Dr. Garry Cleveland Myers and Caroline Clark Myers, with full careers behind them and looking forward to retirement, established the well-known children's magazine, Highlights for Children, in Honesdale, PA, in 1946. After living, working and raising their three children in Cleveland, OH, the couple planned to settle permanently in rural Honesdale when they retired. They purchased an old farmhouse—one belonging to her family for generations—that was to be their "retirement home."
As experts in the education of writing and reading—he had earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University before World War I—the Myerses had an extraordinary and illuminating experience teaching illiterate soldiers for the Army during the war. (Mrs. Myers was the first woman teacher to be employed by the U.S. Army.) After the war, they then moved on to teaching educators and parents at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.
In addition to his teaching experience, Dr. Myers wrote "Parent Problems," a popular newspaper column for parents that was syndicated for 41 years to hundreds of newspapers by King Features, Inc. As nationally recognized leaders in child development studies, he and Mrs. Myers also authored several books together.
Working with another children's publication, Children's Activities, for 12 years prior to starting Highlights, gave them the opportunity to share their knowledge and ideas, but they encountered a snag—they were required by the owner-publisher to put things in the magazine they did not think editorially appropriate.
Their duties for Children's Activities included traveling around the country speaking to parent groups and to children in classrooms. In Mrs. Myers' own words: "We were on the lecture circuit from 1941 to 1946 [in 1946 Garry was 61 and Caroline, 58]. I have often thought it was the experience of all that traveling that brought about Highlights for Children. When you travel, especially by car, you have a chance to do a lot of talking. We [often discussed] what we could do with Children's Activities. The editorial part was really dictated by the business management. There were many things we were dissatisfied with and thought we could improve on."
By early 1946, Garry and Caroline decided to make their dream a reality. They swiftly enlisted a tiny band of co-workers, and just one month later, delivered the first issue of Highlights for Children to the printer. Some years later, after Highlights was successful, the Myerses bought Children's Activities and incorporated it into Highlights.
By the first issue's publication date, their three children—Jack, Elizabeth and Garry Jr.—had given them six grandchildren (seven more came along later). The Myerses loved gathering their families at their "retirement home" for weeks every summer.
As an inveterate observer, teacher and entertainer of kids, Dr. Myers didn't hesitate to include what he learned from his own grandchildren in Highlights for the benefit and enjoyment of millions of other children.
Dedicated to their dream, Dr. Myers worked at his desk at Highlights until his death in 1971 at 87. At first as editor, and later as editor-in-chief, he was the primary idea-and-copy resource of the publication. Mrs. Myers, who held the title of managing editor, was indeed the "boss of the works." She remained in full charge until just a few years before her death in 1980 at 93.