Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Editors of the Boy's Own Paper

James Macaulay (Ed. 1879 - 1897)
The first editor, Dr. James Macaulay was a fairly old gentleman when appointed. At the age of sixty-two he took a senior, father-figure role within the organisation and retained his position until 1897 when he retired. He had previously worked on other Religious Tract Society publications Leisure Hour and Sunday At Home. Fortunately he was assisted by the more than able George Andrew Hutchison who was both assistant and acting editor during Macaulay's tenure at the helm.

George Andrew Hutchison (Sub Ed. and Acting Ed. 1879-1897, Ed. 1897-1912, Consulting Ed. 1912-1913)
Hutchison became BOP acting editor at the age of thirty-seven was already an experienced printer and practical editor. Working on the Social Science Review when only twenty-four he developed warm friendships with doctors and medical workers which were to prove useful in future work with the Boy's Own publication. When assuming his role with the BOP he already had twelve years under his belt working as editor of Dr. Barnardo's magazine, Night and Day.

A family man and member of the Baptist church, Hutchison displayed a practical outlook and much good sense. He was actively supported by his wife Elizabeth who, on occasion would handle as many as 400 letters in a week from readers anxious for answers within the paper's Correspondence section.

The last editor of BOP, Jack Cox, wrote of Hutchison:

This kindly, stocky man, spectacled and bearded, quiet and unassuming, yet a speaker of rare quality vibrating with enthusiasm, was the foundation of the BOP's success. He set tremendously high standards for succeeding editors to follow...He knew how to attract authors. Writers who could write did so gladly, however modest the fees, and the magazine flourished...In my opinion his sheer versatility and capacity for work dazzled people who had no experience of the demands and pressures of Fleet Street, pressures based on the intensity of the competition and the need to make publishing pay.*

In 1912 the Religious Tract Society appointed a younger man Arthur Lincoln Haydon to the role of Editor and Hutchison, now aged seventy was made Consulting Editor. Within a year "Hutch" as he was affectionately known, had died, still working on the morning of his death.

When writing of the BOP under Hutchison, Jack Cox said it was a "paper of character." Whether displaying works of famous contributors or anonymous works all were "subordinate to the paper itself."*

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