Posts tagged: Magazines

Mrs. Roosevelt’s Page

By , October 24, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt steps off an airplane at Berry Field for a brief stop in Nashville.  Photo from the NPL Special Collections Division digital collection.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a prolific writer and published many newspaper and magazine articles throughout her life – before, during, and after her time as first lady.  Starting in August of 1933 – having been the first lady of the state of New York, and just after entering the White House as first lady of the United States – Eleanor Roosevelt began writing her first regular column for a popular magazine, Woman’s Home Companion. 

According to a statement by the editors in the August 1933 issue, the objective of the column, which ran for two years, through July of 1935, was “strengthening further the bond between the White House and women citizens everywhere.”  All these columns can be read in the Woman’s Home Companion, located in the Periodicals area on the 3rd floor at the Main library.


Eleanor began this series with an invitation to readers – the title of her August 1933 entry was “I Want You to Write to Me.”  Sometimes the column addressed personal issues that she received in letters, but more often, Eleanor addressed social issues, usually explaining why they would be of interest to women or what women could do about them.

Some examples with quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt:

photoFrom October 1933, “Setting Our House in Order” – Discusses how women can use their power as consumers to influence manufacturers to offer fair wages and adequate working conditions to their employees.  “Therefore, if groups of women will get together and agree that in shopping they will go to their local stores and ask under what conditions the things they are buying are produced, telling their shopkeepers that they would far prefer to buy goods that carried a label assuring them that these goods were made under conditions which precluded any sweat-shop work, that will help the manufacturers.  If this happens frequently enough in all communities, the storekeepers and manufacturers will listen to public opinion . . . We may sit at home and pathetically ask what we can do, but if we do nothing about the present conditions we shall be to blame.  Only as we take up our responsibilities can conditions improve.”

too oldFrom February 1934, “Too Old for the Job” – Addresses the difficulties of older people in the work force, women in particular.  “It is not because we are sorry for the people who are thrown out of a job at forty or forty-five that we are writing this article.  It is because we feel that industry, business and the professions are going to suffer a serious loss when they begin to deny themselves the valuable work which people can and should do at least up to the age of sixty, if their health is good.”


photo 1From November 1934, “Let Us Be Thankful” – “I often wonder if some of the things which we ought to be thankful for at Thanksgiving time are the possibilities which open up before us to help our fellow human beings.   We may feel that we ourselves are badly off, but when we discover that someone is in need of something that we have taken for granted, then our eyes are opened.  We realize that we have a new thing to be thankful for, that we can be of help in our community . . . Let each of us this Thanksgiving Day count over our unusual blessings wherever we may be living.”


photo 4From April 1935, “Woman’s Work is Never Done” – Offers some solutions for the problems encountered in domestic service, for employers and employees.  “I hope increased leisure and constantly new inventions are going to make housework for women as easy and as rapidly done as possible, but we shall still have to face the fact that a great many women do run establishments in which they employ a number of domestic servants and that many more are going to employ one maid or a part-time maid. the more we can educate ourselves to the point where we shall recognize the dignity of this labor and go into it from choice rather than from necessity, the easier it will be to raise it from the type of unsatisfactory work which it is now, where nobody knows exactly what her job is, either as employer or employee.”


treeFrom July 1935, “Tree Worship” - “Tree worship is as old as civilization itself and perhaps there was a good reason for this, for it you worship a thing you preserve it and the ancients knew well that trees were necessary to the lives of human beings . . . If we want to keep our water supply, prevent soil erosion and still have fertile land to cultivate, we shall have to reforest much of the land which we have denuded.  Every village will have to inculcate into its children a lot of the ancient tree worship in order that we may be wise husbandmen of one of the greatest assets of the future prosperity of our nation.”




Eleanor Roosevelt named honorary citizen of Nashville by Mayor Ben West. Photo belongs to the NPL Metro Archives digital collection.

Eleanor Roosevelt later went on to write a daily newspaper column called, “My Day,” that ran in papers across the country for many years.  She also contributed another monthly magazine column to Ladies’ Home Journal called “If You Ask Me.” To read more of Eleanor Roosevelt’s writing or learn more about her, check out these titles:

Eleanor Roosevelt’s My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt (a collection of her newspaper columns)

You Learn By Living by Eleanor Roosevelt

Tomorrow is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt

The Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt by Eleanor Roosevelt

Ladies’ Home Journal Comes to an End

By , April 26, 2014

You may have heard this week that the Ladies’ Home Journal will no longer be published as a monthly publication (it will be quarterly) as of July 2014, after over 130 years in existence.  This news sent me straight to the stacks of bound periodicals to indulge in a little nostalgia while looking at Nashville Public Library’s collection of Ladies’ Home Journal magazines.  In the 3rd floor Reference department at the Main library, we currently have Ladies’ Home Journal going back to December 1892, just 9 years after it started in 1883.

Volume 10 in our collection, with the December 1892-November 1893 issues, is chock full of stories (a serial by author William Dean Howells), poems, articles on topics like fashion, beauty, etiquette and entertaining, home-making, marriage and parenting.  Some interesting features in these issues include:


“A Christmas With Dickens” – December 1892.
Part of a series called “My Father as I Recall Him” by Mamie Dickens.


A series called “Clever Daughters of Clever Men.”
The January 1893 edition featured “Hawthorne’s Daughter.”


A fashion article titled “Dressing Without the Corset” from July 1893 - the magazine gives some attention to the dress reform movement and offers attractive and “decent” ways of dressing without the use of the corset.



Finally, in addition to the great articles and stories, the magazine is full of ads that give a great idea of what the lives and interests of the readers must have been at the time. In these issues,  there are ads for beauty and health aids, clothing,corsets (of course), housekeeping conveniences, gardening supplies, and more.

One thing not to be found advertised – patent medicinces.  In 1892, the Ladies’ Home Journal began refusing to print ads for patent medicines, a very popular source of advertising revenue at the time.



It would take many more posts to describe how integral the Ladies’ Home Journal was to women’s interests and lifestyles over the years.  Just to leave you with a taste, I’ve included some of the more iconic covers from its 130 years in publication:

  • October 1895, the first color cover.
  • February 1903, one of many by Charles Dana Gibson featuring the Gibson Girl.
  • February 1904, the first celebrity cover, featuring a sketch of Ethel Barrymore.
  • April 1932, one of many Norman Rockwell covers.
  • October 1946, the debut of the slogan that became synonymous with Ladies’ Home Journal.

To learn more about the history of women’s magazines, check out one of these books from the library:



New Year’s Images of Old

By , December 27, 2013

While digging for some articles about New Year’s Day in the Main library’s periodicals collection, I came across some wonderful New Year’s Saturday Evening Post covers by American illustrator J.C. Leyendecker.

Baby New Year and Crystal Ball
January 4, 1936

Baby New Year Celebrates
January 2, 1937













Leyendecker’s work pre-dated and was a major influence on the art of Norman Rockwell; he actually created over 300 covers for the Saturday Evening Post in addition to covers for other popular magazines, advertisements for well-known products (like Arrow shirts, Ivory soap, and Kellogg’s), and military recruitment posters supporting our country’s war efforts.

Baby New Year at Forge
January 1, 1938

New Year and Warring Fist
January 4, 1941













Leyendecker has been credited with creating the iconic images we now associate with many of our holidays including the New Year’s baby, designed for a series of Saturday Evening Post covers beginning in the 1920s.  His final New Year’s baby cover (pictured below) – from the January 2, 1943 issue –  was also his last cover for the Saturday Evening Post, ending many years of association with the magazine.  You can learn more about J.C. Leyendecker and see a gallery of his Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations here.

No Trespassing
January 3, 1942

Baby New Year at War
January 2, 1943













Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this look back at some images from New Years of old.  Check out these books for more information on The Saturday Evening Post and its illustrators, like J.C. Leyendecker:

When you’re finished with the old New Year, check out this list of Non-Fiction titles that may interest you in the coming New Year of 2014:

Before Zumba or CrossFit, There Was Physical Culture

By , May 26, 2013

The term “physical culture” refers to a movement promoting exercise and an active lifestyle that became especially popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It is also the title of a fascinating magazine published from 1899 to 1955 by Bernarr McFadden (pictured below), a zealous proponent of physical fitness with an entrepreneurial spirit who was also considered the inventor of the “confession” magazine, making millions off of titles like True Story and True Detective Mysteries.

Physical Culture magazine represents McFadden’s ideas about nutrition and exercise (and his crusade against prudishness in American society) and was the first of the bodybuilding or fitness magazines.  Nashville Public Library owns the issues from 1913-1924.

This magazine focuses on a few main themes:

Strength training and exercise for men, women, and children.  Many of the current trends in exercise can be seen in these early magazines – training with kettle bells, medicine balls, or clubs for example.

Nutrition advice – some that seems a little wacky by today’s standards and some that sounds very modern (like eating raw foods).  McFadden was a huge proponent of fasting and there are even articles by writer Upton Sinclair, who followed McFadden’s fasting routine.

General health and wellness:  Where many of the magazines of the time ran ads promoting smoking as a healthy and enjoyable habit, Physical Culture featured ads and articles about how to break the tobacco habit. There are also articles about vitamins, eliminating the corset, and other methods (some more eccentric than others) of maintaining good health . 

Social Hygiene (to borrow a term from that era):  There are many articles about how to prevent and/or treat sexually transmitted diseases and also some fascinating and controversial features on genetics and birth control.  McFadden’s views on these topics (along with the propensity of the magazine to feature photos of scantily clad women, albeit in an athletic context) were a bit radical for the time and got him into legal trouble more than once.

I found this magazine so interesting and relevant, not just to fitness buffs who can get a glimpse of the beginnings of the exercise trends of today, but to anyone who might be curious about where our current ideas on healthy living, women’s involvement in sport, and even social concepts like marriage and family planning, may have begun.

If you’re interested in some current exercise trends that might have started in the pages of Physical Culture, check out these items from our collection:


Survey Graphic Magazine and the Harlem Renaissance

By , February 10, 2013


While helping some high school students research the Harlem Renaissance, I discovered that Nashville Public
Library owns the March 1925 “Graphic Number” of
The Survey magazine.  This volume was a showcase that quickly made the rest of the country aware of the burgeoning cultural movement happening in Harlem, especially the literary achievements.

 The “Graphic Number” was a special issue printed yearly of The Survey, a magazine about social issues in America.  The 1925 Survey Graphic issue was devoted entirely to Harlem and to the “New Negro Movement” that later became known as the Harlem Renaissance. 

African American scholars Charles S. Johnson (who eventually became the first black president of Fisk University) and Alain Locke were the guest editors for this special issue.  Locke later turned the magazine into a book anthology titled The New Negro: An Interpretation.

The magazine includes articles by Locke, Johnson, and other scholars as well as stories by W.E.B. Dubois and Rudolph Fisher.  Most of the art pieces are black and white drawings by Winold Reiss, a German immigrant. They include portraits of Harlem residents and other notable figures of the Harlem Renaissance movement. The significant poets of the Harlem Renaissance are also represented in this issue:
              • Claude McKay
              • Anne Spencer
              • Jean Toomer
              • Countee Cullen
              • Langston Hughes

You can see this influential magazine by visiting the Periodicals desk on the 3rd floor at the Main library.  To learn more about the Harlem Renaissance and some of the figures showcased in the March, 1925 Survey Graphic, check out these materials from Nashville Public Library:

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest

By , January 20, 2013

Philistine Cover

The Philistine explodes bomb-bombs to fire the bum-bums and the should-be dumb-dumbs . . . The good stuph is gathered every month by Elbert Hubbard, plucked sizzling from the fiery furnace, and put in palatable, picturesque, and piquant form for the delectation of the faithful . . . The Philistine is never dull.  It makes many glad, some sad, and a few mad.  It says things that make you think.  Thus it does more than merely entertain.

The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest is one of the little-known gems of the Periodicals collection, held at the Main library (ask for it at Periodicals desk – 3rd floor).  Elbert Hubbard, a famous and somewhat controversial figure of the time, wrote and published this title from 1895-1915.  Main Library holds the issues from 1901-1915.

The volumes are very small – about 6” tall and 4” wide. They include essays and epigrams penned by Hubbard as well as ads for the Essay by Elbert Hubbardproducts made by the Roycroft community.  Roycroft was a community of artisans that Hubbard founded – they spearheaded the Arts and Crafts movement in America.

Hubbard printed the magazine himself with a press he installed at Roycroft.  The Roycrofters also produced special editions of Hubbard’s books, other popular titles, and handmade furniture, leather and metal goods.

Hubbard was a larger than life character full of contradictions, espousing ideas like socialism and the free market at the same time. He wrote about philosophy, religion, politics, literature, business, self-improvement and more.  His style was humorous, irreverent, often arrogant and (in my opinion) a little bit kooky.  Hubbard toured America giving lectures in addition to publishing pamphlets, magazines and books.

In 1915 Hubbard and his wife died aboard the Lusitania.  This ended The Philistine’s run, but his son continued to run the Roycroft community for about 20 more years.

What’s Special About The Philistine: A Periodical of Protest?

W.W. Denslow, an artist at the Roycroft Community who went on to illustrate the L. Frank Baum Wizard of Oz books, designed the “Seahorse” logo used in the magazine.

Epigram by Elbert Hubbard in The PhilistineEvery issue included epigrams written by Hubbard and printed in a decorative font with intricate borders.

Hubbard’s essays often skewered the leading literary figures of the day, attacking George Bernard Shaw, Rudyard Kipling, William Dean Howells, and others with somewhat exaggerated criticism.

In March 1899, Hubbard published in The Philistine an inspirational 1500-word essay called “A Message to Garcia” that became extremely popular, eventually being reprinted over 9 million times.

Philistine War NumberThe January 1915 issue of The Philistine was about World War I (called “The War Number”), in which Hubbard strongly     opposed American involvement.

Tribute to Elbert HubbardThe final issue is a tribute to Elbert Hubbard and his wife, who died aboard the Lusitania.

To learn more about Elbert Hubbard, you can check out these items from Nashville Public Library:

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