Collecting the History of Magazines

Collection of Dr. Steven Lomazow

From the cover of the New Yorker, vol. 1, no. 1, February 12, 1925.

If your stack of unread New Yorkers gives you anxiety, consider the stacks owned by Dr. Steven Lomazow, whose collection of historic magazines numbers 83,000. Lomazow was born a collector, as he told us in an interview back in 2009. He started, as many of us do, with stamps and coins. When he was a medical student, he discovered the first issues of Life and Look while browsing in a now defunct Chicago bookshop and was immediately “hooked.”

Collection of Dr. Steven Lomazow

The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle, vol. 1, frontispiece, 1744. The first successful American magazine, sold by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia.

More than forty years later, an exhibition of his collection opened at New York’s Grolier Club yesterday. Magazines and the American Experience, on view through April 24, features 200 rare and unique magazine issues, from The American Magazine and Historical Chronicle (1774) to Weird Tales to Macworld. Highlights include first printings of formative works, such as Poe’s “The Raven,” and first issues of virtually every important American magazine, including Cosmo, Time, Rolling Stone, and on and on. The progress of Black culture in periodicals comprises a significant part of the collection and the exhibition.

As part of the Bibliography Week next week, two virtual events related to this exhibition are planned. On Tuesday, January 26, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., there will be a panel discussion on “Magazines as Primary Sources,” with speakers Heather Havemann (UC Berkeley), Kirsten MacLeod (Newcastle University, Scotland), Julie Golia (NY Public Library), Len Banco (Watkinson Library), and Steven Lomazow (collector/co-curator). On Wednesday, January 27, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m., Lomazow will give the Bibliography Week Lecture. Registration is free, but you must sign up.

And stay tuned for more on Lomazow in a future issue of Fine Books!