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Celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Pledge of Allegiance

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Residents are invited to join the City of Malden and the Malden Historical Society in celebrating the 125th Anniversary of the Pledge of Allegiance and its originator, Malden’s own James Bailey Upham. This special ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 11th from 4:30 to 5:30 PM at the gravesite of Mr. Upham at Forestdale Cemetery. The service will include recitation of the original Youth’s Companion Pledge of Allegiance, as well as today’s modern version.

James Bailey Upham (1845-1905) resided on Lincoln Street in Malden and was an active member of the First Baptist Church. As a partner at the popular children’s magazine, The Youth’s Companion, Upham devised a promotion to distribute an American flag to every public school in the country and to have students recite an oath to the flag in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America.

The original Pledge of Allegiance was first printed 125 years ago in The Youth's Companion on September 8, 1892 in connection with the official program of the 1892 Columbus Day celebration. The original text of the Pledge as published is as follows: I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands: one nation indivisible, with liberty and Justice for all.  James Upham was in Malden on that Columbus Day in 1892 and heard the pledge recited by over fifteen hundred adults and children at a public gathering. We hope you will participate with the City of Malden in honoring Mr. Upham and Malden’s role in creating this famous oath to our country.

James Bailey Upham

Malden Monument in honor of James Bailey Upham

Released by the Office of Mayor Gary Christenson

Photos by Malden Public Library


Massachusetts House of Representatives 1956 Resolution #2644 Giving James Upham Credit as the Author of the Pledge
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