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Guide to Nature Magazine

Introduction to Finding Aid

Guide to Nature Magazine,  prospectus coverTHE GUIDE TO NATURE Magazine was founded by the Agassiz Association in 1908. Originally located in Stamford, the magazine moved soon to "Arcadia" in Sound Beach. The last issue was published in December 1935.

There was a prospectus in May of 1908 (see image at right) with a formal announcement and a description of the Agassiz Association. The first issue was published in April 1908.

For the announcement and the magazine's main aim, nature, see below. There is also a Q&A section, such as on the care of alligators (June 1910 issue), as well as poems.

Of interest to the Stamford Historical Society and its constituents are an illustrated real estate section and articles and references to Stamford, mostly advertisements, obituaries, etc.

Thus, it is a font of information, much of which is listed in the finding aid. Here is an example, the aid for June 1910:

Picture & article Shippan Clubs
Homes of Jevne & Parsons
Crane property
New Alhambra Theater
Case Acres, home of Mrs. Thos. S. Gray, Newfield
Sammis farm, Newfield
Article in regards to Maria Mitchell, Vassar
Davenport home, 1775

Unfortunately, there are no tables of content; thus the researcher has to leaf through a magazine, even with the finding aid. But there are dividends, such as little tidbits not listed in the finding aid, for example these notes in the real estate section as to who bought what:

Real Estate Notes, June 1910

It also brings an unexpected bonus to the Photo Department: In the Real Estate section, there are photos of mansions, and a number of articles are illustrated. On request, such images can be scanned by the Stamford Historical Society, and prints thereof may be purchased.

Examples of such images can be viewed in the December 2001 Photo Selection

Guide to Nature, announcement about magazineWHAT THE AA MEANS.

The Agassiz Association stands for the study of nature from the student's point of view. It is the University and not the Kindergarten. Whether you are four or eighty-four it says, be an original investigator; see things for yourself; look into the thing, not into what has been written about the thing; what you find, not what someone tells you to find; begin with nature: in the words of the great scientist from whom we take our name, "Study nature, not books." The Association does not stand for the Kindergarten notion which says, "I will show you how to play the game; then we all will play it." It does not tell you to study this or that and to do it this month, regardless of the fact that "this" or "that" may be totally inaccessible to you.

The AA has no publishing house to advertise, no list of general nature study books to sell, no cuts to be selected from its list of publications and saying, "Study these things this month," but meaning, "Buy these books this month." The AA publishes its own Official journal or Bulletin when it is necessary, and has its own handbooks of instruction as to organization, the total income from the sales going to enlarge the field of its activity. It is to support no Institution. It does not delude its members into the belief that they may receive something for nothing. Its officers have no salary. They give their time and their labor, and are paid by thanks. It confers honors where it sees honors are especially due, but never with the ulterior designs of some Institution or periodical advertisement. There are no money dividends. It is an Association for mutual helpfulness, in which every member every Officer, every Councilor contributes time or money, or both, to further the original study of nature. The AA believes that there can be no higher occupation for the human mind and nothing more inspiring than the contemplation of some aspect of this beautiful world.

It frankly invites you and with no secondary motive to join its ranks, to help and to be helped, to give your time and your mite of money to help yourself and to help others, and to receive gratefully the assistance that others can give you.

In this matter of mutual helpfulness in the study of nature, by all ages and in all places, the AA is the oldest, most extensive and most efficient organization in existence. Its membership means aid; its honors mean merit; its study of nature means love for nature, and its onward course is ever true to its motto, "Per naturam ad Deum." On these principles, and to this end, it cordially invites you, if you are not already a Member, to become one, or to form a Chapter of Members. If you are a Member, it urges you to greater activity in extending its influence. The work of the AA was never more needed than in this age of artificiality, of the nervous stress and strain of the modern struggle for existence, of the tension of high keyed life, of intense competition, of financial fluctuations and of varying prosperity and adversity. Now more than ever there is a deep meaning in the words "back to nature," or better still, "keep anchored in nature."

logo of the Agassiz Society

More on Louis Agassiz, after whom the Agassiz Association was named.

Note: Stamford residents may find out more about the Agassiz Association on JSTOR, by accessing Ferguson Online Research Databases: Go to JSTOR and sign in with your library card number, then search for "Agassiz Association."

Finding Aid, Guide to Nature Magazine