When the offices of The Little Corporal burned in the Chicago Fire of October 1871, the magazine suffered a major loss of resources both physical and financial. This thank-you to loyal readers also acts as an enticement to new subscribers. The magazine may never have completely recovered, however, and ended its run four years later.

“Routed But Not Conquered,” by the editor (from The Little Corporal, December 1871; p. 191)

You have already been informed of the terrible calamity which befell the Little Corporal in the great conflagration of Chicago. Everything that we possessed for carrying on our publishing business, types, presses, printing materials, machinery and tools, together with our stock of books, engravings, chromos, electrotype-plates, and paper, etc., were all swept away in a moment by the devouring element. Financially we lost everything we had, amounting to about eighteen thousand dollars, on which was a small insurance; but which is a[l]most entirely worthless, being in companies which will be able to pay only a small percentage of their losses.

Notwithstanding this great and total loss we did not for a moment think of giving up the publishing of the Little Corporal, though we did not just see where we were to get the means with which to carry it on. We had, however, unbounded confidence in the friends of the Corporal scattered all over this good, broad land, so we concluded to issue a supplement number and inform our subscribers of our calamity, make known our plans, and appeal to them to help us by sending in their renewals for next year at once[,] and, if possible, add a few other names. We have many prompt responses accompanied by warm, sympathizing letters, which have given us courage for the present and hope for the future.

Some sent us not only their own names, but subscribed for some of their friends; some have sent us their subscriptions for two years in advance, one for five years in advance; some sent us more than the year’s subscription price, giving the balance as a donation; while one little boy, of Mobile, sent us one dollar and ten cents, all the money that he had, as a donation to his Little Corporal.

We are aware that we did not have the same hope for obtaining help that other publications in the city had, who could at once appeal to the people on the basis of church and Christian duty for aid and support.

The Little Corporal is not published in the interest of any particular church or denomination, and as such can not make its appeal to any particular class for aid and support. The mission of this magazine is to amuse and instruct the young; to cultivate a taste for reading good and useful books instead of the trashy sensational matter that is now so widely scattered throughout the land; to give them proper ideas of life, its duties and responsibilities; to teach them love to God, to their parents, and to each other; in short, to make them wiser, nobler and happier. Such being the aim of this magazine, it fills a place in the list of publications as useful and important to the children as any other periodical specially designed for parents and adults. We trust, therefore, that parents will aid us in re-establishing the Little Corporal by sending subscriptions for their children, and assisting and encouraging them in getting others to subscribe. We earnestly desire that every one of our present subscribers should renew for next year before January first, and, if possible, send one new name with your own.

Copyright 1999-2024, Pat Pflieger
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