Trail End

No Time For Boredom

Making the Most of Leisure Time in a Screenless Society

The Printed Word

 State Historic Site

Detail, Judge Magazine, 1912 (Private Collection)

Early magazines covers (Various collections, TESHS)

A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
​April 2010 - December 2011

IN THE DAYS before Google and Wikipedia, the library was where we went if we wanted to research something. Before Kindle and Talking Books, we entertained ourselves by reading printed novels and poems. Ink on paper was the highest form of technology available.

And what a wonderful technology it was. Having books in the home was considered one of the hallmarks of a cultured family. Illiteracy – not being able to read or write – was a sign of sloth. If one couldn’t read, one couldn’t vote, couldn’t enjoy Dickens or Whitman, couldn’t learn about different peoples in faraway lands, couldn’t better oneself.

John Kendrick knew the value of books when it came to bettering oneself. He had only a third-grade education when he came to Wyoming in 1879. To improve himself, he kept books in his saddlebags, reading them each night by the light of the campfire. He read everything from history and science to literature and law. In 1932, when he received an honorary degree from the University of Wyoming Law School, it was estimated that he had given himself the equivalent of a Master's Degree, just through reading.

Without computers, televisions and video games, homes – especially living rooms – were quieter places than they are today. For the Kendricks, their Drawing Room and Library were perfect places to enjoy a little time with a book or magazine.


Before television and the Internet – even before radio – magazines shaped the lives of most Americans. Along with newspapers, magazines went into private homes and showed everyone how to dress, how to act, how to recreate, what to read, which way to vote, and how to think about literature, science, art, politics, themselves, and the world. Some of America's best new fiction first appeared – in serialized form – in national magazines.

Thousands of titles were published in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The vast majority existed for a few years and then faded from the scene as new technologies and new sources of information emerged. A few are still with us today (date is the year the magazine was first published):

  • 1792  Scientific American
  • 1843  Economist
  • 1850  Harper’s
  • 1857  Atlantic Monthly
  • 1859  Good Housekeeping
  • 1867  Harper’s Bazaar
  • 1872  Publishers’ Weekly
  • 1872  Popular Science
  • 1873  Forest & Stream
  • 1883  Ladies’ Home Journal
  • 1885  American Rifleman
  • 1886  Cosmopolitan
  • 1886  Sporting News
  • 1888  National Geographic
  • 1892  Vogue
  • 1895  Field & Stream
  • 1896  House Beautiful
  • 1897  McCall’s
  • 1898  Outdoor Life
  • 1898  Sunset
  • 1902  Popular Mechanics
  • 1903  Redbook
  • 1905  Variety
  • 1911  Boys’ Life
  • 1914  New Republic
  • 1920  Architectural Digest
  • 1922  Reader's’Digest
  • 1922  Better Homes & Gardens
  • 1923  Time
  • 1925  New Yorker
  • 1926  Parents
  • 1931  Women’s Day
  • 1931  Gentlemen’s Quarterly
  • 1932  Family Circle
  • 1933  Esquire
  • 1933  Newsweek
  • 1933  U. S. News & World Report