Friday, March 25, 2011

Old Stuff

I like old magazines – I mean really, really old magazines. I don’t buy many of them, and I especially don’t often buy things unrelated to my research. That doesn’t keep me from wishing though.

I have a nice set of Emerson’s New York Magazine from the 1850’s. They were very, very inexpensive and an Antique Mall find. They’re interesting and useful. They were a resource for something I wrote for a class I taught.

What I really want is a set of Gentleman’s Magazine. These are very expensive. I don’t own any of them, though I have read a few. It’s just wishful thinking. They’re much more interesting than the Millennial Harbinger, a religious magazine. I own those because they’re relevant to my historical research, but they are mostly boring as heck. I also own the seven years of Christian Baptist as the reprint volume done in 1852. Again, most of that is totally boring. But they’re both historically significant.

But Gentleman’s Magazine is just fun. Some years have been scanned by Google Books. Pick a year at random and read bits. You’ll see what I mean.

I like Harper’s Magazine too. Those are not too expensive. But I don’t have room for them, so even if I can slowly buy nearly the entire set, I won’t. I sold the last of those I owned four years ago.

One magazine I do buy, when I can afford it, is Christian Observer. There is an English edition and an American edition that reprinted it. The American edition tends to be less expensive. Oh the stuff in there! Arguments, cannibalism, wild natives in wild places, explorations, politics as they were from 1802 into the 1820’s. Such fun.

I only own two years of this magazine because of expense, but I am patient. Eventually I want to own every issue from the first through 1820. That’s probably wishful thinking too.

I have one issue of something called The Reformers. This was published in Pennsylvania in the 1820’s. It’s not connected to Campbellism. It is a mystery mostly. Poorly written, poorly printed, it is still very interesting. I’ve never seen another issue. The one I own came from ebay with a collection of pamphlets I bought to get something called Extracts from Priestley’s Catechism (1798).

There are numberless magazines published in the US and UK from the 1780’s to Mid-19th Century. I find most of them interesting. Our local library has most of the Civil War issues of Harper’s Weekly. A competitor was Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper. These are full of illustrations and lots of fun.

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