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The Old Volumes of Yankee Magazine

The Old Volumes of Yankee Magazine
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In a small room on the second floor of Yankee are bookshelves lined with the old-timers—the bound volumes of the magazine since the day we began in 1935. I came on board in October 1979, so naturally I feel more kinship with the volumes that date from my arrival, sort of like an album of family pictures where I know all the faces. The ones from before then still feel like family, but from another time, the great-uncles and -aunts I never really got to spend much time with.

From time to time I bring home a volume or two and just thumb through them. Besides a certain nostalgia and curiosity about the magazine from a few decades back, I’m fascinated to see New England re-emerge as I turn the pages. This past weekend I did just that, and I’m telling you, I was more entertained than by anything I could have put on the television.

Let me just tell you about one trip down memory lane and see whether you agree.

This came from the September 1978 issue. Its title, “Two Whole Towns for Sale,” pretty much sums it up. Yankee‘s eternally popular “House for Sale” Moseyer (whose identity has been a closely guarded secret from the public ever since I came here) had found one heck of a story. Basically, the entire village of Cambridgeport, Vermont, about halfway between Saxtons River and Grafton Village, was up for grabs. Consider what the Moseyer wrote: “On its main street, Route 121, are 14 houses in addition to the church, Bell’s garage/post office/store, and the plant of Unified Data Products Corp. Of these, a dozen are either openly for sale or most certainly available if you made an offer. Raymond Cushing owns four, including his own, and not including a fifth which he thinks he has sold. One is a little place east of the church for $13,000. Another is a nine-room brick house at $18,000… It would appear you could purchase almost all of Cambridgeport, including the old mill and pond, for somewhere in the vicinity of $200,00, probably less…”

Well, don’t you think that gets our attention today? I’m not immune to the “what-if” game we all play at times. What if you’d bought this little Vermont town 30 years ago — what might you have done with it? It’s a make-believe yet curiously real game of New England Monopoly. I think I may just have to ask the Moseyer to head back to Cambridgeport one of these days to see what happened to all those Vermont houses.

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6 Responses to The Old Volumes of Yankee Magazine

  1. Jamie Trowbridge March 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm #

    For all of us who work at Yankee Publishing, a short research assignment in the Yankee archives can turn into an enormous time sink. I am often struck, as I page through the old volumes of Yankee, how a “new” idea we are considering has been done — and well — in the past.

  2. Jeff Folger March 8, 2009 at 10:55 am #

    Well I have some of those back issues (mostly Sept & Oct issues) and I have to say I enjoy going back over them when I find the time in my busy techno life.
    I just got my Mar/April Yankee and if the folks missed it, they should run do not walk to your local news stand and get a copy. I usually read one or maybe two stories but this issue had bunches of stories that made me want to slow down and read them.

    Any who… This was one of the best issues and I read it all the way through. The article on Vermont reclaiming their old back roads or unknown roads that haven’t been roads for several years (like a hundred + yrs) was very interesting to me.

    I don’t know whether or not Vt towns will be able to benefit from this but it could mean some new pathways for us in the fall to travel… (if not all yr long)

    I mean could you imagine a walking tour where the guide walks you through the old home steads where now there may only be a portion of an old stone wall or some cellar walls.
    And at the same time you get to spend time out in the woods and see old stands of fall foliage trees…
    It might be a good tourism boost…

    What do all of you think?
    Jeff

  3. Dick O'Connor March 10, 2009 at 5:06 pm #

    Yankee reader since 1955. Agreed. It has always been a magazine to spend time on, curl up with, and get to know. I am always pulling down old issues and re-reading them with renewed interest. After all, I have changed and (I hope) grown since the previous reading. Some favorites have been read 20-30 times!
    Have, over the years, tried to acquire them all. The most difficult to find are 1935 and 1951-1952.
    Thanks people for a wonderful and classic publication.
    Dick

  4. Dawn Rigoni April 21, 2009 at 2:16 pm #

    Mel,
    I’m a new member on here, and admit I am one of those people who is ‘homesick for new england’ even though I’ve never lived there. I’ve dreamed of living in vermont ever since I was little even though I’ve never been; my favorite school librarian moved away to Weathersfield, VT when I was a child and sent me a postcard, and ever since, I have felt that my heart belongs to a place I’ve never set foot in.
    I am looking forward to keeping up with your blog…please know how fortunate you are to live in such a beautiful corner of the world!
    Dawn

  5. Carl McCarthy March 6, 2012 at 4:13 am #

    A google search led me here. Perhaps you can help me find a back issue of Yankee magazine from the 1970s that contained a photo of my great grandfather Eugene McCarthy of Waitsfield, VT. In 1896, at the Waitsfield Fairground, he was dragged aloft by a rope tethered to a hot air balloon, upside down. He survived. Someone took a photo of him hanging from the balloon. This photo appeared in Yankee magazine, if memory serves me correctly. My grandmother had a copy in her home. You can reach me at carl_b_mccarthy@hotmail.com Thanks very much!

  6. Jean Sylvester June 7, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I hope someone can help me. In the seventies I read a wonderful story about the life of a lightkeepers wife. I would love to have a copy of this. Hope someone remembers. Thanks

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