Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Menu Search

Popular magazines from 100 years ago on display in the Berkeley Library foyer

‘The Strand Magazine’, ‘Pearson’s Magazine’, and ‘The Windsor Magazine’, September 1912.

"O mistress mine, where are you roaming" by Edwin Abbey, used to accompany an article on "Music in Picture" by Austin Chester.
“O mistress mine, where are you roaming” by Edwin Abbey, used to accompany an article on “Music in Picture” by Austin Chester.
The Windsor Magazine, September 1912

From around 1880 until 1950, general-interest family magazines proliferated in Britain. These took inspiration from popular American titles such as ‘Harper’s’ and included a high proportion of popular fiction. Printed on high quality paper, the magazines were copiously illustrated, with ‘The Strand Magazine’ aiming at a picture on every page. Circulation figures and distribution are unfortunately difficult to establish with accuracy, but the sheer number of titles tells its own story. Mike Ashley, in his history of the medium, ‘The age of storytellers, (London, 2006) lists 144.

"November Joe, the detective of the woods" by H. Hesketh Prichard. "The mystery of the black fox skin."
‘The mystery of the black fox skin.’
“November Joe, the detective of the woods” by H. Hesketh Prichard.
Pearson’s Magazine, September 1912.

Of these magazines, ‘The Strand Magazine’ is the most famous, made so by its serialisation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Following the runaway success of ‘The Strand’, magazines such as ‘Pearson’s Magazine’, ‘The Windsor Magazine’, and ‘The Pall Mall Magazine’ entered the market, each attempting to carve out its own niche. In general the magazines tended to include a mixture of popular fiction, non-fiction feature articles, poetry and humour.

To give a flavour of what was popular 100 years ago, we currently have issues of ‘The Strand Magazine,Pearson’s Magazine, andThe Windsor Magazinefrom September 1912 on display in the foyer of the Berkeley Library. The article from ‘The Strand Magazine’ is particularly fabulous, so we’ve reproduced it here in full. To read the text you will need to click into the gallery, and then click the ‘View full size’ link at the bottom right of the page.

London Olympics, 1908

You may have noticed that the Olympics are being held in London this year …

To mark the occasion we are displaying an edition of the ‘Illustrated London News’ in the exhibition case in the foyer of the Berkeley Library, giving details of the dramatic finale to the Marathon in the 1908 Games, which were also held in London.

Unlike the four-year gap between modern Games, the London Olympics in 1908 came only two years after Athens. They were initially planned for Rome, but an untimely eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 redirected Italian government funds elsewhere. Given the deluge of rain that occurred in London over the two-week period, Rome must have seemed even more appealing in hindsight.

In addition to sport and the weather, politics made its presence felt. Finland, at the time an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire, marched flagless in the opening ceremony because Russia, through diplomatic channels, had insisted the Finns should march under a Russian banner. Irish contestants paraded under a Union Jack and were disgruntled that their efforts would add to the haul of medals for Great Britain.

Political decisions were not the only ones to see disfavour. The 400 metres final ended in a walkover for British athlete W. Halswelle as J.B. Taylor and W.C. Robbens, both from the USA, withdrew in protest over the disqualification of their compatriot J.C. Carpenter.The biggest controversy, however, was in the marathon. Lining up with 74 other contestants, Italy’s Dorando Pietri entered the Olympic Stadium in the lead and looking exhausted. On the final stretch he fell several times and was supported by confused officials. This led to his disqualification. Queen Alexandra was reportedly greatly moved by Dorando’s show of courage in completing the race, and awarded him a gold cup.

Here are the pages displayed in the case, plus a couple of bonus images.

Shakespeare Exhibition now on display

A small exhibition of printed editions of works by Shakespeare is now on display in two exhibition cases at the far end of the Long Room. This mini-exhibition has been organised to coincide with the Dublin Shakespeare Festival which takes place in the Front Square of Trinity College from 6th to 16th June. The exhibition includes a copy of the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s Works, printed in 1623 and commonly known as the First Folio, as well as a copy of the second edition of 1632. Also on display is a very fine illustrated edition of the dramatist’s works published in London in 1802 and separately printed Dublin editions of ‘Hamlet’, ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and ‘The Tempest’, dating from the second half of the 18th century.