Saturday, May 14, 2011

Two More Candidates for Rarest Norman Rockwell Cover

My scanner has been replaced and additional images have been added to the previous post on cooking magazines.

Norman Rockwell is the gift that keeps on giving!

I just purchased this cover on ebay for a relative bargain of $110. I've never owned a copy but is in the Moffatt catalogue as C181. The U.S.N.R.F. was used on a Post and Life cover as well.

Inside this very rare magazine I was pleasantly surprosed to find a photograph and interview with my other obsession Franklin D. Roosevelt, when he was Assistant Secretary of the Navy.

The next cover, on a 1923 Maclean's, a Canadian magazine, is not in Moffatt. I just ran into an old friend and avid Rockwell enthusiast Phil Sperry, who told me he has one as well. From the models and style, the image was probably painted years earlier, circa 1916 or 1917. It may have been a previously rejected Post cover that Rockwell resubmitted, something he did regularly.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Cooking and Restaurant Magazines

This entry began with a call from my old friend and bookseller par excellance, Rusty Mott of Sheffield Massachusetts, offering me a broken run of a rare cooking magazine The Table.

Rusty told me that it was the second cooking magazine ever published and the volume of five of the eight issues had the original wrappers bound in. The price was right; I hadn't acquired much new lately so here it is.

Further research indicates that there are five institutional holdings, only two of which are complete (University of Minnesota and The Library of Congress). The editor was the pseudonymous Barry Gray, in actuality Robert Barry Coffin (1826–1886),an American journalist, poet, and writerof relatively minor importance. This appears to be his only foray into magazine publishing.

I then called the dealer who sold Rusty the volume, the very pleasant and knowledgable Dan Rabelais of Rabelais Books of Portland Maine, who told me that the best research on early cooking magazines appears in an article by Janet Longone of the great Clements Library at the University if Michigan in a recent magazine Gastronomia. Mr Rablelais was a general bookdealer who now specializes in cookbooks and the like.

Dan also told me that Janet identified the first cooking magazine that has a "weird name". This rung a bell and when I asked him if it was Mystery of Life, he believed that that was it. In fact I had acquired a copy in 1997 for $100 from Bob Seymour of Colebrook Book Barn, not really knowing much about it other than that I didn't have it and it was a first issue in wrappers. I had catalogued it in my addendum as appearing in 1868 and indeed containing recipes and advertisements for food related items, published by Alfred Berney. I could not find another copy in Union List of Serials but now when I just checked Berney's Mystery of Life, one holding shows up at New York Public Library. It was intended as a quarterly but there is no evidence a second issue was ever published. My wrappers are slightly different than that illustrated in Janet Longone's article. Perhaps she used the copy from NYPL.

I am proud to say It would therefore appear that my collection is the only one in the world with copies of both of these periodical gems, however serendipitously they were acquired!

While I'm on the subject of cooking magazines, I thought I'd add one more related item from my collection, a wonderful magazine from 1886 entitled Retaurateur. This wonderful periodical contains articles and copious advertising about restaurants and, most interestingly to me, an extensive pricelist of food items, inluding such present day staples as Bass Ale and Guinness' Stout! Ths magazine is not in ULS and may be the first of its kind. I've never seen another issue and have no idea how long it lasted.

You may find the above a little boring, but I continue to find it all quite fascinating.

Periodically yours,

Steven Lomazow, M.D.