Pledge of Allegiance


Conventional wisdom has it that the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America was first published on September 7, 1892 in a popular publication called Youth’s Companion. It was written by Francis Bellamy, a Baptist minister.

You can read the Wikipedia entry on the Pledge, if you’d like.

They’re close. But the actual FirstMention looks to be a day later than Wiki (and everyone else!) seems to think. The Youth’s Companian piece is clearly dated September 8, 1892 (which was a Thursday, by the way).

Here’s what the FirstMention actually looked like.

3. Salute to the Flag, by the Pupils.

At a signal from the Principal the pupils, in ordered ranks,
hands to the side, face the Flag. another signal is given;
every pupil gives the Flag the military salute — right hand
lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead and close
to it. Standing thus, all repeat together, slowly: “I pledge
allegiance to my flag and the Republic for which it
stands; one Nation indivisible, with Libery and Justice
for all.” At the words, “to my Flag,” the right hand is
extended gracefully, palm upward, towards the Flag, and
remains in this gesture till the end of the affirmation;
whereupon all hands immediately drop to the side. Then,
still standing, as the instruments strike a chord, all will
sing AMERICA–“My Country, ’tis of Thee.”

Check out the description of the original salute!

“…right hand lifted, palm downward, to a line with the forehead…”
Hardly the familiar hand-on-heart that’s common these days.. Glad it’s changed over the past hundred years or so. This 1899 photo (from the Wikipedia entry) shows it was changing even then, as their hands are near their hearts, rather than the military-style salute originally suggested.

Lastly, here’s the page from the Youth’s Companion, clearly (if minutely) showing the date as September 8, 1892.


Our FirstMention research is carried out in many sources, including historical newspaper archives, online family history records, state archives, and old books.