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Pic of the Week: Discovery

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May 1907 cover of Discovery: an illustrated journal of scientific news and progress for everybody edited by John W. Hardy.

One of our volunteers discovered this intriguing magazine while he was combing the stacks for interesting and lesser known publications. Discovery: an illustrated journal of scientific news and progress for everybody launched its first issue in May 1907. Its aim was

 to bring the public in sympathetic touch with scientists and their work throughout the world, but especially in our own country, by describing authentically, entertainingly, and in a manner that will be easily intelligible to unscientific readers, whatever of this work is of general interest. It will appeal to every intelligent man and woman, boy and girl, and therefore should prove a welcome and valuable addition to the literature of the household.

Not only did this magazine provide illustrated articles about scientific discoveries and theories, but it also contained a “Women in Science” column. Leading women scientists of the day, such as Miss Mary Proctor (1862-?), an astronomer and writer of popular astronomy books like Giant Sun and his family (c1906);  Mrs. Williamina Paton Fleming (1857-1911), astronomer from the Harvard College Observatory; and Mme. (Marie) Sklodowska Curie (1867-1934), physicist and first woman to win the Nobel Prize (1903) were featured. Discovery also included columns of book reviews in “Explorations of the Bookworm” and summaries of articles from leading scientific magazines in “Discoveries in the Magazines.”

Bound with our collection of Discovery issues is a letter from the editor John W. Hardy addressed to John Van Ness Ingram, chief of the Library of Congress Periodical Division. The editor writes:

the sixth number (October) was the last issue…the financial crisis has led to the suspension of the magazine, but I hope to be able to put it on its feet again.

Unfortunately, this magazine never resumed publication and ceased in October 1907, with a mere 6 issues to its name.

Comments (3)

  1. What fun! although I hate to think of how many such interesting endeavors are withering in today’s economic disarray

  2. Are the 6 issues of this publication available to read online? Sounds like a very interesting addition to the history of science.

    • @Victor. Not many libraries have holdings of this journal. Worldcat (database of library catalogs) states that 8 libraries in the U.S (located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) have copies. As far as I know this journal has not yet been digitized. However, it is a perfect candidate for digitization, so it is only a matter of time before someone makes them available online.

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