Journals and the Archive

The three journals I chose to peruse this week include "McClure's Magazine", "The New Freewoman", and "The Owl". Different things drew me to each of these titles, from the title, the description given by the MJP, to even the cover art, but there were a few similar questions I had while perusing them.

For The New Freewoman I looked at volume 1 no. 1, 7, and 13, for McClure's Magazine I looked at volumes 14.4, 17.5, and 36.2, and for The Owl I looked at volume 1 no. 1, 2, and 3, since apparently these 3 were all that was ever published.

I was curious about "The New Freewoman" due to our discussion last week of it in-between status, bookended on either side by "The Freewoman" and "The Egoist. I was curious what shifts I might notice in the journals mere 6 month lifespan. While perusing these volumes I noticed concerns with the suffrage movement, as the title might suggest, but beyond this also travel and responses to beauty (in Rebecca West's "Trees of Gold", particularly), anthropology, philosophy, the necessity of caring for the environment (no. 7), and that some writers (such as that same West) appear on multiple occasions. All three volumes also include an abundance or mythical and literary references, as well as an apparent fascination with the Greeks. IT was from no. 7 to 13 that I noticed the most striking difference, with no. 13 beginning with a violent and enigmatic story, upon the end of which the change of names is announced dramatically: "It is proposed that with our issue of January 1st, 1914, the title of The New Freewoman be changed to The Egoist." The reason for this seems rather intuitive based upon the content of all three volumes: the writers therein are concerned with a multitude of areas that are at once connected to and also perhaps autonomous of the previously held titles.

McClure's Magazine I chose for the illustrations: From the Renaissance cover art of volume 14.4 to the sloping landscape of volume 17.5, I was sold, and the colored illustrations throughout were quite interesting.  Looking at the content itself, I learned that we used to have a beef boulion-esque product called "Armour's", complete with an accompanying knight jousting.  Additionally, the word that kept coming to mind when considering this stories and advertisements within the journal was "discovery". Based upon the content, the writers and readers of McClure's seem to have been quite interested in travel narratives, depictions of "exotic" animals, and adventure stories in general.

As for the three volumes present of The Owl, I found here, as the journals introductory material asserts, a rather conservative and straightforward collection of seemingly good writing of the time in a less experimental vein. This was rather refreshing for me, honestly, since I have been rather used to thinking that everything published during this period was radical in some way, shape, or form.  In fact, The Owl's refusing to take any one stance or movement, in some ways, seems to lend it to inclusivity, for since "It must be understood that "The Owl" has no politics, leads no new movement and is not even the organ of any particular generation", this potentially welcomes a variety of perspectives instead of catering only to those of a certain age or agends, and thus "sixty-seven years separate the oldest and youngest contributors." (The little owl drawings are also just super cute, honestly.)

About these particular journals I kept asking myself, what was the intent of the editors and contributors? What were those things they felt so passionately about as to create in such a way, and why this way, in particular?

One question about the archive in general that these journals prompted me to consider is whether perhaps one purpose of the archive is simply to preserve the variety of any given age? I am used to thinking that archives rather boil a time-period down to it's most common denominator, but here found such differences of perspective circulating as to reorient my preconceptions remarkably.