The Malden man behind the Pledge of Allegiance

By Jennifer McClain Down an unassuming street in Malden behind the Malden Court House is the home of the, some say contested, author of a work that is both inspiring and divisive.  Even beyond the nature of the work is the controversy over its origins. Who wrote it and what does it mean? These are questions have been pondered since the words were published in 1892. The man believed to  be the author  of “I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag” is James Bailey Upham, who died in 1905 and is buried here in Malden. Upham, who was born in 1845, lived  on Lincoln Street in Malden and was an active member of the First Baptist Church. Most scholars  attribute the Pledge to minister Francis Bellamy. In Malden, however, there was no doubt that the author of the pledge was Upham. It’s been a point of contention over the decades. What is uncontested is this: The pledge — in an early form — was first published in the magazine Youth Companion on Sept. 8, 1892. Youth Companion was, in the […]