In 1960, Reader’s Digest was celebrating its 21st year, firmly establishing itself as a magazine that is here to stay. More than 50 years on we sure have proved that. Although some things remain the same, we have also come a long way and changed with the times.

WHat's inside?

Within this edition we see some familiar features: Word Power, Laughter! and an Over To You style feature then known as Points to Ponder. We’ve always relied on our readership and their participation, separating us from many other magazines, to drive our content forward. 

This issue is one of the most beautiful in our archive: seagulls as if in flight from the front cover, evocative of a lovely summer day on the beach. Perhaps the seagulls were tamer in those days, I’m yet to meet anyone for whom the sight of seagulls on a beach–particularly when holding onto fresh fish and chips–doesn’t provoke fear.

old Reader's DIgest July 1960


Onto the Main Features

Below are excerpts from the best, most archaic, and occasionally unusual features in the July 1960 issue of Reader’s Digest:


Half Man–Half Fish

“In the bejewelled depths of the Mediterranean, this novice skin-diver found rich rewards–and just a tinge of fear.

The fast way to teach swimming is the “sink or swim” method. The fast way to teach skin-diving might be called “skin-dive–or else!” In either case the penalty of failure to learn can be drastic. I learned skin-diving the fast way, while holidaying on the French Riviera. There at Cap d’Antibes I joined the Club de la Mar, a small and congenial band of skin-divers.

My first day started with just a slight aura of menace in the atmosphere. As our 15-foot launch moved out, loaded with air cylinders, rubber fins and club members, I realised that no one had yet given me any instruction…"

The Girl From the Stone Age

This article is perhaps a little un-PC by today’s standards, referring to the subject’s Paraguayan Tribe as “Stone Aged people”.  The subject is Marie-Yvonne who “bridged” a cultural gap to become a scholar. This story is of great anthropological interest, although one might occasionally question the ethical nature. Sadly, Marie-Yvonne shunned her origins but did go on to do remarkable things.

“The remarkable story of a child who, born of Stone Age people, bridged a gap of 5,000 years to become a twentieth-century scholar”

Is There Life in Outer Space

1960 July Reader's Digest, outer space

“In one of the most adventurous quests ever undertaken by science, astronomers are attempting to establish contact with ‘intelligent beings’ they feel sure must inhabit other planets.

Tricked by his eyes, imprisoned by gravity, fallible, frail, egocentric, man has taken centuries to realise the truth about his place in the universe: he is one of a thousand forms of life on the crust of a small planet that circles a minor sun on the edge of a 100,000-million-starred local galaxy called the Milky Way. This galaxy, in turn, is only one among 1,000 million in the known universe.”

Every Girl Can Be A Charmer

Perhaps one of the more dated pieces has to be this. We all cringed slightly as we read, but are proud at how far not only the magazine but modern-day culture has come.

“If you have charm, you don’t need anything else.

A Daughter’s adjustment to life and the man lies with her mother. We cannot from a plain product develop a Helen of Troy, but with patience and intelligence we can make every girl reasonably charming and so able to cope happily with life in this man-directed world.”

Hmmm… Thankfully the rest of the 60’s brought a number of things: the fight towards equality, The Beatles and a new perspective on life that’s changed the world forever, and for better!

Book of the month: Born free

Reader's Digest: Born Free, book of the month

Ad of the month: Cadburys Roses

The colours and attention to detail gone into this advertisement are wonderful. Set against the yellowing pages leaves a warm, fuzzy, nostalgic sensation.

1960's Cadburies advertisement, Reader's Digest

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