03 June 2013

Food for the Mind

What were adults reading 100 (or more) years ago?

I've chatted in this blog about my collection of bound issues of "St. Nicholas" magazine, which was published first by Scribner; their magazine for adults was, not surprisingly, "Scribner's Magazine"; when "St. Nicholas" was sold to the Century Company, naturally its adult counterpart was "The Century Magazine."

I've written about reading a bound copy of the latter before here, but if you want to do your own investigation, Google Books now "has you covered." For instance, here's a bound copy of 1912 -1913's "Century":

which includes the sobering “Is the Negro Having a Fair Chance?” by Booker T. Washington, a stinging indictment of "separate but equal."

From a year earlier: November 1911 - April 1912

In fact, if you note the first "Century" issue listed on this search page and click the "more editions" link next to it, you will get an extensive list of the bound issues you can check out.

But don't be surprised after reading the subjects and text in "The Century" if "The Economist" and "Scientific American" suddenly look like sixth-grade fare and "People" only fit for kindergarteners.

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