Here it is: Volume 6, Issue 1, May 1994. A scan of the first of the rescued journals

The first journal embed is up, I’m not sure it’s wide enough, but will adjust that another day, it’s getting late and I’m fiddling with two laptops on the free wifi in the Mall.

I’m pretty excited, I think the OCR is good. It’s better than my own OCR software, I certainly recommend checking this out (later) if you need to convert a scan to searchable text:

The little scanner from eBay doesn’t do color very well, it defaults to Black and White (reason for the sale?), so the ivory covers of the journals don’t show up. You’ll have to imagine it: back and front, inside back and front: ivory.

That said, I am pleased to present the first journal scanned from the lot I acquired on eBay this month to really kick-start this web site. Here it is, Volume 6, Issue 1, May 1994, just click on the cover photo (or on the title below it) to visit the embed page:

TAD Volume 6 Issue 1 May 1994
The Amateurs’ Digest
Vol. 6, Issue 1, May 1994

You will notice there is now an asterisk (*) on the 1994 tab in the top horizontal menu at this web site. Whenever I add material to a date on the menu, I will add an asterisk to the year, so you don’t have to search all the years to see if there’s anything in them. Just go straight to the “star”.

The scans of the little 7″ x 8.5″ journals were done at 300 DPI as bmps. Each bmp is 2049 x 2534. All were then converted to PDF using IrfanView. The edges were then cleared up using the same IrfanView. The individual PDFs were linked into a single journal using PDF Tools.

The final searchable (OCR’d) PDF is hosted online in Scribd, for the purpose of embedding it here, at The Amateurs’ Digest Archive.

The final document is 100% free to read online, you can even copy snippets of text, but downloading has been disabled. I really don’t think it would be fair to have zillions of PDF copies all over the Internet being used for whatever purposes. Copyright belongs to The Amateurs Digest Archive and to me, Marina’s daughter: according to her Will, her Executor and sole Heir. Eventually, as volumes become complete, I might consider producing them in Volume groups in the form of paperbacks.

However, I see that Marina had a special issue with each volume, and I’m not yet sure what that means. Did Marina enhance one of the six annual issues and call it “special”, or did she produce a seventh issue as a “special issue”? If you know, please tell me, because if they are extra, I will have to find the special issues.

Yes, the National Library and Archives of Canada (it seems to have been denationalized lately by changing its name to Library and Archives Canada, which I reject), does have Marina’s ISSNs, after all, but they don’t show up on a direct search of their catalog, Amicus; I only found the records by way of links to the ISSN’s at Worldcat.

The copies of Marina’s journals at The National Library and Archives Canada are in preservation off-site, and this usually constitutes a serious problem for researchers, because they don’t bother to photocopy or scan them before they put ’em in the “freezer”. So, there is no copy of any kind to consult unless you take a bus to Ottawa, stand in front of the preservation facility and peer through the glass. Or have a protracted email argument with the librarians who really resent having to get things out of preservation to scan them, as I know because I’ve done it before. And their scans are not going to be publication quality and they won’t let a guest walk in and do it.

So, the National Library and Archives of Canada may not be a great place, after all, to get copies of Marina’s old journals.

I will have to keep scouring the Internet and call on friends and colleagues of Marina’s to come up with things. Notably, with special issues, CD Roms, and in the internet era, PDF booklets that Marina was dispensing. In particular, I would like to find the old CD ROMS because I presume the plant photos contained would be larger and much nicer to work with today, on this web site.

I have given Marina’s old advertisers a boost by adding their names to the TAGS on this post and on on the embed-page, so if these growers are still in business, they may get some visitors looking for them.

It may be awhile before I scan another one of these journals, because this one took hours. I’ve been at it since noon today, and it’s now nearly 21:30 in Montreal. However, I will do one every time I need a break from my regular work, which has taken a back seat to getting this basic site online, for now.

I hope you all enjoy the newly scanned, old paper issue of Marina Welham’s The Amateur’s Digest from May 1994 (Volume 6, Issue 1). Please let me know if you recognize any of the contents from her later web site, because I wonder if she re-used — pardon me: recycled — any of her paper journals when she took the magazine live.

Here’s to you, Marina!

Kind regards,
Have a great day.
I’m Kathleen,
Marina’s daughter
Montreal, Canada

A dream for the future: “The Amateurs Digest Illustrated Encyclopedia”

Botanical Illustration
Botanical Illustration

This is a real dream for the future. Once enough of Marina’s work has been recovered, an editor who knows the field, perhaps even someone who worked with Marina on her journals, perhaps several authors and editors each with a specialty, would like to collaborate to prepare an Illustrated Encyclopedia from the journals.

Botanical Illustration

I love botanical paintings and illustrations, and it would be amazing to see The Amateurs Digest Archives produce a library-quality Encyclopedia of the plants covered by Marina’s publications.

If you like the idea, please comment.

If you are a potential editor, please be in touch!

If you are a botanical illustrator, who might enjoy this project, let me know! Would love to see your work!

Kathleen, Marina’s daughter

Happy Holidays! The first batch of rescued journals has arrived!

The first lot of my mother’s cactus journals arrived from eBay, and they are in mint condition. It’s hard to know who the seller is because of pseudonyms used in eBay, but the shipper, according to the waybill, is Richard Pontius of Aromas, California, USA. So, thank you for pristine issues of my late mother’s work. The little package cost me $174.00 CAD. I therefore won’t be able to do this very often, so I hope to rely on Marina’s friends and readers to help restore her lost materials.

A half dozen potential buyers were “watching” the journals in eBay at the time I snapped them up. Hopefully, the watchers will find this web site and be able to enjoy them here, as I gradually put them online. Here is a sample cover from one of them, taken from the illustration at eBay:

THE AMATEURS DIGEST Volume 5, Issue 6, March 1994
Volume 5, Issue 6, March 1994

These lovely paper journals are an average of 40 numbered pages, beautifully typeset (justified) with black and white photos and drawings, printed on 8.5″ x 14″ white paper, with an illustrated ivory cover (numbered in the page-count), folded in half and saddle-stitched (stapled in the fold). Once folded, they are about 8.5″ x 7″, and may or may not have been trimmed by a printer.

The earliest journal of the lot is Vol. 5, Issue 6, March 1994. That means at least five prior years of this particular journal are missing, about 29 issues at six a year, and I hope Marina’s old friends and readers will answer the call to help restore her heritage. (The background to its loss is in my welcome message.)

Great news! The journals and booklets have ISSNs. And I have found them at Worldcat, and traced them back to Canada’s National Library and Archives where I could not find them before. I’ve added a new Library Listings tab on the top menu tab for Marina’s publications.

There is some confusion in the ISSN records, and I think I can see why. Marina published Caudex Booklets as extracts of her main journal, and used the same ISBN, which is a no-no. But, as of Caudex Booklet 8 (see below), a new ISSN appears just for these extracts, which is how it ought to be: ISSN # 1199-0791.

This particular lot from eBay contains the following journals:

The Amateurs Digest, Marina Welham

Vol. 5, Issue 6, March 1994 (loose pages added to promote the journal)

Vol. 6, Issue 1, May 1994
Vol. 6, Issue 2, July 1994
Vol. 6, Issue 3, September 1994
Vol. 6, Issue 4, November 1994
Vol. 6, Issue 5, January 1995
Vol. 6, Issue 6, March 1995

Vol. 7, Issue 1, May 1995
Vol. 7, Issue 2, July 1995
Vol. 7, Issue 3, September 1995
Vol. 7, Issue 4, November 1995
Vol. 7, Issue 5, January 1996
Vol. 7, Issue 6, March 1996

Marina Welham's Journals on eBay (2018)

The Amateurs’ Digest, Cacti – Other Succulents – Caudex Plants

Caudex Booklets

Most of the Caudex Booklets are typset like the journal issues listed above; but a couple of the early Caudex booklets are a combination of typewritten and typeset.

This particular lot contains the following Caudex Booklets:

– Booklet One of Two Booklets, (c) 1994
– Booklet Two of Two Booklets, (c) 1994

An explanation inside the front cover of the first of the above two Caudex Booklets indicates that the material in this pair originates in regular issues of the TAD from the early 1990s:

“This CAUDEX booklet is one of two booklets (not sold separately) which are photocopies of all pages (no advertising) contained in our Caudex section in Volume 3 (when we began featuring Caudex separately) and Volume 4. These were put together for our many members interested mainly in caudiciform and pachycaul plants who otherwise would have to pay considerably more to purchase back issues to have access to the caudex informtion we provided in earlier volumes. Even if you have our back issues, you may want to have these combined issues which have been newly paged and indexed to give you a quick and easy referece to all caudex plants covered from when we started the special section to the end of Volume 4.”

– Booklet Three, (c) 1995

The inside front cover of Booklet Three above, explains: “CAUDEX BOOKLETS THREE AND FOUR are photocopies of Caudex pages from The Amateurs Digest Volume 5 and 6, 1993-1994 and 1994-1995.”

– Booklet Four, (c) 1995

The inside front cover of Booklet Four above, explains, same again: “CAUDEX BOOKLETS THREE AND FOUR are photocopies of Caudex pages from The Amateurs Digest Volume 5 and 6, 1993-1994 and 1994-1995.”

Next, I have two Caudex Boolets from a trio, one of which is missing.

– Booklet 5 (of Booklets 5, 6 and 7), (c) 1997
– Booklet 6 (of Booklets 5, 6 and 7), (c) 1997

Booklet 7 (of Booklets 5, 6 and 7) is missing and needs to be acquired.

The explanation from the inside front covers of Booklets 5 and 6, above, reads:

“This booklet is one of three (not sold separately), containing photocopies of articles from our Digest relating to Caudiciforms and Other Collectibles. These are made available to our members who have a specific interest in these plants so that they don’t have to go to the expense of ordering all back issues to obtain this information. Photographs are photocopies and not the same quality as originals which appeared in our Digest, in order to keep expense to a minimum.”

These three booklets continue a series of similar booklets now making a total of seven booklets in all … as follows: …. Booklets 1 and 2, … Booklets 3 and 4, …. Booklets 5, 6 and 7.”

I condensed that at the end to leave out the price information.

A new ISSN appears as of Booklet 8:

– Booklet 8, (c) 1999, ISSN # 1199-0791

The explanation from the inside front cover of Booklet 8 says:

“This CAUDEX booklet is the 8th of to date (1999) a total of 9 booklets. These are photocopies of pages contained in the Caudex section of our Digest going back to when we started this special section in Volume 3. Booklets 8 and 9 are from Digest Volumes 9 and 10, May 1997 through May 1999.”

– Booklet 9, (c) 1999 — is missing and needs to be acquired.

– Booklet 10, (c) 1999

– Booklet 11, (c) NO DATE.


In the back of Booklet 11, on page 42 near the inside back cover, Marina is promoting a CD ROM for The Amateurs Digest. So there is a CD ROM for TAD that needs to be recovered. There may be more than one!

– Booklet 12, (c) NO DATE.

That’s it for the current lot. I also picked up a little scanner at eBay and have to find the drivers to instal it. When I do, I’ll begin to scan the little journals and OCR them, and will post them here, as available, on the menu tabs above, by year.

Thank you if you have any of the missing booklets and journals, the CD ROMs, and any other materials you may know about, and can offer a scanned copy, or a pdf booklet.

Kind regards,
Kathleen, Marina’s daughter
Montreal, Canada

– 30 –


8591 Lochside Drive, Sidney, North Saanich, British Columbia
8591 Lochside Drive, Sidney, North Saanich, British Columbia,
family home and former headquarters of Marina Welham’s
“The Amateurs Digest”.

Marina Welham, author, editor and founder of The Amateurs Digest, died in North Saanich, Sidney, in British Columbia, on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016. She was nearly 82 years old.

Marina was a writer. For decades, as many will know, Marina published in print and then online, exploring her favorite subject: “Cacti – Other Succulents – Caudex Plants”.

Marina had a small glass greenhouse on the back of the family home at 8591 Lochside Drive in North Saanich. You can see it to the right in this photo of the property taken by realtors with whom it was listed after Marina died.

Marina had friends and colleagues around the world who shared her passion, and in 1997, Marina co-authored a book with world-renowned Clive Innes, who was almost 90 himself at the time. Marina was a well respected author and expert, who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew her.

I am Marina’s daughter, Kathleen, and I don’t know anything about cactus plants, but in honor of my mother, I am working to acquire, scan, OCR and restore — or even introduce to the Internet — as much of her work as I can.

When Marina died, a public trustee took over in my absence, and sadly, being ignorant of the nature of Marina’s work, and its value, the trustee sold it all off, piecemeal, in an auction to empty the house. There are no records of any kind, decades of her cactus journals are all gone, the hard drives on which the web site was backed up were purged and sold. The web site and domain are in other hands and advertising is parked on the old domain.

I am happy to announce, however, that a couple of days ago, I found two small lots of Marina’s original cactus journals from 1994, and from 1997, for sale in eBay. I bought them! They are on the way, and when they arrive, I will scan them, and OCR them, and post the contents at this web site for the world to once again enjoy the work of Marina J. Welham in the field she loved. There are hundreds of pages, this will be a part-time job, so please bear with me.

In addition, I will eventually post a page to develop a bibliography of Marina’s work, because there are no records of any kind, no ISSN’s, no ISBN’s. So, as titles come to light, they will be added. Please help me to build Marina’s Archive, by recommending titles, and in particular, by sharing publications of hers that you may have. If they are in print and you can scan them, please upload your scans in a zip file with a note to tell me who you are, and I will eventually OCR them and post them here.

Thank you. And welcome back to Marina Welham’s “The Amateurs Digest”, now an Archive.