American Mass-Market Magazines

By Alan Nourie; Barbara Nourie | Go to book overview
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John C. Calhoun and Henry Clay, it had by 1855 become the voice of the South. 18

DeBow shifted DeBow's focus according to conditions. When in the early 1850s he feared that abolitionists were threatening the existence of slavery, he published so many defenses of slavery that even he grew weary of the topic. 19 When in the middle of the 1850s the growing sectional controversy began to threaten the Union, he turned from economic defenses of the South to political ones. 20 When secession had been accomplished, he aimed at strengthening the economy of the Confederacy. 21 During the war, he managed to put out fourteen issues defending the Davis administration and boosting morale. 22 After the war, accepting the altered conditions, he devoted his magazine to the reestablishment of Southern prosperity. 23

DeBow was thwarted in this last goal too. Learning that his brother, Frank, was seriously ill in New Jersey, he rushed to his bedside. There he was stricken himself, with peritonitis, and died a week later, in February 1867. Frank, who had been the business manager for DeBow's, died the following month. 24

After DeBow's death, DeBow's declined rapidly. R. G. Barnwell, an agent, and Edwin Q. Bell, a staff member, continued DeBow's till 1868, when William MacCreary Burwell, a writer on economics, acquired the property and became editor. The magazine was suspended in 1870. Then in October 1879 L. Graham and Company took over, putting out four issues edited by Burwell, the last in June 1880. In 1884 the struggling Agricultural Review of New York acquired the magazine, but folded within the year. 25

The name James D. B. DeBow has since fallen into oblivion, no doubt because of DeBow's association with "dull," practical subjects and with actions in lost causes--slavery, secession, the Confederacy. 26 But for those seeking information on the Old South and its transformation by the war, DeBow's Review remains an indispensable source.


Notes
1.
Rollin Gustav Osterweis, Romanticism and Nationalism in the Old South ( Gloucester, Mass.: P. Smith, 1964), p. 26; Herman Clarence Nixon, "DeBow's Review," Sewanee Review, January-March 1931, p. 54; Ottis Clark Skipper, J. D. B. DeBow: Magazinist of the Old South ( Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1958), p. 215. Oriinally published in 1949, reprinted in 1964.
2.
Nixon, p. 54, 61.
3.
Frank Luther Mott, A History of American Magazines ( Cambridge, vol. 2:1850- 1865.: Harvard University Press, 1938), pp. 338-39; Skipper, p. 16.
4.
Edward Reinhold Rogers, "Four Southern Magazines" (Ph.D. diss., University of Virginia, 1902), pp. 20-21; Skipper, pp. 2-11.
5.
Skipper, pp. 12-15; W. D. Weatherford, James Dunwoody Brownson DeBow, Southern Sketches no. 3, ( Charlottesville, Virginia: Historical Publishing, 1935), pp. 9- 10.
6.
Mott, 2:339.

-97-

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