, on the other hand: hot.
– Women of Morocco: not weeping in misery and begging the handsome white man to free her from a harem, to his shock!
– Men of Morocco: surprisingly resentful about this whole French occupation thing.
– Oh thank god the French are here to “sanitize an eastern post-hole”.
– When European civilization inevitably collapses, Morocco will live on because I guess they never advanced beyond the dark ages anyway right?

Gibraltar remains a British Territory, so it’s hard to say what the impact of independence from England would have had on them, but I will note that their chief economic activity is online gambling, so obviously Britain is really invested in their well being.

Check out the steamship cruise around the world – Oriental streets are always gay, say these grumpy looking Japanese women hiding from the camera under their umbrellas!


“The problem with crime in Harlem is that black people aren’t white people!”


I wonder what these hoteliers would do if they knew that someday their elegant hotel would be a homeless shelter?



The first page was printed the same on both sides, and I can’t think of a good reason why. There’s a little story and a prayer for every day of the month, and there’s some weirdness in with the cutesy stuff (he calls his wife “Milady” and, haw haw, would you believe that she drives like a crazy person! Women!). Like “Hypocrite Furniture”, which is not nearly as deep as the author thinks it is, or “The Bloodthirsty Pacifist” – in which he’s very likely talking about Hitler.


I think there were five or six of these Christian Annuity Plan ads in this issue alone, which makes sense given the content but also make the magazine seem a little…well, hungry. I don’t have much of an opinion on these things, since I just learned what they are ten seconds ago, but I doubt that people can comfortably live off them in their old age if they weren’t already giving a ton to begin with. I suppose that isn’t the point of giving an annuity to a Christian Charity, as the real reward is knowing that you’ve helped spread the Word of God to people in Botswana or something, but these ads are really really into convincing you about what’s in it for you.

How about that Bixby ad, eh? I love that they had exactly one punctuation mark to use.



Spice duty with delight…spice duty with delight…spice duty with delight…spice duty with delight…

The recipes in this issue were remarkably low-key, involving nothing so fancy as mayonnaise or processed cheese or any combination of the two. I had my reservations about venison jelly at first, but on closer look it’s more of a sweet-sour condiment that would probably pair well with something gamey. As for that Certo ad…

“Where’d I get the idea brides couldn’t make jelly?”
“I don’t know, Wendell, what other dumbass thoughts do you have running through your head?”


Mont Lawn Summer Camp has been going strong for well over a century now, and I’m happy to say that I don’t immediately see any bad press about it. What’s very hard not to notice, however, is how overwhelmingly white it was. So if you were a poor white child living in an inner-city slum, programs like Mont Lawn welcomed you to enjoy the great outdoors for the summer and play and have some happy memories in your very likely miserable childhood. If you lived in an inner-city slum and you missed out on a thing called childhood while also being black or non-Christian, bully for you. I couldn’t find anything specifically about when the camp opened its doors to kids who weren’t white, but I’m going to throw out a guess that it wasn’t until the 60s or even 70s.


Hey, something that men get blamed for and targeted for once! And we even get a racy shower photo!


I wonder what the alcohol content of Listerine toothpaste was. She’s not telling!



Thanks for reading! Next time we’ll be checking out another but very different issue of Sunset from the last one, exploring the golden west from March 1905!