One of my favorite pastimes is finding magazines from the World War II and Cold War era (especially World War II). This was a nice find at the Ithaca, NY library book sale in 2009, my first year of blogging.
The Ithaca, New York book sale, held twice a year, is one of the largest in the
country. They usually have some boxes of old Life, Look and other older
magazines. Sometimes they are musty, but they are always a treat for
people like me to read. The next sale is in May, and I hope I can
make it up there.
The original post can be found here. Here is the post, slightly reworked.
Twice a year, I make my pilgrimage to the Ithaca Friends of the Library Book Sale.
If you aren't of a "certain age" you will not remember Life magazine
(except maybe in the name "Time-Life" ). If you are of a certain age
thinking of this magazine will bring back memories.
In a corner of the sale, I followed the musty smell and found a stack
of old Life magazines. Many were heavily damaged but several were
still in pretty decent condition. The subscribers (the mailing labels
were still on the magazine, and they didn't belong to the same person)
seemed to have a common interest in the space program - and in the
Remember the Soviet Union? The monolith that was the scariest part of
my childhood - and crumbled in time for my son to be born?
The magazines were $1.00 each. Pretty cheap history.
After some digging I found my little treasure - the March 29, 1943
"Special Issue USSR" with a picture of Joseph Stalin on the cover.
Now keep in mind that I grew up during the Cold War, and did my share
of Duck and Cover. To this day, hearing the sirens calling out the
volunteer fire department make me cold and scared for a quick second
before I reassure myself that they aren't air raid sirens announcing
the atomic end of the world as we know it.
Well, my inner historian reminded me that at this point in time the
U.S.S.R was our ally (against Hitler). And sure enough I paged
through the magazine and saw this article "Red Leaders. They are
Tough, Loyal, Capable Administrators". Not exactly the, er, party line
I would hear in my growing up. Other articles praised the
accomplishments of the Soviet Union, and even the accomplishments of
the Russia of the past 1,000. years.
Remember the U.S.S.R? Remember the Reds? Remember Communism? My now
22 year old son doesn't. He wasn't even two years old when the
Soviet Union fell on Christmas Day, 1991. As for my generation, the
Red Menace dominated our childhoods. What a difference a few years
To my Cold War amazement, there was even an article "The Soviets and
the Post-War" subtitled "A Former Ambassador to Moscow Answers Some
Perplexing Problems". The author is one Joseph E. Davies, who
famously supported the Soviet government even back in the 1930's,
before we became allies.
One question asked of Mr. Davies was "Is Russian determined to pursue
the cause of world revolution?" His answer began "In my opinion, no."
Seven years later, in the Joseph McCarthy era, this article may have been unprintable. The story of Joseph Davies is quite interesting, if this article is accurate.
For anyone interested in history, this was a great find.
Do you remember the Soviet Union? Duck and Cover? The Cold War? Do
you like old magazines for their glimpses of a world now gone?