Samuel Goodrich’s intentions regarding Parley’s Magazine are set forth in its “Prospectus.” The magazine was named for his most popular character, Peter Parley, an old man who loved to tell stories to children; early in its history, Parley’s combined fiction, fact, and illustrations in a way that would have been familiar to Peter Parley’s fans. The range of subjects was reflected in the magazine’s first cover.
“Prospectus” (from Parley’s Magazine, March 16, 1833; p. 2)

The design of the publishers, in this Magazine, is to offer to the public an entertaining work for children and youth; one that may become with them a favorite; one that will please and instruct them; one that they will regard not as a thing which they must read as a task, but which they will love to consult as a companion and friend; one, in short, the reading of which may be permitted to good children as a reward, but the denial of which may be felt as a punishment by those who are bad. It will consist chiefly of matters of fact, and the editors will endeavor to present truth and knowledge in a guise, as attractive to the youthful mind, as that in which fiction has generally been arrayed.

The title of the work is chosen, as an indication of what it is intended shall be its character. The style which the author of Peter Parley’s tales has chosen as a vehicle of instruction for youth, will be adopted in its pages, and Peter Parley, in his proper character of story teller and traveller, will often appear as a contributor. The work will comprise pieces adapted to all stages of the youthful faculties from childhood upwards. It may thus pass from hand to hand in the family circle, and the parents will not disdain to find amusement in what they are called upon to explain to their children; while the elder branches will be induced to try to lead on, by easy steps, their still younger companions to that enjoyment which they have already experienced themselves.

The Contents of the Work will be too various to be enumerated in this place; but in order to convey some idea of the intentions of the conductors, the following may be mentioned as forming a portion of the more prominent subjects;

I. Geographical Descriptions, of manners, customs, and countries.

II. Travels, Voyages, and Adventures, in various parts of the world.

III. Interesting Historical Notices and Anecdotes of each State, and of the United States as well as of foreign countries.

IV. Biography, particularly of young persons.

V. Natural History, as birds, beasts, fishes, &c.; as well as plants, trees, flowers, &c.

VI. A familiar description of the Objects that daily surround Children in the Parlor, Nursery, Garden, &c.

VII. Original Tales, consisting of Home Scenes, Stories of Adventure, &c., calculated to stimulate the curiosity, exercise the affections, and improve the judgment.

VIII. An Account of various trades and pursuits, and some branches of commerce.

IX. Cheerful and pleasing Rhymes, adapted to the feelings and comprehension of youth.

The Publishers have made arrangements to have the work abundantly illustrated with spirited engravings, and every effort will be made to render it a useful auxiliary to the cause of education.


One work will be issued every other Saturday, and 26 numbers will constitute the yearly volume. The price will be One Dollar a year, payable in advance.

To all who take six or more copies, a reasonable discount will be made.

BOSTON, 1833.


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