Something wonderful under the bed - craft magazines archived
February 9, 2020 7:50 PM   Subscribe

Something Under The Bed is a comprehensive bibliography collection of crafting magazines. Akamoraih's website started when in 2003 she went looking for details on a doll crafting magazine at the Library of Congress and 'I was shocked to discover that not only does the Library of Congress not archive a copy of all periodicals, it isn't even aware of most craft magazines. I felt betrayed! When I queried, I was informed that "they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies."' Outrage became action, sparking a ongoing archiving of craft periodicals from soft toys to tatting to chainmail. Akamoraih estimates she'll have catalogued her own collection by 2025... maybe.
posted by dorothyisunderwood (21 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Discovered while hunting my own white whale, Golden Hands, and many hours since lost to browsing.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:50 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Nice. I found a 1970's copy of 'Doll News: United Federation of Doll Clubs. Inc.' on the cover are dolls of Nixon and chairman Mao.
The oddest publication.
posted by clavdivs at 8:07 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Workbasket!! <3
posted by Melismata at 8:15 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

a true hero.
posted by cendawanita at 8:57 PM on February 9

they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies.

Jeebus. I mean I guess "they don't concern themselves with hobbies" is sort of defensible, but to single out "women's hobbies" is just awful. And very cool someone is doing this, so much of value is printed only in niche newsletters and mags.
posted by maxwelton at 9:45 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]

This archive of crafting magazines is very neat, I'm definitely bookmarking for later reference.

The "they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies" statement is awful. However, I'm wondering if the awfulness of this statement is disguising a misunderstanding. It is not well known by the public, but one of the largest sources of works in the Library of Congress is the Federal "mandatory deposit" requirement, which for more than 200 years has required U.S. publishers, no matter how small, to send copies of their works (at their own expense) to the Library of Congress. Section 407 of the Copyright Act states that if a work is published in the United States, the copyright owner or the owner of the exclusive right of publication must affirmatively deposit two copies of the "best edition" of that work with the Library within three months after publication. It is rare, but the Library of Congress does occasionally threaten publishers with fines for failing to comply with the law.

So it is possible the terrible "don't concern themselves with women's hobbies" phrasing was intended to mean something like "The Library of Congress does not task their lawyers with tracking down the small publishers of hobby periodicals in order to threaten them with massive fines for failing to send us copies of their magazine issues."
posted by RichardP at 11:00 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]

"they don't concern themselves with women's hobbies"

Jeebus. I mean I guess "they don't concern themselves with hobbies" is sort of defensible, but to single out "women's hobbies" is just awful.

Yeah, I feel like that might have been the general sentiment conveyed, and at least it was the message akamoraih took from it, but I'm not confident this is their actual verbatim statement rather than a rephrasing.
posted by trig at 2:46 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

That said, this is a very cool site.
posted by trig at 2:52 AM on February 10

She put that explicitly in quotes, explains in several places the conversation as the starting point for this archive because of the specific dismissal of an entire genre because it is women-dominated.

It’s interesting that her experience of discrimination is immediately dismissed as an exaggeration, when this is easily checked - her page of Priscilla publications for example is several dozen. The LoC has less than 10.

These aren’t and weren’t small publishers with tiny readerships. These books, pamphlets and magazines are widely read and distributed. They aren’t niche except by the quality of being largely written and read by women.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 4:40 AM on February 10 [11 favorites]

It's in quotes, but it's not attributed, and there's no date and time on which the interview took place. Just putting something in quotes does not make it a direct quote. I agree that women's hobbies are often dismissed, and also that this reads more as a summary or paraphrase than a direct quote. Both things can be true.

There is no doubt sexism at play, but also a collecting policy that affects all small magazines; I did a quick check for some of my dad's hobby periodicals past and not all are represented. Both things can be true.

People often misunderstand what the Library of Congress is and does, and that's largely the basis for the "outrage" described here. Here is the place to look up the (relatively few) periodicals the LoC carries. The collection of craft magazines is still a really valuable and interesting effort apart from the framing of outrage.
posted by Miko at 5:10 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

I doubt it’s verbatim, since it’s they don’t, and it’s unlikely someone from the LoC would refer to the org in the third (?) person. Anyway, this is a bit of a derail- the site is magnificent, however it got started.
posted by zamboni at 6:05 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

This is amazing, and clearly an effort of epic personal passion.

I do wish that passion belonged to someone with more webdev skills or access to them. There could be a lot more useful and detailed information in this bibliography if contributions from others could be made more easily. Imagine Ravelry-like databases for all the books, instructions and patterns for all these different crafts. It would be utterly swoonworthy.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:53 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

Reminds me of The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt, in which the livelyhood of the protagonist's mother is transcribing the contents of old hobby magazines into a database.
posted by beagle at 8:45 AM on February 10

I often pick up old crochet magazines and booklets I find at flea markets and garage sales. I'll have to check through my collection to see if there's anything I can contribute. Unlikely since there's so much cataloged here already!

And squee at the Elizabeth Hiddleson bibliography. I haven't worked the Pretty Baby Doily of hers that was reprinted with revisions and charts in a 2012 magazine, but have been eyeing it for years. Someday!
posted by asperity at 9:01 AM on February 10

I'm sure men's hobbies are instead classified as "interests."
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:26 AM on February 10

I'm sure men's hobbies are instead classified as "interests."

You can visit the link above and see exactly how they're classified, and no.
posted by Miko at 10:01 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

I don't know what you are referring to.
posted by tiny frying pan at 11:30 AM on February 10

Both your links go to the same place for me, Miko -- it just seems to be the front page of the periodicals listings for the LoC. It doesn't provide any information on how things are classified, and the search times out when I try to use it.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:19 PM on February 10

My apologies, I was pawing around a lot of LoC links and seem to have misplaced the one I provided which was a classification summary. However, you can turn up magazine content using the search bar and even find a list of all periodical subjects.

What I'm reacting to is the lazy and necessarily negative slamming of "oh and I bet they don't even...." That's not fair. Either look, and describe any actual bias you find there, or don't assume the negative and take presumptive swats without first being sure of your information. We have enough of this going on around us. I dislike seeing it here.
posted by Miko at 12:52 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

I second her rage at "women's hobbies?!?!" Good job.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:06 PM on February 10

Similar effort, archiving weaving-related publications:
posted by PennD at 3:10 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

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