I’ve finally opened up the second “time capsule” metal trunk that has been stored in dad’s old basement the past few decades. It’s more mildewy than the green trunk mentioned in an earlier bluejayblog post. The artifacts are fewer, most of them being class notes from dad’s days as an engineering student in Oregon.
There are a few fragile copies of magazines from years gone by, though. One of the better examples is a single issue of American Boy.
There is very little information on the Web about the magazine aside from a “stub” article on Wikipedia. Evidently, American Boy was the largest magazine for boys in the early 20th century. By 1929, circulation was more than 300,000.
American Boy began publication with the November 1899 issue. The publisher and editor was Griffith Ogden Ellis, a former senior vice president of the Bank of Detroit and a former president of Detroit’s street railway commission.
Ellis created the magazine after his nephew, Willie Sprague, was under quarantine for a severe illness. Willie’s mother only allowed the kid to read Youth’s Companion magazine, but Willie didn’t enjoy that particular periodical because of its milquetoast nature. With Willie in mind, Ellis came up with the idea for a more boy-oriented publication. The new magazine included more exciting stories and features.
In 1929, American Boy merged with rival Youth’s Companion to more than double its circulation numbers. That’s why the phrase, “Founded in 1827” not 1899, appears on the magazine cover.
Ten years later, Ellis sold his share of the magazine to business manager Elmer Grierson. The magazine went out of business in 1941.