Magazine Museum Fascinates Lovers of the Printed Word

Robert Katzman loves the printed word. His Magazine Museum in Skokie, Illinois, a North Chicago suburb, is just one of four back issue magazine stores in the country. It carries more than 100,000 newspapers and magazines dating back to the 1500s. The unique inventory also includes 50,000 posters (many featuring movie stars), and 200 miniature flags. He also proudly displays the books he’s authored at the front counter.

Customers who set foot in the Museum are astounded by all the tightly-packed shelves and wall hangings of memorabilia. Katzman personally walks the aisles and locates what customers request. He’s an independent-minded, thoughtful person, as you’ll discover in the interview below.

Tell us about how you decided to go into the vintage magazine business?

I was interested in history beginning with the death of John F. Kennedy when I was 13. After leaving home at 14, in 1964, I began collecting historic newspapers. Twenty-one years later, I opened my first Magazine Memories in downtown Chicago, but the building burned down seven weeks later. I reopened it in Morton Grove, Illinois five years later.

What is your professional background?

I was self-employed at 13 (try reading one of my books and you’ll quickly get it), and have remained so for 48 years. I have owned various businesses, including bookstores and a deli. I think I have about two years of college, but that meant nothing to me.
Are you a history buff?

Always, even as a child.  Ever since I learned how my relatives in the Jewish Pale died, and even before that.

What periods fascinate you?

All of them.  I am self-educated and that never ends. As for subjects of interest,

I like military history, architecture, animation, many kinds of music and art.

Have you always been a collector?

Yes.
How many magazines do you have in stock, and what are some that come to mind?


140,000 periodicals that date back to 1576 (a British newspaper). Also, hundreds of magazines of critical reviews of films, publications on the history of Gay prejudice in publishing, Jewish history, Black history, Native American, Persia, Pre-historic man, etc.

Other examples are:

Scientific American, 1887
Time, 1923
Newsweek, 1934
Life, 1936
Vogue, 1938
Mad,1955
Saturday Evening Post,1900
Atlantic, 1860
Downbeat, 1960s
Penthouse, 1970
New Yorker, 1930
Cosmopolitan, 1930s
Evergreen, 1967
Interview, 1987
Gourmet, 1950s
TV Guides,1950s
Look, 1930s
Rolling Stone, 1969
Car magazines, 1950
Photography, 1950s

What is the price range of your magazines?


$5 to $15,000. The one that sells for $15,000 is the first Playboy. I have periodicals from about 20 foreign countries, mostly foreign Playboys, but overwhelmingly, what I sell is printed in the U.S.

Where do you get these magazines from?

There is no “where.”  Everywhere.  From my infinite buying trips around North America, and some by train through Europe. People call me after someone dies, but I don’t get them from estate sales. When my fellow dealers died, however, I sometimes bought their inventories or whatever I could afford.
If a customer has a special request for a magazine, can you locate it for him?

Very often. I’m the only one who was willing to hunt before the Recession and I still do it.
Describe some of the most whimsical customers who have come into your store to buy?

One woman bought all five of my books which I thought was pretty gutsy.

You are an author. What genres of writing interest you?

I am a non-fiction autobiographical writer.  Chicago is often the setting because I live here and always have.  But I’ve traveled a lot and write about that, too.

What titles have you authored?

You can log onto the following sites  to read my stories, poetry, books and reviews that have appeared:

http://www.DifferentSlants.com  (my stories and poetry).

http://www.FightingWordspubco.com (my books and reviews of them).  If one clicks on any of the book covers, a review will appear along with my response.

At your store, you also sell miniature flags and posters. Tell us about the uniqueness of these collections, and what the flags and posters sell for?

I am the last place between Wisconsin and Indiana, I believe, to sell flags from all countries, about 200 countries, selling for $5 each, and the handmade wooden bases are $1 each. All my posters are priced at $5 and $10, and some are from various countries in Europe.

What are your goals beyond your business?

My own objective is to escape my Paper Prison, which fascinates the world but just short of enough money, you know? My heart is in my writing, and my dream is to find an agent whose personality meshes with mine, and one who would still see the uniqueness of marketing an unclassifiable coot like me as a storyteller/poet.

I also want to publish the rest of my completed books, making 10 in all. I want to manufacture T-shirts with quotes from the books. I want to make YouTube videos where I read short poems while looking directly at the camera. I want to publish my two children’s books.

I want to time-travel, too, which in all reality is more likely than any of the above happening. But I know that people, middle-aged women in particular, connect in a visceral way with what I write about and that there’s a (cleverly hidden) big market for a square peg like me out there–somewhere.

Where is your store located, what is your website address, and how may people contact you?

Robert M. Katzman
The Magazine Museum

4906 Oakton St.

Skokie, IL 60077

http://www.MagazineMuseum.com

(847) 677-9444

oldmags@MagazineMuseum.com

Store Twitter@MagazineMuseum

My Books Twitter@ChicagoKatzman

Copyright 2012 by Charlotte Digregorio.

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About Charlotte Digregorio

I publish books. I have marketed and/or published 55 titles. These books are sold in 46 countries to bookstores, libraries, universities, professional organizations, government agencies, and book clubs. I am also the author of five non-fiction books: Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All; Everything You Need to Know About Nursing Homes; You Can Be A Columnist; Beginners' Guide to Writing & Selling Quality Features; and Your Original Personal Ad. The first four books have been adopted as supplemental texts at universities throughout the U.S., Canada, India, Pakistan, and Catalonia. They are sold in 43 countries, and are displayed in major metropolitan cultural centers. These books have been reviewed, recommended, and praised by hundreds of critics, librarians, and professors worldwide. I am also the author of a poetry collection: "Shadows of Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu." Two of my books have been Featured Selections of Writer's Digest Book Club. I am regularly interviewed by major print, radio, and television organizations throughout the U.S. I have signed books at libraries, chain bookstores, and university bookstores. I was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry. I have won thirty-three poetry awards. I have been nominated and listed in "The International Authors and Writers Who's Who" in Cambridge, England and in the "Who's Who In Writers, Editors & Poets U.S./Canada." I am an internationally-published haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, haibun, free verse, acrostic, cinquain, etheree, and sestina poet. My poetry has been translated into six languages, and I have done poetry readings at a variety of bookstores, libraries, art centers, cafes, tea houses, and galleries. My poetry has been displayed at supermarkets, art galleries, libraries, apparel and wine shops, banks, botanic gardens, restaurants, and on public transit. I've been interviewed on cable television about my poetry. I also hosted my own radio program, "Poetry Beat," on public broadcasting. My poetry has been featured on several library web sites including those of Shreve Memorial Library in Louisiana and Cornell University's Mann Library. My background includes positions as a feature editor and columnist at daily newspapers and as a magazine editor. I have been a public relations director for a non-profit organization. I was also self-employed as a communications/public relations/marketing consultant with 111 clients in 16 states. In other professional areas, I have been on university faculties, teaching French, Italian, and Writing. I regularly give special lectures and workshops on publishing, journalism, publicity, poetry, and creativity to business and professional groups, and to those at writer's conferences, universities, literary festivals, non-profit organizations, and to libraries. I have been a writer-in-residence at universities. There have been about 400 articles written about me in the media. I have served on the Boards of writers and publishers organizations. My positions have included Board Secretary of the Northwest Association of Book Publishers. I served for five years as Midwest Regional Coordinator of The Haiku Society of America. Currently, I am Second Vice President of the Haiku Society.
This entry was posted in Art, Authors, Autobiography, Books, business, Creativity, Enrepreneur, Flags, History Buffs, Interview, Journalism, Journalists, Magazine Writers, Magazines, Memorabilia, Museum, Newspaper Writers, Newspapers, Non-Fiction, Periodicals, Poetry, Posters, Publishing, Reading, Short Story Writers, Store for Writers, Writing, Writing Books and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Magazine Museum Fascinates Lovers of the Printed Word

  1. Very informative. I have been looking for a back issue of Kungfu with my friend on the cover. I will be calling Robert tomorrow.

  2. Loyal Post reader in 60’s. Humor and cartoons – featured the best of the best.

  3. Robert M. Katzman says:

    Carl,
    I ship all over the world. if you want to talk, call me after 10 am (Chicago time) at (847)-677-9444
    I’ll be happy to help you if you wish.

    Bob Katzman

  4. dobiemaxwell says:

    Bob Katzman is a talented writer and interesting person. I send all good vibes his way always.

  5. Charlie Newman says:

    Nice piece, Charlotte.
    Bob deserves no less.
    A real mensch in a disappearing field.

  6. Lois Barr says:

    Cool article, Charlotte and Bob.
    Lois Barr

  7. Robert M. Katzman says:

    Ok, after thinking about it, Charlotte, since it could relate to so many people, my most recent poem on my DifferentSlants.com poem/story blog is Friendship: The Sixth Essence

    Many people think they understand the concept of friendship, the pleasures, and the obligations. But most people don’t. Real friendships allow emotional intensity and the security of confidence, as well as someone to call when your world is ending. When that happens, few who know about your grief will pick up the phone and take your call, respond to your plea. The question is, if the situation is reversed, would you?

    My stories in my book & online also deal with the trials of friendship and the costs. It is a complex matter and not simply about dinner and a movie. Real friendships are–eventually–about life and death and keeping your word. Most people would not want that responsibility. I have accepted it.

    I see the concept as one of honor and decency. Someone to be yourself with, without a mask. What is that worth?

    I consider my Friendship poem to be something highly refined after decades of thinking about it and writing about it. I invite people who want to know more about me and what I believe to read it. If that piece connects with you, so will the others.

    Sorry for the delay, Charlotte. I like to think things over.

    Bob Katzman

    • Bob,

      I just received your comment about Bruce Matteson that you had trouble posting. I’m posting it here, as that is the only place I can post it. Thanks for writing. I hope the followers of your post read this, and in turn, read the interview post with Bruce:

      Charlotte,
      I tried twice and no luck, so will you please post this for me? I do
      want to say something about him:

      Bruce Matteson is a remarkable person, carpenter, poet, cook and
      friend.

      It is one thing to build something, but a true carpenter also knows
      how to safely deconstruct something in the original meaning of that
      word before the writers got a hold of it.

      He is a natural story-teller, obvious soon after you meet him, but
      especially over dinner. Alcohol isn’t necessary to open the gates and
      see inside of Bruce’s complicated mind. No one will ever have time to
      explore all his mental nooks and crannies.

      He doesn’t see much gray. Good, bad,and fabulous would be enough to
      classify his world of food, tools, wood, women, writing and people
      (separate from people).

      He is a gourmet chef and makes garlic bread an art. Sure laugh, but
      not after you’ve taken a bite of his crusty Italian bread with a
      mysterious combination of crunchy ingredients atop it. Anyone can
      learn to make a great steak, but garlic bread? I don’t think so.

      Bruce and I met because his Jewish sister Rana (it’s complicated…) met
      us when we joined her temple B’nai St. Patrick and thought he and I
      would understand each other. She is a good judge of people. My life
      and my family’s have been enriched by his concern and choice to become
      involved when a situation requires it.

      in Jewish, we say a kind Irish person like Bruce is a “mensch”, or a
      good person in the sense of a “Good Christian”(but we said it first).
      Or in his partially ethnic past tongue: Duine Maith, (in Gaelic).

      Shabbat Shalom, Charlotte and Bruce. I’m delighted you decided to
      interview him, Charlotte. He deserves positive attention.

      Sent with love,
      Bob

  8. Pingback: Different Slants » Depression is Time Askew…by Robert M. Katzman

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