In the opening pages of this magazine, along with the table of contents and SCORECARD, there are occasional appearances by two other departments that suggest something of the tremendous range and variety of the human interests involved in sport. SHOPWALK is an informed and informal discussion of anything having to do with supplies for recreation; BOOKTALK is concerned with new books (or new editions of old books).
Between them they cover a lot of commerce and literature and call to mind the ingenuity, learning and enterprise that modern sport seems to stimulate. In the course of a few issues SHOPWALK may touch on the boom in tandem bicycles and note the price of a good two-seater ($100); or it may describe the new bright-colored kites currently being imported from Formosa and Thailand ($4.50 and $3.50); or it may tell you where to buy an Irish blackthorn walking stick or a portable water desalter. The main business of SHOPWALK, of course, is new equipment for old games—but the dazzling variety of products dealt with gives this department versatility as well as value.
Booktalk ranges as widely. It may deal with substantial literary fare, such as Samuel Eliot Morison's The Oxford History of the American People, which incorporates, amid its awesome learning, much new information on popular American sports. Or it may cover a combined literary-sporting event, such as a recent dinner of The Theodore Gordon Flyfishers held to launch a collection of angling essays, or an auction of a library of rare fishing books.
The editor responsible for all this is Joseph Carroll. Born in Chicago, the youngest of nine children, Carroll studied philosophy at Loyola University (after a year at Notre Dame) and was a reporter on the Chicago Daily News before he began publishing short stories in such magazines as the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers and The Atlantic. He also served as associate fiction editor of Colliers and was for two years executive editor of Theatre Arts.
The literary events covered in BOOKTALK are usually handled by the staff writers concerned with their subjects. New works in the thorny field of conservation go to Robert Boyle, books on ducks and geese and hunting to Duncan Barnes in the Outdoor Department, works on sailing to Hugh Whall, and so on. Most BOOKTALK items, however, are the work of Robert Cantwell, whose subject is the inclusive one of books in general. Cantwell's first novel, Laugh and Lie Down, was published in 1931, when he was 23 years old, and the second, The Land of Plenty, in 1934. On May 10, 1935 Cantwell became the literary editor of TIME Magazine. After four years as TIME'S book editor and a year as an editor of FORTUNE, Cantwell wrote foreign news at TIME for two years and then the presidency story for two more, but he was never very far from the book department.
Books at SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have given him the material for articles in the field where cultural history and sporting history intersect—boys' baseball books, for example, in A Sneering Laugh with the Bases Loaded, or Baille-Grohman's books on hunting in the Pacific Northwest that stimulated an article on the Columbia River. His article on Alexander Wilson, a forgotten poet and ornithologist, led to a definitive biography, Alexander Wilson, Naturalist and Pioneer, published in 1961. Now, in his spare time, he is writing a book on the Pacific Northwest, in preparation for which he and his wife retraced the Oregon Trail—as nearly as it is possible to do so by car—along the route his ancestors followed to found the first American settlement in western Washington in 1844.