Page:American Journal of Sociology Volume 11.djvu/537
THE LITERARY INTERESTS OF CHICAGO S 21
The Current was the creation of Edgar L. Wakeman, a brilliant newspaper man. Magazinedom is a kingdom of heaven of which many newspaper men, in Chicago as elsewhere, often fondly dream. Mr. Wakeman's venture stands as one of the most conspicuous efforts to get over the wall. As Chicago corre- spondent for the newspaper of Colonel Henry Watterson, Mr. Wakeman had, by the use of postal cards which he sent out to prominent people, saying, "You will be interested in such and such a number of the Louisville Courier," attracted much atten- tion to his work in a paper that allows scope for individuality. Both in promotion and character the Current was sensational. In an early number the Current declared that it was "the weekly, literary, news, and family journal of our time." Its ambitious ideal was stated as follows: "The Current is yet a model of brevity and does every week what the pretentious magazines aim to do once a month."
While a family journal, the Current was far above the plane of the " family-story " type of papers in literary quality. Its con- tents had distinct literary merit. And yet they were not of the classic character approached in such a magazine as the Lakeside Monthly. It was a magazine of popular literature. It may with approximate accuracy be listed as the first of that type undertaken in Chicago. And by Mr. Forrest Crissey, the western editor for two current eastern magazines of the popular literature type, its career of five years is rated as the most significant of efforts at periodical publishing in Chicago prior to those of the present decade. Its popular character is to be seen by dipping into a file at the Public Library. For example, a serial story by E. P. Roe, entitled " An Original Belle," is to be found in its pages.
The field from which Mr. Wakeman gathered serials, short stories, poems, and articles was not confined to the city limits, nor by the boundaries of the Middle West, nor yet by those of America. The management of the Current was the first among Chicago publishers to seek manuscripts from England. While not so well favored with results as has been the editor of the Red Book of the present day, the effort shows a metropolitan breadth approached by Chicago publishers in the eighties.