Over the weekend, a powerhouse group of authors and academics gathered at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the school’s literary quarterly Salmagundi. Among those attending the Sept. 25-27 event were NYU professor Anthony Appiah, The New Yorker staff writer James Wood and Honor Moore, director of the graduate non-fiction writing program at The New School.
The highly respected publication was launched in 1965 by Robert Boyers. Per a write-up on Grid Saratoga by Thomas Dimopoulos, the seed money for the publication was unusual, to say the least. As a child in Brooklyn, Boyers made it through puberty with his alto voice intact and sang at weddings, bar mitzvahs and parties, earning coin for his performance of religious songs:
“I knew nothing about money and my father, who was a working man, handled all of this when I was a child,” explains Boyers. “When I was 21, my parents gave me the money I had earned singing all of those years. It was about $25,000 – which was quite a bit of money in 1963. Serious money. It was a fortune. In those days you could have come here to Saratoga and bought a rather substantial house on North Broadway with that kind of money. I decided to start a magazine.”
His parents were horrified. Salmagundi was born.
“I was going to graduate school at NYU in Greenwich Village and I worked part-time at Barnes and Noble – the big store on 18th Street and Fifth Avenue. Each day when I got out of work, I’d walk down Fifth Avenue to graduate school past the Salmagundi Club, so that name was in my head,” recalls Boyers.
This seems almost preposterous, but back at that time, there was also a kick knacks store on the Upper East Side called the Salmagundi Shop. Fifty years later, Boyers is still editor of the magazine. Plenty more wonderful details in the Grid Saratoga piece; read the rest here.
[Image via: skidmore.edu]