In 1988 the Idaho State Historical Society compiled a list of 28 magazines that had published in and about Idaho over the years. We have nearly complete sets of some of the recent ones and only single copies of others. Some, long out of print, are just a memory.
Two magazines that were published to encourage tourism had long runs. Scenic Idaho first rolled off the presses in the summer of 1946. It was produced by the Belcher Printing and Advertising Co. of Pocatello and ran somewhat sporadically until 1981. A copy of the spring issue of 1958 shows us an Idaho that has changed so much since the magazine was printed that it has become an historical document fascinating to read.
The full-color cover photo is of the Ada County Sheriffs Posse, its 20 members mounted on fine horses and wearing bright red shirts. At first glance they might be taken for a troop of Royal Canadian Mounted Police. An article inside explains the groups mission: The man in the sheriffs posse is something more than a fellow with a horse and saddle. He is ready on a moments notice, to act as directed by law enforcement, at his own peril if the need arises. No trip is too far, no task too difficult. He is dedicated to solid community service. He is a member of the Ada County Mounted Sheriffs Posse.
Idaho history is well represented in this magazine with a fine, well-researched article by Annie Laurie Bird of Nampa on Thomas McKay, builder of fur trade Fort Boise. Other stories featured Idaho counties: Ada, Canyon, Teton, Gem, Payette and Latah. Among the ads that now seem historic is one by West Coast Airlines that announces On the horizon, just months away, a bright new era in air travel. West Coasts jet age F-27 silent, smooth, vibrationless flight, faster by far, beginning early summer, 1958.
In July 1969, the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported, Lewiston, Idaho A new Idaho magazine, Incredible Idaho, is now being distributed throughout the state. It is the product of the Idaho Department of Commerce and Development, and is edited by Mrs. Dorine Goertzen, Boise, former editor of Scenic Idaho. In 1973 the agencys name was changed to Idaho Division of Tourism and Industrial Development, but the name Incredible Idaho was kept for its magazine. The last issue appeared in 1979.
When I returned to Idaho in 1969 to become director of the state museum, the Societys own quarterly magazine, Idaho Yesterdays, was already in its 12th year of publication. In 1957s Volume I, No. 1, Society Director H.J. Swinney wrote, A historical society ought to be a teaching institution above all else. The publication of the magazine is, itself, an indication of our belief that it is not enough for a historical society simply to collect objects and documents and data and to take care of them. We propose to USE our things and our ideas, and publishing the stories that come to us is one of the important ways.
In 2009, after more than a half century, Idaho Yesterdays became a digital on-line journal, jointly supported by Idaho State University, Boise State University and the Idaho State Historical Society. It is still the only academic journal devoted specifically to Idaho history and culture. The electronic age in which we live has seen many magazines go from print to digital, but we now have an attractive new full-color successor to Idaho Yesterdays called Idaho Landscapes: History, Science, and Art.
In March 1988, another Idaho magazine made its appearance. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported, Idaho has joined other states in the West with its own colorful magazine to outline the treasures within its borders. The premier edition of Oh! Idaho, a glossy four-color quarterly magazine, was introduced in the Statehouse Tuesday by its publishers and Gov. Cecil Andrus. Tongue in cheek, Andrus said it promotes both the beauty of Idaho and the beauty of our various leaders. The first edition features an interview and five color photos of the Democratic governor.
Oh! Idaho is published in Ketchum by Peak Media Inc., which also produces The Valley Magazine. It was my personal pleasure to contribute an article to that first issue entitled Centennial Thoughts on Idaho History.
Next week: more on Idaho magazines.
Arthur Hart writes this column on Idaho history for the Idaho Statesman each Sunday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.