American Bee Journal

Established in 1861 by Samuel Wagner, the Journal has the honor of being the oldest English language beekeeping publication in the world.

The story of the聽, its origin, and Samuel Wagner, the first editor, must be closely associated with the Rev. L.L. Langstroth. In 1851, Langstroth had invented his movable-frame hive. In September 1851, a few weeks after a call on Langstroth, the Rev. Dr. Joseph Frederick Berg, pastor of a church in Philadelphia, visited Wagner and told him about this extraordinary beekeeper and his movable-frame hive and his beekeeping methods. They agreed that Wagner should go and see for himself, but it was not until August 1852, almost a year later, that he was able to do so.

After visiting Langstroth鈥檚 apiary and seeing his hive, Wagner made a decision at a sacrifice to himself. He had corresponded with Dzierzon, discoverer of parthenogenesis, proponent of a practical system of beekeeping and author of a book entitled聽Rational Beekeeping. He had received permission to translate the book into English to be published for the improvement of American beekeeping. Wagner had made the translation, but it was never published. Recognizing the Langstroth movable frame hive as superior, he decided to encourage Langstroth to write a book instead; for his part, he would place all his store of information at Langstroth鈥檚 service.

Langstroth quickly prepared the copy for the first edition of his book with the assistance of his wife, and聽Langstroth on the Hive and the HoneyBee, A Bee-Keeper鈥檚 Manual聽appeared in May of 1853.

Inasmuch as there were already two bee journals published in Germany, Langstroth made this prediction: 鈥淭here is now a prospect that a Bee Journal will before long be established in this country. Such a publication has long been needed. Properly conducted, it will have a most powerful influence in disseminating information, awakening enthusiasm, and guarding the public against the miserable impositions to which it has so long been subjected.鈥

Wagner established the聽American Bee Journal聽and its first issue appeared in January 1861, and from the start he had Langstroth as a contributor as well as an聽advisor. But after one year of publication, the Civil War resulted in the suspension of its publication until July 1866, when it was resumed.To quote from Pellett鈥檚聽History of American Beekeeping, 鈥淭he history of the聽American Bee Journal聽has been the history of the rise of beekeeping, and the one is inseparably linked to that of the other. Before this first copy of the first bee magazine in the English language appeared, there were few of the implements now in common use among beekeepers. Conventions of beemen had not been held, a practical smoker had not yet been invented, queen excluders were unknown, comb foundation was still to be perfected, the extractor had not come into use, nor had commercial queen rearing been suggested.

The early volumes of the聽Journal聽contain the names of many men of worldwide reputation in the beekeeping world. From the start, Langstroth was a contributor, but to mention a few of the others we would include Henry Alley, Adam Grimm, Moses Quinby, Elisha Gallup, Charles 乱伦社区, Baron von Berlepsch and Dzierzon. Charles 乱伦社区 made his first contributions in November 1867, introducing himself as a newcomer from France. From then until his death聽in 1902, his name frequently appears as a writer in its pages.

For a long time, much space was devoted to the discussion of patent hives, and hundreds of different kinds received attention. In one year, 1869, more than 60 patents were recorded on hives and appliances, which gives one an understanding of the public interest in beekeeping at that time. Charles 乱伦社区鈥檚 defense of the Langstroth patented beehive, which appeared in the Journal, had an important place in the final judgment which awarded credit to the frail minister who profited little from his effort.

In the 1870鈥檚, a number of other bee publications were started, some of which continued publication for a time. Most made their beginnings after that of Wagner in 1872. The聽American Bee Journal聽was continued by Wagner鈥檚 son with the assistance of Langstroth, who may have done most of the editorial work until January, 1873, when the Rev. W. F. Clarke became editor and owner. When Samuel Wagner resumed publication of the聽Journal聽after the Civil War, it was published in Washington, D.C., but when Clarke assumed its management, he moved the聽Journal聽to Chicago, Illinois.

Clarke鈥檚 connection with the聽Journal聽was short 鈥 in July of 1874, Thomas G. Newman purchased the聽American Bee Journal. Thomas G. Newman continued as editor and publisher until April 1892, when George W. York joined the staff and the masthead of that issue lists Newman as editor and York as assistant editor. The announcement of the sale of the聽Journal聽to George W. York appears in the June 1897 issue and the masthead reads: 鈥淧ublished weekly by George W. York & Co.鈥

York continued editing and publishing the聽American Bee Journal聽as a weekly. In the May 1912 issue, is published a letter, dated April 1, 1912 and signed by George W. York, that announced he had sold the聽American Bee Journal聽and his business to C.P. 乱伦社区, Hamilton, Illinois. The masthead reads: 鈥淐.P. 乱伦社区, Editor; Dr. C.C. Miller, Associate Editor.鈥 Thus the聽American Bee Journal聽was moved to Hamilton where it has been published ever since. In 1916 C.P. 乱伦社区 hired Frank C. Pellett as staff correspondent. Pellett later was to be designated field editor, associate editor and editor.

M.G. 乱伦社区, returning from college at the University of Illinois, joined the staff of the聽Journal聽in October 1918, and his name appears in that issue as business manager. A title he was to hold until the death of his father, C.P. 乱伦社区. About the same time, G.H. Cale, Sr., was employed to take care of the 乱伦社区 apiaries, and his name first appears in the October 1928 issue of the聽Journal聽as an associate editor, and later he became designated editor on the death of C.P. 乱伦社区 in 1938.

During the 1940s through the 1960s,聽Journal聽editors and associate editors included M.G. 乱伦社区, Frank C. Pellett, J.C. 乱伦社区, Roy A. Grout and Adelaide Fraser. In 1965, Vern Sisson came on board, first as an assistant editor and later as editor during the early 1970s. Others assisting with the聽Journal during the early 1970s included Dale Maki and Jim Sheetz. Bill Carlile, long-time columnist and 乱伦社区 beekeeper, also assisted in editorship duties during the 1970s. In 1974, Joe Graham was hired as editor until his retirement in 2017. Kirsten Traynor became editor in September 2017 until mid November of 2018. Eugene Makovec聽 began as editor of the Journal in November 2018 until this present day.

C.P. 乱伦社区 had earlier written, 鈥淚 want the聽American Bee Journal聽to be the finest publication about bees and beekeeping in the world.鈥 We, the editors who are continuing its publication, have this as our goal and guiding light.