The small magazine, targeted toward grade-school children, was published weekly during the school year from 1919 to 1975, according to Wikipedia.
In September 1975, the School Bulletin was replaced by National Geographic World, which itself was transformed into the current National Geographic Kids in October 2001.
So this issue, dated October 28, 1974, was published toward the end of the School Bulletin's run.1 The staplebound magazine was 16 pages and had full-color, glossy pages.2
The caption for the cover photograph, which was taken by H. Edward Kim, is: "North Korean students display musical skills. Each must master an instrument as well as a practical art such as sewing."
In the cover story, we learn that National Geographic photographer Kim "recently became the first American photojournalist in 25 years permitted to report on North Korea. In its pursuit of an independent course, the North tries as much as possible to take care of its own needs, straining its land and factories and urging its people to ever-greater production."
Here is a cropped portion of another one of Kim's photographs from the School Bulletin:
The caption states: "Korean women labor on both sides of the Demarcation Line at jobs that range from apple picking to abalone diving. Field workers (above) pack apples on a North Korean farm co-op."
The short article concludes, perhaps a bit too hopefully:
"North or South, farmer or factory worker, the people call themselves Koreans. And despite their differences, they look to a time when their 'Land of the Morning Calm' will be one land once again."3Other topics covered in this October 1974 issue include:
- a sheep farm in Chaplin, Connecticut
- the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco
- memories of Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains
Finally there's an article about the efforts by Franklin Book Programs to provide books for schoolchildren around the world. It notes that the group, since its inception in 1952, had done nonprofit work in nations such as Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia.4
There is a Bruce Wilcox photograph of children in flood-ravaged Bangladesh checking out a shipment from Franklin Book Programs...
Sadly, Franklin Book Programs ceased operations in 1978. Its records are stored at the Princeton University Library.
Share your memories of the National Geographic School Bulletin in the comments section.
1. October 28, 1974, is the birth date of actor Joaquin Rafael Phoenix, who stars as Freddie Quell in the new Paul Thomas Anderson film, "The Master." It comes out in just 16 days. Not that I'm counting.
2. This issue was originally mailed to a teacher at Valley View Elementary here in York County.
3. According to Wikipedia, "'The Land of the Morning Calm' is an English language title for [Korea] loosely derived from the hanja characters for Joseon."
4. Apparently, Franklin Book Programs' largest operation was in Iran, and that operation is discussed extensively in this Encyclopædia Iranica article.