They were, as little magazinist Gelett Burgess noted, a medium of "personal expression" (19 emphasis added).
Influential little magazinist, Walter Blackburn Harte, for example, took a middle ground, arguing that a distinctive American literature would combine the "audacity and rebellion of America's new generation" with avant-garde European trends ("A Resume").
Indeed, the practice of changing monthly covers on magazines, initiated by graphic artist and little magazinist Will Bradley, was prevalent in little magazines before becoming standard industry practice in the twentieth century (Koch 36).
These producers of and contributors to little magazines, whom I call little magazinists, were born into and came of age in a period that marked a transition from genteel to progressive values and the rise of a professional-managerial class that included doctors, lawyers, teachers, medical men, engineers, architects, corporate managers, and government workers, as well as an increasingly professionalized cadre in a number of literary, artistic, and intellectual domains, including journalists, writers, editors, advertising men and women, and commercial artists.
It was this social background that informed the little magazinists of this period, many of whom were not, as were most of their modernist counterparts, part of the literary and artistic elite.
Although these publications were often initially based around local and regional coteries, little magazinists aimed to extend their network nationally and, in some cases, internationally, in ways that exceeded their more insular and elitist modernist counterparts.
Scrapbooking and amateur journalism were popular middle-class pastimes in the period when little magazinists were coming of age, regarded as a means of self-culture and self-improvement and an appropriately genteel form of self-expression (Helfland; Garvey; Tucker, Ott, and Buckler; Good; Harris; Spencer).
A number of newspapermen, for example, were also little magazinists, including popular Pittsburgh newspaper columnist, Erasmus Wilson, whose little magazine, The Quiet Observer, took its title from his column, and Philadelphia journalist, Louis N.
Little magazinists were cultural custodians and, in the case of periodicals of protest, agents for social change for a new, young, progressive generation that constituted the emerging professional-managerial class.
These styles came naturally to a number of little magazinists, especially those associated with periodicals of protest, many of whom were clergymen, political spellbinders, teachers, and public lecturers.