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Sunday, May 16, 2021

What a gift: August 1912 issue of Grinstead's Magazine!

Grinstead's Magazine, August 1912
Click on any image to enlarge

A few weeks ago, I received a telephone call from a kind reader who lives in Comfort, Texas. She told me she had some old issues of Grinstead’s Graphic, and if I was interested in them, I could have them. I was definitely interested, and so I hopped in my truck and headed to Comfort.
J. E. Grinstead, a Kerrville newspaperman, author, politician, and publisher, produced two different magazines during his long career here. His first was called Grinstead’s Magazine and was published from around 1912 to 1920, though sporadically; his second, Grinstead’s Graphic, was published monthly from 1921 to 1925. The issues were written and produced by J. E. Grinstead alone, and featured commentary about local politics, a fictional story or two, and occasionally a poem.
In an age before television (or much radio), such a magazine would have been a welcome diversion, and Grinstead had subscribers all over the country, including the diaspora of Kerr County, folks living far from their homeland.
J. E. Grinstead moved to Kerrville in 1899 seeking health for his wife, Sarah Frances Bay Grinstead, who was ill with tuberculosis. The couple had two young boys, Grady and Doyle. 
The couple purchased the Kerrville Paper and renamed it the Kerrville Mountain Sun.
Sarah died within a few months of the Grinsteads’ arrival here, a few days after Christmas, 1899.
Within a year, J. E. Grinstead married a Kerrville widow, Gertrude Wright. They had three children: a daughter, Bessie, and two sons, Jesse and Pam.
I was thrilled to get the copies of Grinstead’s Graphic, of course. But among the magazines is one I’d never seen before: the August 1912 issue of Grinstead’s Magazine.
Grinstead is often called a ‘booster,’ who published glowing articles about Kerr County. This 1912 issue is entirely devoted to praising Kerr County as a place to live and work. It’s basically a 96-page advertisement for our communities.
It’s a blunt advertisement.
“This magazine is not published by any man or set of men who desire to exploit the people of other sections for the purpose of separating them from their coin. Here is a county containing eleven hundred square miles, and having a population of a little more than five thousand. There are not enough people here, and those who are here want more people to help them build up a prosperous modern community. There are no town lot auctions, nobody is offering to sell ten acres of land that will pay for itself and leave a handsome bank balance the first year.”
He also writes “We need more people in this country, but they must be good people. One who is an undesirable citizen elsewhere will be very lonesome in this community.”
And also “Kerr County is no land of dreams. To prosper here you have to get busy, but you can get along better on the same amount of work here than you can in most countries.”
Gentle Reader, you know I love old Kerr County photographs. This issue of Grinstead’s Magazine is full of them, showing places, events, and some of the prominent people of Kerr County in 1912. He spends a lot of pages describing the natural beauty of our area – and provides many photographs showing the river, scenic views, agricultural subjects, and images of hunting and fishing.
He paints an enticing picture, hoping to encourage good folks to move here.
I’m very thankful to the kind reader who gave me these historic magazines, sharing them with all of us.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who was surprised to learn this August 1912 issue of Grinstead’s Magazine was printed about 30 feet from his desk at his family’s downtown print shop; Grinstead’s office once stood between our print shop and Grape Juice. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times May 15, 2021

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