New Online!  Cacti & Other Succulents, Issue No. 1 from May 1989

Cacti & Other Succulents, Issue No. 1, May 1989
The first-ever print edition of The Amateurs’ Digest under its original name, Cacti & Other Succulents.

Now, here’s a real collector’s item:  Marina’s first-ever print edition of The Amateurs’ Digest under its original name, Cacti & Other Succulents.

This was a toughie to scan.  It took me as long to scan this 8-page first issue as it has taken me to scan some of her 40-page later issues.  The challenge is due to the fact that the only copies I could get of these early issues were trimmed and hard-bound into book format by a private collector.  Some article titles and most page numbers are cut off at the top.  I had to copy and paste certain things to complete each page.  Nonetheless, it was worth the effort to have the very first issue online at last from May of 1989.  The page size for this original Newsletter is also different from the later issues of The Amateurs’ Digest.

Whoever hard-bound these issues into volumes must have been an early subscriber.  A circular letter dated “April, 1989”.from “(Mrs.) Marina Welham” precedes the very first issue.  This is a great introduction to the origins of The Amateurs’ Digest.  It’s included with the scan of the first issue, and it reads:

Dear Fellow Hobbyist,

First of all, let me introduce myself.  I have been an AVID hobbyist for a number of years — still, however, very much classified in the ‘amateur hobbyist’ category.

Some months ago I wrote a short note in the American Cactus and Succulent Journal asking that other isolated cactophiles contact me.  To my delight some wonderful letters came ina nd I have made new and rewarding friends as a result.  The letters were circulated.  More friendships resulted.  Information, plants and seeds have eagerly been exchanged.  And for each one of us the chance to share with others has increased the joy of our hobby a hundred fold.

Now we feel the need to reach out a hand and try to enlarge our circle of hobbyist friends.

Trying to begin the publication and distribution of a brand new Newsletter to provide an INFORMATION EXCHANGE between hobbyists is no easy task and was not, I assure you, a decision made lightly.  Probably the one most significant reason I decided to go ahead iwth it was this recurring theme in most letters I received …

“I wasn’t quite sure if I were alone out there or not!”

To date a great deal of thought, time and effort and personal expense have gone into the preparation of the first issue.  This first issue is meant as a base on which to build future issues as Members begin to contribute because that is what this Newsletter is all about.  A means of communication.  You can ask questions, share information, buy and sell plants, etc., etc.

COS will be THE Newsletter FOR and BY amateur hobbyists and will be published six times a year.  Subscription rates are based on carefully calculated costs for printing and postage and DO NOT cover expenses to date or the extensive work that will do into editing, publishing and mailing it to you.

From a strictly business standpoint and so that you know to whom your subscription dollars go, as Editor I have an extensive business management and writing background.  I am originally from Montreal and have been resident of Victoria, B.C. for the past eleven years.

We would love to have you join us as a member of COS and will look forward to not only receiving your subscription but also to hearing from you with questions, comments, articles, drawings, photographs (black and white), etc.  Photos, by the way, will be returned if requested and if you provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

If for any reason — at any time — it becomes not feasible to continue publishing this Newsletter, the balance of your subscription which cannot be fulfilled WILL BE PROMPTLY REFUNDED TO YOU.


Marina Welham

Cacti & Other Succulents - Issue No. 1 May 1989
Cacti & Other Succulents – Issue No. 1 May 1989, scanned from inside a bound volume.
I personally know that Marina was an avid hobbyist.  As far back as 1985, I was mailing unusual cactus plants to her from Montreal.  My most spectacular cactus gift to Marina was a 6-foot-long hanging plant in full yellow bloom.  I had to wrap it in bath towels, slide the bath-towels into a zippered garment bag, and the garment bag into a huge cardboard box for shipping.

As a treat to celebrate the fact that Marina’s very first print issue, Cacti & Other Succulents, is now on the World Wide Web, I am giving her readers (and the search engines) three short articles from it, also linked on the Articles Revived tab in the top menu bar:

  1. “Jatropha Podagrica” By Mary Suski deFisher
  2. “Starting From Scratch:” “Culture of Cacti and other Succulents” By Grace Rollerson
  3. “Flowering Your Cacti” By Heather Farmer

Have a great day, everybody.

I’m Kathleen, Marina’s daughter; and I don’t know anything about cactus plants.

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