January Genesis

There hasn't always been a January issue of Martha Stewart Living, as many of you know. Prior to 2001, this coldest of cold months was sandwiched with the December issue, incorporating various winter themes into one, big, shiny holiday issue. I am very thankful, these days, to have a January issue, separate from the holiday issue since it allows for the exploration and celebration of winter activities, themes and projects that are not connected to holiday fare.

For those of us who collect every issue of the magazine, various January themes have become evident over the years: breads, beds and closets among them. The January issue of Martha Stewart Living began in 2001 with an anniversary issue, celebrating 10 years of Martha Stewart Living content. The following year, the January content became more evident and focused. The first few years of its appearance on newsstands, the issue paid homage to celebrations with articles on anniversary traditions, birthday cakes and card-making.

There have been ten January issues of Martha Stewart Living, two of them anniversary issues. Next year's issue will be the 20th anniversary issue!

I also began noticing a trend towards the subtropical with articles on entertaining or gardening in California or Florida, visits to pineapple farms, desserts made of tropical fruits or articles on caring for tropical plants. This was likely an editorial decision to not only incorporate a sense of American regionalism but also to provide a sense of escape for the bulk of Martha Stewart's readers, who are mostly based in the frigid northeast and midwest. (The cooking articles also played up the availability of seasonal produce, much of it from the southern states, something I've always deeply admired about the magazine's food editorials.)

Gradually, the January issue became more about 'the comforts of home' with a focus on clutter-clearing and cleansing, healthy eating and organizing: a clean-slate approach to living. Closet or storage organization is a staple feature of the January issue now (pantries, etc.) as are articles on bedrooms, whether it's making or collecting quilts or redecorating and updating your nest for a cozier night's sleep.

I've always loved the January issue of Martha Stewart Living. It's slim and clean and so refreshing after the baroque December issue with its rich recipes and glamorous crafts.
There are two January issues that are 'must-haves' for collectors: the 10th anniversary issue (2001) and the 15th anniversary issue (2006.) Anniversary issues of any magazine tend to be more collectible. The 10th anniversary issue has a wonderful retrospective of the previous ten years of the publication with Martha Stewart Living trivia and history. The 15th anniversary is less of a retrospective, but does have a compilation of 15 years of Good Things, the best seasonal cakes and a great article on scrapbooking. Both are available as back issues through Martha Stewart Living or on eBay.


Heather said...

I'm a clippings collector. I've never had the space to collect and properly store the magazines but I've always 'clipped' - the challenge remains of course in the way I can access these clippings which are currently in various places around my apartment. sigh.


Heather, for clippings, the best thing to do is to organize them in a binder (with clear plastic page folders) or in a scrapbook. It takes a little time, but it's well worth it. I only save Martha magazines, no other publications get saved. They all get clipped and I have several folders (organized by theme) in a filing cabinet for easy reference: flowers, bedrooms, living rooms, weddings, gardens, etc. I have a folder of articles about Martha, too.

CrimsonBruin said...

You must be extremely organized! Do you have Martha's preview issue from 1990? I do! I let me subscription lapse for a few years because hubby complained about the space they took up. I started back subscribing, though and I'm happy!!


I'm pretty organized. I have every issue from 1995 onward, though not the premier issue. I just cannot bring myself to spend upwards of $100 for a magazine of any kind. And it goes so quickly whenever it's on eBay!

Helene said...

I've been a collector and usually find my issues in Thrift Stores or used book sales.

I organize them the way you do in plastic pages.

Martha mags are the ones I keep intact.

I have the two you are saying that we should have. I'm still missing 02-05-09 January issues.

I finally had a chance to watch the show where you were on. You did great. It was nice watching you. I watched it online since be don't have the show in Canada anymore.

Have you talked to Martha about it? We really want the show back in Canada.

Pru said...

Andrew, I am confused (it doesn't take much I can assure you!) I can order back issues from Martha Stewart Living? and they send them for a fee? It would save hours spent on Ebay if that is the case.



Pru, Yes at the front of each issue you will see the address and/or phone number you can call to request back issues. Shipping overseas is $5.50 per issue, I believe. They also list the issues that are no longer available. (The first issue, obviously, is not available!) Look on both pages of the magazine 'credits' at the front of the magazine, at the bottom of the page, to find the info.

Anonymous said...

I have every issue of Martha Stewart Living (and Everyday Food) and for a time I started to buy extra issues because I wanted to collect them and not wrinkle an issue by reading it! But then the collection was getting to be too much, so I'm back to the single issue. They've moved with me 9 times...2 of which were over 2,000 miles!

Lisa Soares said...

Not sure why my comment came up with the name "6p00d8341dfdb153ef "...sorry about that. I logged in with my name and Typepad.

Ramona said...

Wow Lisa that is amazing - every issue! I started collecting in 95 and have managed to buy back to 93. I get such pleasure from them. At the moment I'm reading all the Augusts because its summer here in Australia so I'm looking at the recipes. Andre the two anniversary issue are actually on my bedside table at the moment - I forgot how great they were! Do you sort your collection by year or by month?

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,
I agree about the wonderful recipes. The January issue with the blue draped four poster bed has a really wonderful recipe for lasagna in it. It is lasagna 101 and it tastes so gorgeous.
All the best, Irene