Victorian Popular Fictions 4.2 6 Gangnes

Editor, Reader, and Value for Money in Young Folks

 Madeline B. Gangnes


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Our Young Folks Weekly Budget (1871–97) is among the longest-running Victorian periodicals designed for child readers. Beginning as a halfpenny weekly, it soon doubled its price to establish its format as a children’s story paper similar to The Boy’s Own Paper (1879–1939) and comparable children’s weeklies. Throughout its publication, Young Folks displays an explicit concern with value for money, balancing assertions of quality with a desire to maintain its price. This article explores some of the ways in which the paper’s editors built their community of readers, explained changes to the paper’s length, format, and price and incorporated reader contributions to promote circulation. Through an examination of interactions between “the Editor” (James Henderson’s editorial team) and readers of Young Folks, this article charts a concerted effort to keep readers persuaded that every change made to the paper was in service of value to the consumer. At a time when periodicals strove to satisfy readers’ appetites for high-quality content while also keeping prices low, Young Folks employed specific strategies to remain a penny weekly that adapted to significant changes in its readership for over two decades.



children’s periodicals; James Henderson; penny weekly; reader contributions; serials; Young Folks


Date of Acceptance: 31 December 2022

Date of Publication: 13 January 2023

Double Blind Peer Reviewed

Recommended Citation:

Gangnes, Madeline B. 2022. “Editor, Reader, and Value for Money in Young Folks.” Victorian Popular Fictions, 4.2: 80-100. ISSN: 2632-4253 (online) DOI:

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