Saturday, October 24, 2009

Confederate and Southern Magazines

It's a rainy Saturday, there's no antique shows or bookfairs to go to, so it's a perfect time for a long blog post. I just spent about an hour photographing some additional images, so here we go.
Since they called it the Confederate States of America and I collect American magazines, they are fair game for this discussion. Of course, when Parrish and Willingham wrote their book on confederate imprints, they left out the magazines, so I had to start from scratch. For my 1995 book, I did a lot of research and put together the only comprehensive list of Confederate periodicals I've ever seen. There's some real beauties here, all of which rate between scarce, rare and impossible to find. I'd give my eye teeth for an issue of Bugle Horn of Liberty, for instance. I've never personally examined one.
Here's the list:

Now here's some great images from my collection:
The first magazine published in any of the states that became the confederacy was South Carolina Weekly Museum, published in Charleston for three volumes in 1797-98. I do not own a copy. The second, and first in Virginia, was National Magazine, published largely due to the imprisonment of editor James Lyons' brother under the Alien and Sedition Acts. Even then the north was giving certain southerners fits!

Throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, quite a few magazines were published in the south, reflecting the political attitudes and literary preferences of the southern upper class.

This magazine was edited by one of the most important southern writers, William Gilmore Simms.

Perhap's the most important of all ante-bellum southern magazines were De Bow's Review, published in New Orleans and Southern Literary Messenger, clearly the finest in the literary area, edited for a time and with mutltiple contributions by Edgar Allan Poe.

Here is a real gem. The first issue of SLM in oriiginal wrappers and a presentation copy of the publisher Thomas White!

SLM continued publishing after the outbreak of the war. Here is the first confederate issue

Here's an 1858 magazine that Simon Legree types probably perused regularly. The motto at the bottom "The Negro, The Rail and The Bale" pretty much says it all.

When war broke out, magazines took a back burner to other more urgent priorities and lack of manpower and resources. Towards the end of the war southern newspapers were sometimes printed on "necessity paper" and numerous rare and valuable wallpaper editions are highly coveted. The most widely known are various editions of The Vicksburg Citizen. I'm not aware that any magazine was ever printed on wallpaper, though, towards the end, the paper quality was distinctly inferior.
Here's one of the earliest magazines to be started in the Confederacy. Aside from the frontis engraving of General Beauregard, there is a fold-out map of the southern victory at Manassas (Bull Run).

The second issue features this engraving of Jefferson Davis.

The most important and widely circulated periodical of the Confederacy was Southern Illustrated News. It was essentially the south's answer to Harper's Weekly and Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. All issues are scarce and early ones are especially rare. One can get a random issue for a few hundred dollars. Generally, the more important the personality or event on the cover, the more valuable. Two issue's feature Robert E. Lee. Here's the three I own.

I owe a debt of gratitude to my friend Richard West of Periodyssey for offering me the first issue when he obtained it. I think I paid about $1000 and was thrilled to get it. I've never seen another copy. The cover features the iconic Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson (pre-beard). Pardon the slightly faded printing. When you have an opportunity to obtain something like this, you don't ask questions. As my friend David Leishman often says " find another one" !!

This is a very early issue with a view of Vicksburg:

And here's General James Longstreet of Gettysburg fame:

My favorite wartime issue of any confederate magazine is this one. The masthead features the seal of the Confederacy and the content is fantastic: General Lee's report of the Pennsylvania campaign (aka: How the war was lost).

The Magnolia is a combination newspaper/magazine. This issue features an early report of the death of the aforementioned General Jackson.

This is one of the last magazines to be started in the Confederacy.

Talk about rare: this magazine was published on a plantation in Georgia. Amazingly, it features the first appearance in print of the typesetter and soon to be author: Joel Chandler Harris.
Just to show how far we've come, Harris' Uncle Remus, immortalized in the Disney classic "Song of the South" his never been re-released due to its racial content.

A number of "copperhead" southern sympathizing publications were printed in the Union. The most famous was The Old Guard. The Weekly Southern Spy is exceedingly rare. This may be the only copy in existence.

After the war, with the infusion of raw materials and personnel, it didn't take long for magazines to start up again. This one was published in 1866 by a former Confederate General and brother of General A.P. Hill.

The last three decades of the 19th Century had its fair share of southern oriented magazines:

As the bitter memories faded, a spirit of mutual cooperation and common purpose began to slowly evolve- characteristically reflected in magazines (though I doubt there are still too many Yankee fans south of the Mason/Dixon line).

And lastly, I could not resist including this 1933 "southern" magazine which features my current obsession, Franklin D. Roosevelt (from southern N.Y!).
Whew! Quite a Saturday afternoon. Football- Shmootball, nothing beats talking about magazines!

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