A Man And His Library


| September/October 1988



Raleigh E. Woltmann with his books

Route #1, Box 264 Avoca, Iowa 51521

Pictured is my complete collection of bound issues of The Iron Men Album magazines and Gas Engine Magazines. The group on the left is the IMA first copy Winter 1946 to now. The same for the group on the right, likewise for the GEM first issue of January-February, 1966, until now. The loose issues represent another hard bound volume.

In the picture I'm re-reading my first copies of the Farm Album Magazine which I received from Elmer Ritzman, editor. Apparently, my name was forwarded by a friend, Loren Badger, of Council Bluffs, Iowa, who owned a 6HP Case portable and worked as a parts clerk at the J. I. Case branch house just across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs. Yes, I subscribed immediately, with the back issues too. Elmer said he had to borrow back one season copy to fill this back issue set. Referring back to the picture, the book I am holding contains the first Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall which contained about 16 pages each all for a subscription of $1.00 a year! These four volumes in this book, containing 16 magazines, made a thickness of about 3/8 inch. The next ring bound booklet of volumes 5 & 6 had its name changed to The Iron Men Album. This magazine increased to a thickness of about 1/2 inch resulting from the increase of extra pages etc. with 6 copies per year of 16 to 20 pages each. At $1.50 for a year's subscription it must have been a break-even enterprise for Editor Elmer and Catherine and Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Robb (publishers of the Juniata Globe who printed the magazine at that time). They, at the Juniata Globe, Thompson town, Pennsylvania, bound my first two books with the plastic ring method for $3.00 postpaid.

After that, I have had a bookbinding company near here at Atlantic, Iowa, hard-bound my magazines in book form with two to three volumes in each. It was with sadness last week that I learned of the passing of Mr. Albert Hjartshoj, 71, the operator of this book-binding firm. He and his helpers are deaf. Mr. Hjartshoj had earned many accomplishments all of his own with many awards such as: the Hall of Fame of the Midwestern Athletic Association of the Deaf; also the Gold Hand Award of the National Association of the Deaf. Needless to say, their work was perfection. A yearly visit with my work required no instruction, just a smile, few motions, a wave and a nod.

The second publishing adventure Gas Engine Magazine was started in January 1966 by Elmer at the age of 76.

Sure, the GEM group has taken over a little, but the IMA has fathered most of the heritage and farm related shows all over America.