Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Booster Magazine - Part 1

"We like to boost, and of course to begin with we are going to boost ourselves."
-- Editoral of The Booster, Sept. 1937


Henry Miller, Alfred Perles and Lawrence Durrell became co-editors of a golfing magazine called The Booster, in 1937. They were given full creative freedom, as long as they devoted two pages of each issue to news relating to the American Golf And Country Club. They published their own work, plus that of Anais Nin and William Saroyan. By the third issue, nearly all of the original advertisers and subscribers had pulled out. After four issues, the magazine was renamed Delta (Durrell's suggestion); then, after three more issues, the publication met its demise.

(For a more complete story of The Booster, see--for example--Mary Dearborn's The Happiest Man Alive: A Biography Of Henry Miller, pp. 192-198. Also see Anais Nin's perspective.)

An original copy of the October 1937 issue (seen above) is currently available for $300 US from Powell's Books (from whom I borrowed the image). An original of the Dec. 1937/Jan. 1938 "Air Conditioned Womb" issue is also for sale for $248 US via AntiqBooks.

The entire series appears to have been re-printed in 1968 by the Johnson Reprint Corp (New York), though this seems equally difficult to track down. Biblion.com had this 8-volume set (signed by Miller, Durrell and Perles!) for sale. It sold for over $1200. I had to view a Google-cached version [from Feb. 2005] of their relevant web page to find these details:

"Original oatmeal cloth upper board titled in brown, spine brown and gilt....Not issued in dustjacket.; First Book Edition. 100 copies signed by Miller, Durrell, and Perles....Early issues retain many of the adverts for waterproof clothing etc."

Some related, curious ephemera:
1) A page of Miller personal stationary (unused) with the header: "The Booster, founded by the American Country Club of France" with Miller's address listed (18, Villa Seurat). [item #242 from PBA Galleries]
2) Another page of Booster stationary, this one written on by Miller (circa 1938/39). In this letter, he rejects a poetry submission by Derek Savage, telling him they're keeping poetry to a minimum. [found on a Google-cached PBA site].

P.S. The listing for the 2nd letter (above) mentions another letter for Mr. Savage. Henry writes to him this time as editor for Phoenix lit mag: ""I don't give a fuck what a man's opinions are if he writes well, writes creatively. As editor of the Villa Seurat Series I am on the look-out for new writers of value-- but where are they?...I hope to do something of Dylan Thomas' some time, and I would like to find more young writers like him. I am open to anything and everything, in any language, from any camp...."

That's enough for now. More on The Booster later.

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