Friday, October 29, 2010

Tasha Tudor & Victoria Memories...

As luck would have it, I just came across Victoria December 1989 with an extensive story on Tasha Tudor's Christmas. Oh, what lovely photographs taken by Toshi Otsuki. This issue brought back a flood of memories--1989 and 1990 were pretty big years for the magazine and for me.

In the Fall of 1989, Victoria went from a bi-monthly to a monthly magazine. This was a big step for the rather small staff--but there was a bigger mountain to climb. At the very same time, Victoria became the first magazine in the country to be produced completely via desktop publishing. Mind you, this was no small feat. We were pioneers...up until that point, magazines were created mechanically. Now everything was done by looking at a computer screen! I may have discussed this before, but it has never ceased to amaze me how my staff, led by art director Bryan McCay, was able to accomplish this. It took hard work, long hours, and a huge amount of effort. I decided that I would stand down in the process and concentrate on the creative side of the magazine, looking to the future. A magazine editor never lives in the present!

We finished 1989 with this wonderful issue, bringing the joy of Christmas and the holiday season to our readers, who never knew that our editors and writers were involved in magazine production as never before. In early January, I fell ill, most likely the result of stress and long hours: first with the flu and then pneumonia. It was a bit serious and I lost several weeks of work. Unheard of. Staff members came to my apartment for short periods of time to get my stamp of approval on things. They could have done very well without me--but neither they or I had come to that point yet.

The first day I returned to work, it was announced that Victoria was named ADWEEK's magazine of the year! We had only been a monthly for a few months, but here we were in some pretty exciting company; and we were number one! I was still pretty weak, and could hardly hold the huge bouquet of long-stemmed roses presented to me by Randolph Hearst. The pictures I have tell the tale.

Readers of a magazine or any creative product only see the end result...and that is as it should be. For those of us behind the scenes the memories are of a more personal nature. But I can't look at these resplendent pages without looking back from a different perspective: What a fabulous staff I had. How they supported me. What a victory we all had. But there is also another lesson here: Driving oneself too hard isn't such a swell idea. And maybe taking on too many challenges has its disadvantages. Of course, it's in my DNA to do both of these things. Usually simultaneously. Maybe the nice thing about getting older is getting a bit wiser of just how much one can do.

Dear Tasha kept busy for most of her 90 years. I think she had monitors to guide her: the rhythm of the farm, her animals, and her art. Her letter to me made it pretty clear that she paced herself with what was important in her life. Her Christmas celebration was a work of art itself.

If you have one of these issues on hand, enjoy it again.


  1. Hello,
    I continue to be inspired by Victoria! I organize my issues by month and go through them throughout the month! Victoria remains a classic then and now! So appreciate what you and all the staff at Victoria Magazine did in encouraging women!
    God Bless,

  2. I just loved Tasha Tudor! I have so many of her books and I treasure them so much! She was a remarkable woman. Thanks for sharing about her.

  3. Dear Nancy,
    Oh yes, I am so lucky to have EVERY issue of Victoria. Fighting war with another bidder to obtain the premire issue (I won at a very hight price) and so happy to have the complete collection.I keep them together by month so I can see what delights the months and seasons bring before they arrive. I always have a copy close by.
    And, I have become a fan of Tasha and Tovah (meeting her(Tovah) at a tea was a pure delight) thanks to Victoria..

  4. I was just looking at that issue this week and I do still have it. I think that Victoria being resurrected from the hundreds of magazines never heard from again says volumes about what you did with it. It continues to be my favorite magazine ever and the one magazine I will always hold a subscription to if it is on the stands! Victoria is always true inspiration to many.

  5. Hello,
    the Victoria magazine has inspired me since I bought my first issue in november 1989. Me and my family visited Florida for the fourth time and I found the magazine at the Miami International. I wanted something to read as I knew the jet-lag would keep me awake. The flight from Sweden was 14 hours.
    I took The Victoria magazine to my heart and I became a prescriber until 2003 and I missed it a lot. I use my old copies for inspiration, and what a joy when I found soulmates in the blog-world. After following Kathy at A delightsome life and her Victoria blog-party, my Swedish blog-friends are asking about this beautiful magazine, Victoria.
    So interesting to read about you and the others who created the magazine. I keep my issues as tresures and they inspire me all year around.
    best regards
    elsamarianne (Sweden)

  6. I have EVERY copy of my 'old' Victoria magazines, doubles of some of them. They are my treasure.

    So I'll be pulling out that article and thinking about what you shared here!

  7. Oops,I mean that I have been a subscriber,...

  8. I cherish each and everyone of the copies of Victoria Magazine I have since 1987. I believe you and Toshi Otsuki did an awesome job together. It was one of the best magazines in the world, if not the best! Tasha Tudor, a great artist, I enjoy her paintings as well.

    I am glad I found your journal today. I was looking for the harvest moon cake recipe of the September 1995 issue. Maybe you can help me. I had cut it out to insert it into my recipe book, but this past week I lost it when I decided to take it to the supermarket with me to shop for the ingredients. I would appreciate it if you send me the recipe. I am sure you or one of your followers have this issue without cutting the recipe like me.

    Have a marvelous weekend and thanks,

  9. Well I treasure all my issues of Victoria (I have them all) but especially the Tasha ones. Nancy, I do not know if you have hear of Tasha Tudor day or not. A group of admires (I see some of them has commented on your blog) wanted to created a day to remember Tasha, we picked her birthday day. We are hoping that more and more people will learn about Tasha and all she stood for. I hope on TT day, you will remember her too. You can read a bit more about it here (also look under TT day and see how others have celebrated Tasha). Thank you Clarice

  10. Oh and I forgot to say, Happy Pumpkin Moonshine!! Clarice

  11. I love Tasha Tudor, Tosi Otsuki and your version of Victoria, Nancy.

    I started collecting the magazines late in 1989 but have since found the eary issues and now my collection is complete up until the time you left.

    I have seen many magazines over the years, but none come even close to yours. Even the new Victoria doesn't come close.

    Thank you for creating the best magazine in history.


  12. Hi Nancy! I must 'ditto' what my friend Clarice of Storybook Woods said. Do join us for Tasha Tudor Day when it comes around! We have such fun. The Christmas painting in this post is one of my most favorite of Tasha's. Happy November! Warmly, Cathy Santarsiero

  13. Another look behind the scenes! I'm sorry that the work overload burned out your system, Nancy, but may I say, as someone who routinely reads and re-reads her monthly stash at bedtime, it was worth it! That so many thousands of readers are STILL cherishing something you helped bring into being is a true tribute to your special genius. Talk about timeless! The proof of that is in the daily influence Victoria continues to have in my life--and obviously, the lives of so many others. Bless you a dozen times for creating a haven of beauty that feeds our souls still.

    Love, Karen Marline

  14. I love the Tasha Tudor picture. Thanks for the reminder to pace ourselves. I tend to do too many things at once and then must let something go. Now I must go look for the issue in my stash of old magazines.

  15. I dont know when I would have learned about Tasha Tudor if it hadnt been for Victoria. I'm still so grateful.

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