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NH Troubadour Sings Again

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LITERARY LIONS

It’s back – singing the praises of an ideal New Hampshire. It’s the Troubadour magazine. You have to be older than a Baby Boomer to remember the days when this colorful publication offered only the most upbeat views of the Granite State. But can a romantic vision survive in a cynical age?

 

 

NH TROUBADOUR IS BLAST FROM THE PAST

The original diminutive New Hampshire Troubadour magazine was born in 1931 when Depression was on the doorstep and governments were willing to invest in promoting a brighter day for NH. Supported by State Planning and Development Commission, the proto-tourism council, Troubadour was a 16-page color magazine only six inches high, more a brochure by today’s standards.

nhtroubadour01.jpgIf you read only the Troubadour from 1931-1951, you would think New Hampshire was Camelot. The magazine featured all the New England stereotypes, again and again – colorful leaves, covered bridges, ancient barns, maple syrup, snow capped hills, golden ponds, colonial homes and, now and then, a glimpse of the state’s tiny seacoast. This lyrical monthly sang the praises of New Hampshire beautiful – hoping to "brand" the region, lure in tourists, attract fresh residents and build new businesses.

The old Troubadour died 20 years later in November 1951. We have here a copy of that final issue in our files. The editor announces that the Portsmouth-based monthly would cease publication to be replaced in December 1951 by a newer, larger, New Hampshire Profiles.

VISIT TROUBADOUR web site here

nhtroubadour03.jpgProfiles was warmly greeted by readers, although never a major financial success. To create Profiles, the original publishers not only took on Troubadour subscribers, but also curtailed their own regional magazine, The Shoreliner. The new Profiles was a blend of the two with a touch of Yankee magazine thrown in. According to one source, Profiles publishers quickly found themselves $80,000 in debt due to pre-paid subscriptions. (12,000 Troubadour subscribers at 50 cents per year were now owed copies of NH Profiles at $3 per year). NH Profiles survived into the 1980s under a series of owners, then expired.

According to editor Mike DeBlasi, the new NH Troubadour will not face such problems. Supported by The Finlay Foundation, it accepts no advertising. Each month 50,000 copies are mailed free to NH residents. Another 20,000 are distributed to every NH library, historical society, state legislator, school, and to every 4th grader and 4th grade teacher in the state. The magazine includes poetry, patriotic and town profiles, reminiscences, scenic photos, artwork, and recipes.

DeBlasi says: "It is ‘feel-good’ news and recollections---a welcome diversion from some of the harsh difficulties and seriousness of everyday life. In short, we could all use a little dose of the Troubadour."   -- JDR

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