Daily Word magazine, published by Unity, has been a beacon of daily inspiration and spiritual teachings since its inception in July 1924. Through the past century, 10 remarkable editors have guided the magazine, leaving an indelible mark on its rich history.
Frank B. Whitney—1924–1938
Frank B. Whitney, the magazine’s inaugural editor, served from July 1924 until his passing in July 1938. Prior to his tenure, Whitney was a dentist who joined Unity in 1915. He authored Creed of the Dauntless (1930), a collection of constructive thoughts and principles for those embracing courage.
During the first 14 years of the publication, known as Unity Daily Word before the title was shortened in 1937, Whitney’s writings and poetry constituted its primary content. Whitney is considered the founder of the magazine, and his passing left a void that needed to be filled. Rev. May Rowland, director of the Silent Unity prayer ministry, recommended the magazine be placed under the supervision of Silent Unity®.
Bernice Minter took over as editor from 1939 to 1944, during which time she helped to maintain the quality and consistency of Daily Word. Her life was greatly impacted by the death of her brother, William C. Allen, who was killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. After her time working for Unity, she left for California.
Martha Florence Smock—1944–1957, 1964–1984
Following Minter’s departure, Martha Smock took over as editor, serving from 1944 to 1957. She then moved to New York, and Billie Freeman took her seat as editor until Smock returned to the position in 1964. She remained another two decades, giving her a total of 33 years as Daily Word editor.
Smock was an inspirational writer, and her work is still available, offering words of healing and reassurance. During her tenure, Smock worked tirelessly to ensure that Daily Word remained true to its mission of providing daily inspiration to readers worldwide.
Billie Freeman served as editor from 1957 to 1964. She was married to poet and director of Silent Unity, James Dillet Freeman, who wrote the “Prayer for Protection.” Although she was born in Louisiana, she was brought to Kansas City by her parents, who were friends with Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. She served Unity for more than half a century, working as a writer, administrator, and teacher.
Jeanne Allen was the editor of Daily Word from December 1984 through October 1985. Before that, she had been an assistant to Martha Smock. She left the Kansas City area in 1985 and moved to New Jersey.
Colleen Zuck started working for Unity in 1969. She served as the editor of Wee Wisdom®, the Unity children’s magazine, for eight years. She also contributed many articles and lessons to Daily Word.
After Zuck became editor, she said she always felt she received more than she was giving. “Located in the Silent Unity Building, I felt a part of Silent Unity. I attended the prayer services and Daily Word meetings and was involved in creating positive, life-affirming, spiritually enriching messages that were based on Truth teachings that reached people in different parts of the world in several languages. I was part of a movement that blessed individuals and the world as a whole.”
Under the direction of Laura Harvey, Daily Word became a bimonthly publication starting with the July/August 2009 edition. She had a firm understanding of the significance of Daily Word, praising the publication’s “affirmative messages of hope, healing, and inspiration.” She said, “Generations of readers have viewed Daily Word as a beloved companion on their life journeys.”
Originally, Harvey worked as an assistant to Colleen Zuck, and she was daunted by following in the footsteps of such outstanding editors. After her time at Daily Word, she went on to write for publications such as Huffington Post.
Beth Hammock graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism and was a TV news producer and reporter. She was involved with many ministries in the Catholic Church before she was introduced to Unity by a friend in 2000. She was an active member of Unity of Columbia in Columbia, Missouri, and Unity of Missoula in Montana.
Elaine Meyer, who worked at Unity for more than 30 years, supported Daily Word in an interim capacity and as digital editor starting in June 2015. She took over as editor of Daily Word in August 2016 and retired in January 2019.
In an article discussing her “why” for working with Unity, Meyer told an inspirational story about receiving a letter from a Daily Word reader. She said, “Several years ago I was inspired to write a Daily Word message on ‘Grace’ that began: ‘Everywhere I look, I see God’s grace reflected back to me.’” Months later, she received a letter from a woman who said her sister had made her transition that day with a copy of Daily Word open to that page on her coffee table.
Rev. Teresa Burton—2019–Present
Rev. Teresa Burton is a Unity minister and licensed teacher. An inspiring writer and speaker, Burton brings clarity and fresh insights to spiritual Truth. Before answering the call to ministry, she worked as an editor for more than 25 years in various capacities in print and digital publishing.
Reflecting on her experience with Daily Word, she said, “I love that so many people are introduced to Unity through Daily Word. For many, it is the first time they’ve encountered so much positive storytelling and affirmative, practical language in such a compact package. Daily Word is for readers of all faith traditions and all walks of life. It is my privilege to share the timeless truths Unity teaches through the pages of Daily Word.” Her words beautifully capture the essence of the Daily Word universal appeal and its ability to touch lives across faith traditions and walks of life.
A Tribute to All the Editors
The collective contributions of the Daily Word editors have indelibly shaped the magazine’s legacy, transforming it into a source of daily inspiration for readers worldwide. From Frank B. Whitney, the visionary founder, to Rev. Teresa Burton, the current editor, each individual editor has brought a unique vision and perspective to Daily Word, contributing to its evolution and enduring relevance throughout the past 100 years. Their dedication to their craft and unwavering commitment to the Unity mission of providing spiritual guidance have been instrumental in the magazine’s longevity and impact.
Throughout the years, the editors of Daily Word have upheld the magazine’s purpose of offering messages of hope, healing, and inspiration to individuals from all walks of life. Their collective efforts have made Daily Word a cherished companion and a trusted source of comfort for readers on their spiritual journeys.