"Firstly and most importantly, we enclose your official Ministry of Magic Approved Certificate of Membership, which proclaims that you are part of the wizarding community and which should be jealously guarded from Muggles. Your Hogwarts notepad and pencil, also enclosed, come from Mr Filch's rarely unlocked store cupboard."
-- excerpt from the welcome letter, Harry Potter Fan Club (from private source)
Daily Prophet newsletters
In the late 1990s, Bloomsbury created an Official Harry Potter Fan Club and invited children from Britain to join. There was no charge. There was never a United States chapter of the Club. One of the perks for joining the Club was several issues of The Daily Prophet, a three-page newsletter detailing goings-on in the wizarding world. Each of these newsletters bore the notice ©J.K.Rowling and, according to Bloomsbury (email dated 2 June 2004), was written by her (also SDNY).
The newsletters were clearly written early in Rowling’s creation of the Harry Potter mythos. Some terms are different and a few facts don’t jibe with the established story of the books. Overall, however, the news stories and sports reports fit right into the “look and feel” of the Rowling’s world. The names and the events bear the marks of humour and parody which all of Rowling’s writing shows. The names of some minor characters, for example Gwenog Jones, are first found in the newsletters, turned up in Famous Wizard cards, in the Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them schoolbooks and eventually in the novels. The dates on each issue are the dates of the club; they don’t fit into the timeline of the series, which was not established very well at that point.
Calendar and Dates
The dates on each issue do not match the dates of the stories, rather they indicate the date that the newsletter itself was published. The stories in the newsletters appear to date from approximately 1992-1993, the timeframe of the second and third books.