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The Scrap Book. Volume 1, No. 2 April 1906   By:

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Vol. I. APRIL, 1906. No. 2.


Nothing is a success until it is a proved success. The ideas that seem best frequently turn out the worst. If it were not for this fact, a fact with which we are thoroughly familiar, we should feel that we have in THE SCRAP BOOK the hit of a century. Indeed, it is difficult not to let ourselves go a bit, even now, and talk about this new creation in magazine making in a way that would sound like high pressure fiction.

Six weeks ago THE SCRAP BOOK was nothing but an idea. It had had a good deal of thought in a general way, but nothing effectually focuses until actual work begins. Filmy, desultory thought, in cloudland, counts for little.

In the early conception of THE SCRAP BOOK it was as unlike this magazine as a mustard seed is unlike the full grown tree. Rebelling as I did, and still do, at the restraints of the conventional magazine, and realizing the added strength that should come from the rare old things and the best current things the scrap bits that are full of juice and sweetness and tenderness and pathos and humor realizing all this, I undertook to incorporate in MUNSEY'S MAGAZINE a department which I intended to call THE SCRAP BOOK.

I had special headings and borders drawn for this department, with a view to differentiating it from other parts of the magazine. I had sample pages put in type, and more or less work done on the department. But it did not fit MUNSEY'S MAGAZINE, and MUNSEY'S MAGAZINE gave no scope for such a section. It was atmospherically antagonistic to a magazine which consisted wholly of original matter. This was the beginning of THE SCRAP BOOK the thought nebula.

It was as late as the middle of January when I came to my office one morning and startled our editorial force by saying that THE SCRAP BOOK would be issued on the 10th of February. Up to this time no decisive work had been done on it. As I stated in my introduction last month, we had been gathering scrap books from all over the world for some time, and had a good deal of material classified and ready for use. It was an accepted fact in the office that THE SCRAP BOOK would be issued sooner or later. Indeed, the drawing for the cover was made more than a year ago. But no one on the staff, not even myself, knew just what THE SCRAP BOOK would be like or when it would make its appearance.

With a definite date fixed for the day of issue, however, and that date only about three weeks away, intense work and intense thought were necessary, and from this thought and work was evolved THE SCRAP BOOK as we now have it. From the first minute, as it began to take shape, it became a thing of evolution. Enough material was prepared, set up, and destroyed to fill three issues of THE SCRAP BOOK, and display headings were changed and changed and a dozen times changed to get the effect we wanted.

As it was something apart from all other magazines, we had no precedents to follow, no examples to copy, either in the matter itself, the method of treating it, or the style of presenting it. Our inspiration in producing THE SCRAP BOOK was mainly, and almost wholly, our conception of what would appeal most forcefully to the human heart and human brain to all the people of all classes everywhere. This, supplemented by our experience in publishing, was our guide in evolving this magazine.

I have told you this much about the beginning and the development of THE SCRAP BOOK because such information about the beginning of anything of any consequence appeals to me individually, and I think generally appeals to all readers. If THE SCRAP BOOK, therefore, is to make an important place for itself in the publishing world, as certainly looks probable at this time, it will perhaps be worth while to have the story of its inception and evolution.

While I have created in THE SCRAP BOOK a magazine for the public, as I interpret the public taste and this is always my purpose in anything I publish I find that in THE SCRAP BOOK I have unconsciously created a magazine for myself... Continue reading book >>

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