This edition of the Magazine Museum’s web sight highlights the magazines of the 19th Century, the years 1850-1884.By the 1850’s, magazines had become a meaningful force in American life. As Frank Luther Mott states in his A History of the American Magazines, “the influence of the early magazines was probably far greater than the number printed and circulated would indicate.” The continued growth of magazine publishing in America was once again bolstered by the U.S. Postal Service in its Post Office Act of 1852. This new Act once again reduced rates and transferred postage charges from subscribers to publishers. Another significant event, was the founding in 1850 of Harper’s New Monthly Magazine. Harper’s provided middle class America with a consistent access to English fiction. Harper Brothers was one of a growing list of large magazine publishing houses. Companies such as Fairchild, Godey’s, Leslie’s, McGraw-Hill, McCall’s, Meredith, Scribner’s, etc.
But there were setbacks to the growth of magazine publishing,as well, particularly in America. Specifically, these setbacks were the Panic of 1857 and, more significantly, the American Civil War in the years between 1860 and 1864. There was most definitely a significant drop in magazine printing during the American Civil War. This was due not only to the concerns of the country in this period, but also due to economic concerns. The increased cost of paper in this time was probably the biggest problem for publishers. But, magazines did survive the War, as did the American people and its culture. Magazine publishing continued to increase from the end of the War to the end of the 19th Century.
The biggest problem for historians, and anyone wishing to follow the history of individual titles in this period, was the frustrating habit of magazines changing names. Publishers and editors have always attempted to incorporate deceased publications into existing,continuing publications. It seems to be the nature of the publishing business to do so. But this, of course causes confusion, and frustration, by those of us attempting to document and understand magazine history. Religious publications seem to be more involved than any other, in both changing names frequently, and also absorbing defunct titles into on-going titles. Hence, all of the numbers listed after the titles here,represent both magazines with the same name,as well as those publications that have had significant changes. That is our attempt at showing title changes and continuations of publications. As an example,notice that “Advance.#1”represents the first magazine of that name. There has been at least one other magazine in the past with that name.
We have twelve hundred fifty seven magazines listed here for this time period. Of course, there were a few more publications actually printed throughout the world in these years. As of this date, we have not the resources to list every magazine that existed in each time period. But we are working on that.
This Data Bank represents a concerted effort on our part to collect accurate information on magazines and magazine history. We believe it is of the utmost importance to maintain this data in a usable central location. We hope this information is of use to one and all.