Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Gourmand Magazine, March 1885

Copyright 2009 Stuart Koblentz
Ahhh, Gourmand Magazine!  The magazine of conspicuous consumption! The magazine renowned for its celebration of shear, and unapologetic, gluttony that reached its Zenith in the era of American Splendor in the late 19th Century.  Appearing on each cover was the motto of the periodical, "Jus est Vita", which roughly translated into English as meaning "Gravy is Life".  Each month, readers were taken to places that they could only imagine.  Bakeries, confectioners, beef houses and Bavarian Breweries - where those with a lush desire for nothing but the best (and as much of it as it was humanly possible to consume) could be had.  Even Hetty Green was a subscriber - long cold nights spent lovingly looking through the lush pages, representing the unbridled desire that even the Witch of Wall Street could not supress.  That is the real meaning of Kismet.

Two things lead to the eventual closure of Gourmand, however.  First, there were very, very short life spans of the readers who seemed to be plagued with all manner of health problems.  Gout, apoplexy, catarrh, lumbago and bursitis - all doomed the readership.  And if that wasn't enough, there was the Progressive Era, with all of its repudiations and stances on going back to nature and eating diets that couldn't keep a squirrel alive let alone a 450 pound man who would have a Chateaubriand for a night time snack and think nothing of it.  Oh, the dreams we had those nights as well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

JoMACFA January, 1774

Copyright 2009 Stuart Koblentz
If, by chance you were feeling a bit poorly in January, 1775 and waiting at your barber's for a bloodletting pick me up to cure your ills, chances are you find a ciopy of this magazine in his stack of out of date periodicals.   And long before there were trendy houses with glass curtain walls and Barcelona Chairs people needed a magazine at what was hot, and what was not, in Colonial Modern terms.  And this would be that guide.  Who could forget the December 1773 deatiling newest and hottest fad to sweep France but the Crochet and Crochet hook?  Well not JoMacfa which covered the fad as it swept the New Jersey colony as coverlets for dairy cattle had the hands of wives of Dairymen everwhere clattering away on their hooks.  After all, cozy cow give more milk and better butter!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Heiress, January 1960

Copyright, 2009 Stuart J. Koblentz

The January 1960 issue of HEIRESS Magazine featured that grand dame, America's own successful rich girl, Marjorie Merriweather Post Close Hutton Davies May (who, after divorcing Mr. May went back to her maiden name), otherwise known as force behind Post Cereals and General Foods.  Post always made a name for herself - but she really hit the big time when she bought the entire contents of the Czarist warehouses in Leningrad from Stalin in the 1930s.  Thousands of pounds of Czarist bauble for a few bags of  frozen peas and brussel sprouts.   Post's success was in stark contrast of that of her niece's misfortune.  Post was married to E.F. Hutton (Yes, that E.F. Hutton), uncle of Barbara Hutton, the Poor Little Rich Girl herself and was appalled when Hutton bought a small duchy in Denmark for retail. Post on the other hand could buy the riches of Russia for a few frozen peas.  Needless to say, Post died in splendor at a ripe old age, while Hutton died in the arms of gigolo in Hollywood.

Unfortunatly, Heiress Magazine enjoyed its heydey during the Cafe Society of the 1930s ad 1940s, and by 1960s its readership had shrunk up to mostly nothing owing to the fact that the Federal Income Tax Code had eliminated most chances for a women of means to be Madcap, and instead was pointing them towards cheap sexual escapades to capture the minds of Americans.  By 1970, the magazine was as dead as the Lindy Hop, and with it went Xaiver Cugat's career.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hypchondriac's Home Companion, June 1888

Hypochondriac's Home Companion for June 1888 featured cutting edge articles on cutting edge paper. So much so that the issue would have been recalled given the outbreak of papercuts had the Federal Government monitored such things at the time.  But if they weren't watching what meat packers put into hot dogs, they certainly weren't paying attention to crudly cut bargain paper in a magazine, either.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

SVENGALI, April 1909

Copyright 2009 Stuart J. Koblentz
Svengali, The Magazine For Those in The Know and Know They Know It, was a niche market publication favored by soothsayers and those who enjoyed being in the midst of machinations.  In addition to personality profiles and how to articles, the magazine also included grocery coupons and a popular puzzles sections. The APril 1909 issue featured a personality profile on the latest rage in Russia, RASPUTAN, a mad monk who made cassocks momentaily popular.  He was, however found to be some what of a egoist, and serenaded the Czarina at the annual Surfs Up Ball with with an all too personal version of Sexual Healing.  Chaos ensued.