Gleanings is unique in that throughout all the long years of its publication, it has remained in the hands of its founders. The prestige of the magazine was built around the personality of its founder and first editor, A. I. Root. He continued to contribute freely to its pages to the end of his life, and, under the direct management of his two sons, it still continues as a major activity of the firm which he founded. Thus for more than sixty years of uninterrupted publication, Gleanings has been distinctly a Root magazine. Others in the field have had frequent changes of ownership, but the only changes that have come to Gleanings have been such changes as the advancing years have required. It is a rare occurrence for a publication to continue for such a long period under the management of one family.

It was in January, 1873, that the first number appeared. It was a modest little magazine of only eight pages, put forth cautiously with the announcement that it would be published quarterly at twenty-five cents per year. A. I. Root was already well known as a contributor to the older periodical, the American Bee Journal, and the response to his personal offering was encouraging.

It is interesting to note that, although the first bee magazine had been established only twelve years, there were several in the field when Gleanings appeared. That first issue mentions the American Bee Journal, The Beekeeper's Journal, the Illustrated Bee Journal, Moon's Journal (North American Bee Journal), American Bee Gazette, and Annals of Bee Culture. At the start, the new magazine was called Novice's Gleanings in Bee Culture, but the "Novice" was dropped with the beginning of Volume 2.

In that first issue was published an offer from Barber & Stout, of Cincinnati, to pay thirteen and one-half cents per pound for twenty thousand pounds of honey delivered in barrels. Current prices for honey varied greatly in different localities. Attention was called to the fact that in Xenia, Ohio, extracted honey retailed at forty-five cents per pound and comb honey at fifty cents.

The response to the first issue of the quarterly was so immediate that Root decided at once to publish a monthly magazine. Thus the second number was brought out in February, with the announcement that it would be published every month at seventy-five cents per year.

It was in the April issue of that first year that Dr. C. C. Miller told his story of storing his surplus combs over colonies during his absence, and how those over-weak clusters were destroyed by moths. His conclusion was: "To destroy combs protect them weakly by bees. "

Gleanings immediately began presenting practical and economical plans-a hive for a dollar and an extractor for five. The early numbers were filled with just such material, together with extracts from numerous letters with comments by the editor. But little material is required to fill eight pages, and only one-half page of advertising was included in those early numbers.

Before the end of the first year there was established a "Humbug and Swindle" column, in which readers were warned against persons or firms which were irresponsible. With the first number of the second volume was added the "Depository of Blasted Hopes, " in which were published letters from those who had failed with their bees. Root certainly was original and interesting, and the growth of his circulation was evidence of that fact.

When, fifty years later, A. I. Root reviewed the experiences of the past (Gleanings, Jan. 1923), he stated that at the end of the first year he had five hundred subscribers and at the end of the second year 806, which number had increased to more than 1, 500 at the close of the third year. He mentions the fact that his advertising cost, to bring about this result, was about $300.

In the second year of publication he acquired a printing press, which he operated by foot power. To this he attached a windmill and, when the wind blew, he was relieved from the necessity of working the treadle. It is not surprising to hear that some sheets were improperly placed in the press and were poorly printed or crooked. To impatient subscribers he explained the uncertainty of the wind as the cause of the difficulty.

Before the completion of Volume 3 a steam engine was added to the equipment, so that either steam or wind power could be used, and thus the uncertainties were reduced.

This inclination toward experiment remained an outstanding characteristic of A. I. Root to the end of his life, and in later years after he was relieved of the responsibility of the magazine, he discussed all manner of things in his personal department.

E. R. Root succeeded his father as editor of Gleanings.

E. R. Root succeeded his father as editor of Gleanings.

As an example of the frankness of the editor in acknowledging assistance, Root for a time published on the front page of his publication a list of the exchanges consulted. One such list includes the American Bee Journal, Bee-Keepers Magazine, Bee World, American Agriculturist, Prairie Farmer, Rural New Yorker, Country Gentleman, Ohio Farmer and Scientific American. Several of these publications have continued to increase in circulation and influence until the present day.

At this distance, it looks as though much of the early success of Gleanings was due to the enthusiastic accounts of the many experiments of the editor.

True, many of these were bound to fail, but there was a genuine interest on the part of the readers in their progress.

The magazine was still quite young when he planted his linden orchard to provide nectar for the bees. Although there was never any report of a big honey harvest from this orchard, for many long years there were numerous occasions when some reference was made to the "Basswood Apiary. " The trees did, in time, furnish shade for the apiary and a spot of interest to the readers who chanced to visit Medina.