By: W. W. Bennett

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 18, 2020

The Kaleidograph, A National Magazine of Poetry, was originally entitled The Kaleidoscope and was published in Dallas from 1929 to 1959 by Whitney Maxwell Montgomery and Vaida Stewart Montgomery. Subscriptions for the monthly cost one dollar annually; single issues sold for fifteen cents; contributors were sent one copy free. The premiere issue, May 1929, which contained fifteen pages of poetry, included "I Have the Need of Meadowlands Today" by Grace Noll Crowell, the magazine's first contributor and subscriber and an author of three prior volumes of poetry. However, the founders were primarily concerned with the discovery of new talent and wanted to see poetry of all forms and lengths while expressly preferring short, rhymed verse.

The Montgomerys were the editors, owners, and publishers, and presumably one or both wrote the unsigned editor's note entitled "Reflections" that appeared at the beginning of each issue. In addition to poetry, the early issues listed books reviewed by the editors and notices of magazine-sponsored poetry contests and awards. The magazine often included brief biographies of contributors, classified ads, and status reports of a national "state race" for most subscribers. (Texas led, with California and New York following.) In addition, an index to authors for each preceding year was available in number twelve of each volume.

The name was changed to The Kaleidograph in May 1932 to avoid confusion with a New York periodical, Kaleidoscope, which came out a month before the Montgomerys' journal. Subscription prices were now two dollars annually, and the publication incorporated an advisory board consisting of Jessie B. Rittenhouse, Struthers Burt, Margaret Bell Houston, John Richard Moreland, Craig Rice, and Andrew M. Scruggs. The Kaleidograph also included more editorial departments, including "We'll Give you a Lift" (advice to young writers), presumably written by Vaida Montgomery. Both Montgomerys were members of the Poetry Society of Texas, but the magazine was not an official publication of the society. Both contributed poetry to the magazine. Other early contributors included Carl John Bostelmann, Henri Faust, Sarah Hammond Kelley, and Mazie V. Caruthers.

The Kaleidograph's circulation peaked at about 2,000, with subscribers in every state and several foreign countries. By 1952 only Burt, Houston, Scruggs, and Rice remained on the advisory board, and the "Reflections" column was dropped. The magazine reverted to quarterly publication in 1954. Later contributors included Kathryn Wolcott, Lora Beth Dobkins, and William D. Barney. The magazine ceased publication upon the death of Vaida Montgomery in 1959.

Vaida Stewart Montgomery, A Century with Texas Poets and Poetry (Dallas: Kaleidograph, 1934).

  • Journalism
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Publications, Journals, and Magazines
  • Literature
  • Dallas/Fort Worth Region
  • Dallas
  • North Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

W. W. Bennett, “Kaleidograph,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 11, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/kaleidograph.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 18, 2020

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