Our Strategic Vision

The Literary Life of BFS, Part One (1926-1960)

All good things are worth waiting for, and our literary magazines are no exception. At this time, the surviving BFS literary magazines from 1926 to 1960 are available in the Literary Magazine Collection of the BFS Digital Archives, along with the 2003 edition of Wordflirt, the present Upper School literary magazine. 1961 to 1974 literary magazines will be added next week, but still later BFS literary magazines will become available as they are digitized. Quite a few BFS alumni have gone on to notable careers in the arts and publishing, worlds they often first entered at BFS, as shown in many BFS alumni profiles.

The literary magazines in this earliest part of the collection are titled Friends School Life. Originally published from 1919 to 1931, Friends School Life contained school news and literary submissions and was published quarterly in magazine format, with the final edition for Commencement (the BFS yearbook of the time). In October, 1931, Friends School Life became a traditional newspaper titled The Life, published 10 times per year and included occasional literary submissions. There was no dedicated literary magazine until the Fall of 1935 when student interest resulted in the biannual literary publication also titled The Life, a magazine similar to the earlier one, yet devoted to entirely to literary endeavors, and it replaced two editions of its newspaper sibling. 

A lesser known student publication, Junior Life, is also part of our literary magazine collection. Only the second edition of the Junior Life, from May, 1930 is known to survive: published biannually from 1930 to at least 1942, Junior Life gives insight into Lower School curriculum and activities of the time and was published by our our oldest Lower Schoolers, the 6th grade (the BFS Middle School was born with the 1968-1969 school year). The Class of 1936, as 6th graders, saw the possibility of a publication for the younger students of BFS and made it happen and they are the very same class that wanted and published our first true literary magazine as mentioned above, The Life in 1935 – only the second edition from its first year of publication survives.

Please remember that the BFS Archives are incomplete: if you have copies of any BFS publications or class photos, please share them with the school here or by directly contacting Susan Price ’86, BFS historian