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April 11, 2008

Golfer and Sportsman

Filed under: Our Favorite Things — Lori Williamson @ 3:50 pm

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Golfer and Sportsman magazine was a monthly periodical published and edited by Virginia Safford in Minneapolis, primarily covering the social scene in the western suburbs of Minneapolis but including St. Paul and other parts of the state as well. In the mid-1930s the subscription rate was $1.00 per year or 15 cents per issue; it was worth every penny and more. This misnamed periodical is a terrific resource overflowing with material of interest to a wide range of researchers.

Regular columns appear on topics including fashion, arts and culture, product reviews (named “Hello &Good Buys”), a monthly calendar (entitled “What Shall We Do?”), and a variety of sports. Sports included hockey, basketball, polo, fishing, canoeing, and figure skating–most with great close-up photos of local stars and famous visitors. The “Home of the Month” column features residences of the movers and shakers across the state, replete with photographs and descriptions touting interior design innovations and accompanied by tidbits about the designers and architects.

Other topics with regular coverage included card games, business and Wall Street, travel, book reviews, summer camp advertisements, pets and their owners, and where to stay, dine, drink and dance the night away. Frequent articles or biographies appear by Brenda Ueland and Grace Flandrau. nash-ad-res.jpgThe photographs of young debutantes, beaming brides, and men & women engaging in activities of a “sporty” nature are wonderful portraits of an era.

The advertisements illuminate and illustrate activities including home decorating, where to buy furnishings, and where to get the most fashionable clothes-from hats to suits to shoes. In issues from 1935-36 alone we find a full color advertisement for the Minnesota invented Toastmaster “pop-up” toaster (see below) and advertisements featuring Minneapolis dressmaker Agnes Reed’s embroidered suits and dresses. Many ads are personalized like those of local celebs drinking Nash coffee in various settings. Others simply encourage you to eat at the Chinese Restaurant YUEN FALUNG LOW also known as “John’s Place”, to buy furniture at Wm. A. French Studios, Inc., or fly to exotic places via Northwest Airlines.

The Minnesota Historical Society library holds an incomplete run of Golfer and Sportsman magazine ranging in date from January 1933 – February 1943 and another set from October 1946 – October 1949. Resources such as this gem of social history are rich in advertisements, imagery, and monthly essays that enable us to better contextualize the objects, art, and printed materials already held by or sought for the Society’s collections.

Marcia Anderson, Senior Curator

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