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The Toastmaster Turns 86!

As the world has evolved, so has the magazine.

By Shannon Dewey

Vintage Toastmaster magazines next to typewriter

It’s the year 1933. Construction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in California has just begun, Wiley Post becomes the first person to fly solo around the world, and hundreds of thousands of people are feeling the effects of the Great Depression.

In the midst of all this, an 18-page publication printed on orange paper circulates among members in each of the 20 Toastmasters clubs in the United States and Canada. The Toastmaster magazine was in its humble beginnings, being issued on a quarterly basis to those who paid the 1 USD annual membership fee.

The Toastmaster has come a long way over the last 86 years. In terms of content, even in the 20th century, the magazine did not go untouched by current events. Issues published during the Great Depression, for example, featured many articles and commentaries stressing the importance of Toastmasters training to members disenfranchised by a stricken economy. During the years of World War II, many Toastmasters were called to serve their countries, and the magazine covered the value of bringing public speaking training to the enlisted men. Then, in 1973, when women were officially admitted into Toastmasters, articles began to reflect this powerful transformation in membership and brought a new kind of voice to the Toastmaster.

The Toastmaster magazine was in its humble beginnings, being issued on a quarterly basis to those who paid the 1 USD annual membership fee.

The Toastmaster today publishes content to meet the needs of members in the 21st century. Popular recent subjects include presentation technology and apps, how to practice mindfulness, developing cultural and emotional intelligence, and using transferrable skills in the workplace.

The magazine has also taken different shapes over time to keep up with digital demands, including an online flipbook, tablet app, and a web-based edition that debuted three years ago on the Toastmasters website. A member login is no longer required to view the current issue, so articles can be read and shared by anyone, at any time, from any device. The online edition features interactive content such as videos, audio tips, podcasts, photo galleries, and hyperlinked resources, with articles promoted across Toastmasters’ social media channels weekly.

Are you ready to step back into time with your Toastmaster? Check out some of the significant occasions over the decades in the photo gallery below, then take a quiz and test your magazine knowledge.

Visit the Toastmaster Archives

Did you know that every issue of the Toastmaster is available for download by PDF? Issues from 2012–present are located under the Archive tab, or visit the public Toastmasters Gallery for issues from 1933–2011. Article indexes are also available for your convenience to help you search for a specific article by topic or author.


Toastmaster magazine debuts in April 1933. New World Headquarters in Santa Ana, California, was announced in a February 1947 cover story. The Annual Toastmasters International Convention was held in San Francisco, California, in 1948. Montreal, Quebec, Canada, graced the cover in July 1959. The November 1965 issue honored Toastmasters’ Founder Ralph C. Smedley, who passed away on September 11 of that year. The Toastmaster often used illustrations for cover art, such as this March 1972 issue. Helen Blanchard became the first female international president in 1985 and membership reached over 100,000. More than 2,200 people attended the 1992 Toastmasters International Annual Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The magazine started covering topics to keep up with technology trends in the early 2000s, including how to manage a website. In the last decade, the Toastmaster began using more images of real members on the cover. Mickey Mouse was specially drawn by the Disney Studios for the October 1957 cover. A club in Maracaibo, Venezuela, was featured for its diverse membership in the October 1962 issue.  Articles in the 1970s included tips on audiovisuals, such as a slide projector, filmstrips or videotapes. A special all-humor issue came out in March 1983. The October 1999 issue celebrated the organization’s 75th anniversary. The first web-based edition of the magazine made its debut in October 2016.

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