Periodicals/The Prairie Farmer

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The blanket clearance for all Prairie Farmers before 1923 is 20050510141801various.

About The Prairie Farmer

Prairie Farmer Magazine was started in 1841 and is still in print today. It was aimed at those people engaged in the agricultural life in the midwest of the US. There appear to be two separate magazines today: Indiana Prairie Farmer and Illinois Prairie Farmer. In the 1880's it was a large format magazine that looks more like a newspaper to us, published weekly. I have assorted issues from the mid-1880's, maybe 20 or so in all. I haven't been able to find websites for either of these magazines, and as far as I can tell, scans are not available. The best link I've been able to come up with is to some articles about the history of a radio station that was partly owned by Prairie Farmer.

Prairie Farmer had a number of sections, not all of which appear in every issue, but they certainly say something about the interests of the time. Agricultural, Horticural, Floriculture, Veterinary, Markets, Humorous, Young People, Household, The Dairy, Poultry Notes, The Apiary, Scientific, Literature, etc.

The second half of the 1800's was the golden age of periodicals. The newspapers of the day followed local and daily events but did not address other matters in depth. With no radio or television, and with books being relatively expensive, periodicals were a primary source of entertainment. Since most of the population never went to or finished high school, they also provided ongoing education. The illustrations, engravings and later B&W photographs, were the only way that the vast majority of the population would ever see landscapes, animals, art, fashion, architecture, etc beyond their own locale. For these reasons, most magazines covered a wide variety of subjects beyond their specialty, as seen in the list of departments for Prairie Magazine, above.

In the first half of the 1800's, magazines were mostly local, with very few having a circulation outside of a general region (though not as local as newspapers). A few, such as Graham's and Godey's Lady's Book, did circulate more widely. Graham's introduced the use of illustrations quite early, and other magazines soon followed. By the second half of the century some magazines were achieving a much broader reach. There was also an astounding number of magazines in print. One for every area of interest, every geographic area, for every economic class, every profession, etc. I consider preserving this material to be as important as preserving the books that we usually associate with DP and PG.


To avoid duplication of effort, adverts that appear in multiple issues of The Prairie Farmer are being stored on the Ads page, you can copy and paste these into the proofing interface. Please check the copied text carefully against the image as there may be slight differences between issues.