July is nearly here, and with it, a new crop of magazines arriving in mailboxes around the country. Sadly, the gorgeous July/August issue of DIG INTO HISTORY will be the last. Our editor, Rosalie Baker, has retired after 40 amazing years with us, and it just would not be DIG without her. It’s been an exciting ride over the decades. Although DIG first began in 1999, she and her husband co-founded its predecessor, CALLIOPE, in 1980. Baker was always inspired by “A desire to inspire children to be inquisitive about the past.”

Parting Words

She says in a note from the editor at the beginning of the final issue:

“It is with joy and sadness that I wrote this note to all DIG subscribers. I retired as the editor of DIG in February of this year. I have so enjoyed the 40 years since I founded the magazine with my husband. There were many twists and turns throughout the years– all devoted to making each issue the best possible. The original name CLASSICAL CALLIOPE was shortened to CALLIOPE, and just a few years ago, the two magazines I edited, CALLIOPE and DIG, merged into the present DIG INTO HISTORY.

Through all the changes, our mission never changed: offering readers an unbiased look at world history and archaeology through the eyes of authors who are experts in their various fields and could present unbiased, accurate, and up-to-date information that was, at the same time, engaging and exciting for readers. DIG was most fortunate to have had the best people in the various fields willing to write for the issues. I cannot express how grateful I am to them all and just how much I enjoyed the entire experience. The numerous awards for excellence that CALLIOPE, DIG, and DIG INTO HISTORY have won through the years, including, most recently, the Parents’ Choice Gold Award for 2019, pale in comparison to the fun I have had researching, compiling, drafting, and editing each issue….

This final issue on the history of cartography matches DIG’s mission. Its aim is to take you around the world, peeking in at moments in history when mapmakers sought to explain and define the world as they saw it. Thank you all for being with me on this terrific journey!

-Rosalie F. Baker, Editor.

Journey Through Space and Time

In choosing topics for upcoming DIG issues, Baker prioritized variety of themes. She made sure to cover time periods from prehistoric days through to the 19th and 20th century, taking care to cover multiple continents. In addition to these guidelines, she aimed to publish issues based on:

  • A theme without borders–for example, ‘Mapping the World,’ ‘The Power of Fire,’ ‘The 1860’s.’
  • Significant events in one city or civilization and their impact throughout time– like ‘The Anglo-Saxons,’ ‘Beijing Through Time,’ ‘Syria: Through the Lens of History and Music”
  • A “formidable and fascinating” woman in history– such as Liang Hongyu, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Isabel I of Castile
  • A historic man who changed the world– including Beethoven, Augustus, Ramses III

Issues have included challenging topics like a sensitive issue on the Atlantic Slave Trade or a ‘parallel lives’ issue that compared figures in American history to ancient figures who appeared in Plutarch’s Lives.

Perhaps most unique of all was the “Let’s Go Digging”/ “Dig It” section at the back of each issue. This glimpse into real archaeological dig sites gave young readers a chance to see how archaeologists are making new significant discoveries every day.

Looking Forward

Even though DIG is ending, it’s not gone forever. After all, it was DIG that taught us that the past is always relevant to the present. DIG subscribers can transfer their subscriptions to FACES, a magazine that features different cultures around the world. Individual back issues are still available in our online store here. Feel free to search and find issues covering your favorite historical topics from the Silk Road to the Olympics!

Most importantly, the spirit of discovery will stick with readers for the rest of their lives. Baker says to readers, “I hope you have kept your issues and will refer to them from time to time. I know I have every issue of all the magazines right on shelves in my workroom.” Her advice to aspiring young writers?

Be true to yourself and be willing to take time to think, plan, write and rewrite – but also try to spontaneous, to get the joy and sorrow of how you are feeling/thinking to come through in your phrases and paragraphs. Never give up if you really want to write and enjoy it.

– Rosalie F. Baker, Editor