Periodicals

A subordinate page to “Who is Len Howard?” last edited 2 Jan 2011

Len Howard’s writing was published in two periodicals: Out of Doors and Countrygoer and The Countryman.

Out of Doors and Countrygoer

I had some trouble pinning down Out of Doors and Countrygoer. In Howard’s first book, Birds as Individuals (1952), she mentions ” ‘Countrygoer’ and ‘Out of Doors’ ” – apparently two separate publications, but in Living with Birds (1956), she mentions “Out of Doors and Countrygoer” – a single title. Based on the listings and references I found online (detailed below), I guess these were two organizations who merged (a little messily, perhaps) around 1950/1952, to publish a single periodical for a time.

I found an early reference to these publications in The Untutored Townsmans Invasion of the Country by C.E.M. Joad (London: Faber and Faber, 1946. Internet Archive), in which they are referenced separately: “the Countrygoer” in the acknowledgements, and “the Autumn 1945 issue of the magazine entitled Out of Doors” in a postscript to the second appendix. Another source, a book description in a catalogue published by RFG Hollet & Son Antiquarian Booksellers of 6 Finkle St. (Sedbergh, Cumbria), references only “the publication ‘Out of Doors’ in 1946 and 1947” (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers). A third source, The Writers and Artists Year Book 1949 (Internet Archive), lists both items separately under the heading “Journals and Magazines”: Countrygoer (“approximately one book each quarter,” Cyril Moore, Countrygoer Books Lmt., 58 Frith St., London), and Out of Doors (1930, bi-monthly, Tom Stevenson, 20 Irving St, London). A later source, however – the 1953 correspondence between Augustus Edwin John (1878-1961) and Brian Vesey-Fitzgerald (paraphrased within the compiled papers of John, and presently available for download here) – identifies a single publication: Out-of-doors and Countrygoer, a “bi-monthly magazine” run by Vesey-Fitzgerald.

I also found a handful of listings for Countrygoer periodicals, published between 1945 and 1948, on Antiqbook and eBay, and none of them mention “Out of Doors” from what I can tell: “Countrygoing” (Countrygoer 4. Ed. Cyrile Moore. London: Countrygoing Books, 1945. Antiqbook); “Countrygoer in the Autumn” (Countrygoer 7, 1946. eagle2511 on eBay); and “Countrygoer: On Horse and Foot” (Countrygoer 14, 1948. eagle2511 on eBay).

Any listings I found for these periodicals post-1950 are for Out of Doors and Countrygoer (its full title usually being “Out of Doors: The Magazine of the Open Air with which Countrygoer is incorporated”), with one exception: a 1952 issue of Out of Doors which makes no reference to “Countrygoer” (v14, n1).

(The above issues are presently listed on eBay by interestingtreasures.)

I also stumbled upon this site: Countrygoer.org. I contacted them inquiring into their relationship with the early Countrygoer publications or the periodical Out of Doors & Countrygoer. Their response was not direct, but claimed association with a now-defunct Countrygoer periodical that, like their website, promoted public transportation to the countryside and supported local park authorities. I do believe it’s a hit.

Citations (incomplete list; acknowledgements due to Ali, the commenter below):

  • “A Bird Biography.” Countrygoer: Britain Tomorrow 17 (Summer 1949): 35-44.
  • “Bird Games.” Countrygoer: Holiday Mood 18 (Autumn 1949): 45-48.
  • “Have Birds Intelligence?” Countrygoer: Mountains & Moors 19 (Winter 1949): 41-43.
  • “Curley – A Problem Great Tit.” Countrygoer: A Country Miscellany 20 (Spring 1950): 30-34.

A slight point of negligible interest: In the 1953 correspondence mentioned above, Vesey-Fitzgerald offers John “a fee of 1 guinea per 100 words” for an article on “gypsies.” In The Writers and Artists Year Book 1949, Countrygoer lists a payment of “4 4s. per 1000 words” (which means what, exactly? readers?), while Out of Doors keeps their cards a little closer to their chests (“payment by arrangement”).

The Countryman

This periodical was referenced by Len Howard in her second book, Living with Birds. The Countryman, full title “The Countryman Comes from the Country: a Quarterly Non-Party Review and Miscellany of Rural Life and Work for the English-Speaking World,” was published from Burford, Oxfordshire.

This periodical’s listing in The Writers and Artists Year Book 1949 is as such:

“COUNTRYMAN, THE (1927), JOHN CRIPPS, Editorial Office: Burford, Oxford. T. Burford 258. Advertising and Publishing: 10 Bouverie Street, E.C.4. 2s. 6d. Q. Every department of rural life and progress, here and abroad, except sport. Party politics and townee sentimentalising about the country barred. Copy must be trustworthy, well written, brisk, cogent, and light in hand. Stories and articles short. Good paragraphs and notes, first-class poetry, and sound, skilful sketches of life and character, based on real knowledge and experience. Dependable natural history. Really good matter from old letters, MSS. and rare books. Payment: 5 5s. per 1000 words and upwards according to merit. Illustrations: Photographs, sketches (including amusing sketches), and plans, but all must be out of the ordinary and bear close scrutiny.”

(Note: with the exception of issue 54.1, which was listed on Antiqbook, the above photographs were taken from listings on eBay by various venders – lorry8910, fos1230_3, 1969glen1969, fireb77, rnrbooks1, and helen8227.)

I have only found one issue of The Countryman which features Len Howard: 54.1 Spring 1957 – the article is written after the publication of her last book, Living with Birds. Her article is called “Two Nesting Seasons.”

The Countryman: Number 54, issue 1 (Spring 1957): The Highlights

Cover of The Countryman periodical: "The Countryman comes from the country / Two Nesting Seasons by Len Howard / Meat from the Hills by S. H. Cole / Extinct in Britain? by David McClintock and Pamela Freeman / Scarback and Popgoes by Phyllis Bowen / First Thoughts Best by R. M. Lockley / A House and a History by Sonia Kelly / Two Country Parsons by C. Henry Warren / For full contents see pages 206-207 / Sheep Street - Burford - Oxfordshire / Vol LIV No 1 Spring 1957 Three shillings quarterly" First page (after 24 pages of ads) of The Countryman periodical: "The Countryman: A Quarterly Non-Party Review and Miscellany of Rural Life and Work for the English-speaking World / Founded by J. W. Robertson Scott and Edited by John Cripps at Burford in Oxfordshire / O more than happy countryman if he but knew his good fortune - Virgil. Agriculture for a high-minded man is the best of all occupations - Xenophon. The profit of the earth is for all - Ecclesiastes. There is nothing better than farming, nothing more fruitful, nothing more delightful, nothing more worthy of a free man - Cicero. the best citizens spring from the cultivators - Cato. No more real service can be rendered than by improving agriculture - Washington. One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth - Ecclesiastes. / VOL LIV No 1 Spring 1957 / Two Nesting Seasons by Len Howard / Few young birds were reared in my garden and near by during 1955 owing to the cold weather which lasted well into June. [...] In one family both parents died, the great tit Pippa* and her new mate. [...] *The history of Pippa, born in 1950, is given in Miss Howard's book 'Living with Birds' (Collins, 15s)" Picture taken from the front of Len Howard holding up a bird on her hand and half-smiling. Caption reads "The author with one of her tits."

Pictured above are the cover, the first page (after 24 pages of ads), and one of the pictures from Len Howard’s article (page 26, credited to David Moore, who also took the photograph I feature in my blog post). I was especially pleased to find the picture of her because she’s not only facing the camera, she’s also smiling, which makes it one-of-a-kind for me!

I’ll write about her article at a later date.Update 27 Oct 2012: Although I cannot say what the future holds, I no longer have any intention of doing this. Please comment if you’d like me to contact you with details about this article.

A Selection of Advertisements

Most of the ads published in this issue of The Countryman were either for out-buildings (you know the type – materials arrive prepared, pay extra for assembly) or lawn mowers; there were also some tobacco, clothing, and big-corp ads (“In this new age of chemicals…you can be sure of Shell”). I like the ones below especially.

Ad for Caldene Clothing Co Ltd. printed in p.16
Pic of a crest for March, with a soldier, cherubim, a hare, and other symbols The drawing at left appears in an ad for Midland Bank of London (p.22). The text for the crest (not the ad text) reads “The name of the month derives from Mars, the Roman god of war. The Saxons, more prosaically, called it Rough Month (Hreth Monath), which seems to indicate that the climate hasn’t changed as much as one might think.”

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2 thoughts on “Periodicals

  1. ‘Countrygoer’ was a periodical – quarterly I think, maybe biennial – published from 1945 or before until 1950 at least. It started as a magazine for the non-country-dwellers who wanted to explore the countryside in the leisure time while taking it seriously – it had many articles on the new National Parks, comments on upcoming legislation around them, descriptions of regions, a little introduction to how farming works intended for the layman likely to come into contact with farmers, book reviews, occasional poetry. As time went on it began to expand its horizons and include articles on climbing in the Alps or the Atlas mountains. C.[not G.] E.M. Joad seems to have been its guiding spirit. Len Howard contributed from nos. 17-20 (and maybe further if it continued further) summer ’49 until ’50, publishing a sort of great tit soap opera (that’s the little birds with black heads, but you know that…) which ran over several issues. The periodical may well have merged with something else after 1950. There are currently two issues for sale on ebay, I think both prior to Len Howard’s arrival.

    I’ve no idea how long ago this blog post was written or if you still want to know any of this …

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