In June 2003, Hearst Publications ceased publishing one of my favorite magazines.
Victoria offered no in-depth journalism on the events of our world, its pages contained no celebrity profiles nor was it linked to any celebrity, and it offered no treatises on the state of the economy.
It was gracious and simple, filled with beautiful photographs and the simple stories of female entrepreneurs living their dreams of design, travel, floral, food, art, gardening and books. Every year there was an issue devoted to England, France and Italy, but also many treasures found stateside. It even featured a multi-page spread of Edith Wharton’s The Mount.
My sister Jen and I treated each other to this magazine every year. We fantasized about taking one of its excursions, (Literary England was on tops on our list.) settling instead for a more affordable trip to Washington, D.C.
The editors would find delightful old homes and gardens open for public touring. They would find and feature odd little streets filled with character as well as the obligatory, welcoming café. One January issue was devoted to all things white (and had me lusting for an oatmeal-colored cashmere throw).
Each issue would give me ideas for my own garden, some of which I tried, others of which I had always meant to try. But I felt peaceful thumbing the pages and reading the pithy stories. And in my hectic life that was worth double its cover price.
I found articles about Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope and his modern-day writerly ancestor, Joanna Trollope. I picked up great biographies of Elizabeth I and read about modern-day women like myself who were keeping traditions both grand and simple alive.
I’ve yet to find a magazine that replaces Victoria. Make no mistake, I read many magazines, including those for meatier information and those for fluff, but I miss the peacefulness of reading Victoria.