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CELEBRATING MAGAZINES

STEVEN LOMAZOW, M.D., collects magazine, some 83,000 of them. And New York City’s Grolier Club has assembled an exhibition selected from his collection. Jennifer Schuessler writes “Are Magazines Dead? Not at This Exhibition,” in The New York Times, February 18, 2021.

Magazines and the American Experience, at the Grolier Club, New York City; the exhibit running through April 24, 2021.

Schuessler observes, “For those who can’t make it to the exhibition, which requires advanced reservations, a digital version can be browsed online.” The exhibition is arranged into 11 categories: Some of them are chronological (“We the People: 1733–1792,” “The Information Age: 1950–2000”); others, topic-focused (“The Great American Pastime: Baseball Magazines”).

Here are magazine tidbits about Schuessler’s article, together with others gleaned from my own explorations.

The First Look. Schuessler notes, “Lomazow, a neurologist, began amassing his hoard almost by accident, in 1972, when he was a medical student in Chicago. At the time, he was interested in medical atlases. One day, at a rare bookseller, he noticed a copy of the first issue of Look, from 1937. Oddly, he noticed, it was labeled “Vol. 1, No. 2.”

Why not Vol. 1, No. 1?

Lomazow told Schuessler that it took him ten years to determine the answer: Vol. 1, No. 1 was a prototype that was never distributed. (“Yes,” Schuessler notes, “he owns one.”)

Look, Vol. 1, No. 1. Image from americanmagazinecollection.com.

The Hobo News. “There are plenty of valuable rarities,” Schuessler observes. “And then there are the just plain oddities, like The Hobo News, an irreverent weekly (produced by self-described hobos), which, in 1942, was trying to do its part for the war effort.”

A great cover blurb for The Hobo News, 1942: “For Victory Let Us Buy Bonds to Buy Bombs to Bomb the Axis Bums.” This and other images from The New York Times, February 18, 2021.

One. In 1953, One was the “first gay magazine in the United States,” Schuessler notes.

Covers of One magazine, from jstor.org.

“Within a few months,” Schuessler writes, “the F.B.I. had identified the board of editors, who wrote under pen names, and sent letters to their employers calling them ‘deviants’ and ‘security risks.’ ”

Your F.B.I in Action. At the time, F.B.I. chief J. Edgar Hoover was rumored to be cavorting with other cross-dressing pals. As described in Wikipedia, “Truman Capote, who enjoyed repeating salacious rumors about Hoover, once remarked that he was more interested in making Hoover angry than determining whether the rumors were true.”

What’s in a Name? I offer two magazine tidbits of my own, each concerning the naming of a well-known publication.

Between its founding in June 1947 and its February 1954 issue, the car magazine was Road and Track. In March 1954, it became Road & Track. Also, beginning at that same time, R&T’s cover price was noted as 35¢ the copy.

As noted in Stephen Mooallem’s “150 Years of Harper’s Bazaar,” Harper’s Bazaar, November 21, 2016, this magazine founded in 1867 was “one of the first publications dedicated to looking at the lives of women through the lens of fashion.” 

Color illustration by Héloise Leloir from the debut issue of Harper’s Bazar, November 2, 1867.

Mooallem writes, “It was the youngest of the Harpers, Fletcher, who came up with the idea for Bazar after stumbling upon a copy of a publication called Der Bazar, from Berlin.” In quite a few languages (German, French, Spanish, Catalan, Russian, Danish, Swedish, Hungarian, but, curiously, not Finnish), it’s a single “a.” According to Wikipedia, “The name change to Harper’s Bazaar was filed on December 30, 1930.” ds

© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2021 

One comment on “CELEBRATING MAGAZINES

  1. Tom Phillips
    March 4, 2021

    I would love to read the article about the safety of road racing.

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