Small Home Gazette, Summer 2011
Digital Copies of Bungalow-Era Magazines
Keith’s Magazine on Homebuilding, which was published in Minneapolis throughout the bungalow era, is a fascinating window into domestic life a century ago. Access to copies of the magazine, however, has been difficult. I’ve purchased some issues online, but they are hard to come by and can be expensive. The downtown branch Minneapolis Public Library has a fairly complete set of the magazines, but you must request access, and as they are quite fragile the library no longer allows them to be photocopied.
But now there’s an inexpensive alternative. While perusing eBay recently, I ran across a British seller who offers DVDs packed with PDF versions of Keith’s Magazine—144 issues, to be exact, dating from 1910 to 1921. The DVD also contains 132 issues of House and Garden magazine dating from 1911 through 1922. (Judging from ink stamps that can be seen on the first few pages of some of the magazines, they were apparently copies decommissioned by the Toronto Public Library.)
The price for all 276 digital issues? About $17, including shipping from the United Kingdom.
If you’re at all curious about what life was like for the original occupants of your vintage home, this DVD is a must. Each issue of Keith’s Magazine contains several brief articles about a new house, bungalows and other house types of the time. Each brief contains a photo of the home’s exterior, a floor plan, and sometimes photos of interior rooms.
There also are recurring magazine sections on decorating and furnishing the home, and on kitchens and recipes. I glanced through a few issues and saw articles on built-in storage, pergolas and other garden structures, summer bungalows, Oriental style bungalows, plumbing fixtures, and breakfast nooks.
The Home and Garden issues also are worthwhile, though this magazine is virtually devoid of bungalows and Arts & Crafts furniture. Instead its focus is on larger, suburban high-end homes and their furnishings, plus lush gardens, of course. That said, Home and Garden contains interesting articles on art objects, lamps, dinnerware, domestic crafts, and that staple of suburban life—automobiles. It must be said, though, that many of the “suburbs” pictured in these issues are now likely viewed as city neighborhoods.
You can find the above DVDs on eBay at Phoenix E-books storefront:
The DVD that contains the Keith’s Magazine is titled “276 VINTAGE INTERIOR DESIGN / HOME MAGAZINES on DVD.” This seller also has a wide range of other digitized vintage magazines and books available, including some books available, including some that include bungalow plan books.