Rollins College hosts Animated Magazine

The Animated Magazine

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  • | 9:50 a.m. February 15, 2012
Photo by: Rollins College - Animated Magazine
Photo by: Rollins College - Animated Magazine
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Porter Goss has worn many hats — newspaper co-founder, mayor of a small island, congressman and most recently, CIA director. On Sunday, he’ll join the ranks of James Cagney, Edward R. Murrow and Arnold Palmer as a “page” in the Animated Magazine.

Goss is one of five contributors scheduled to present their submissions in person on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Winter Park Institute’s Animated Magazine event at Rollins College.

Goss’ presentation, “Brand USA in the World Today,” focuses on how we see ourselves as Americans and how others view us in the global market.

“I think that many people called the last century the century of America, and some people have created this expectation that the next century will be the century of the globe, of globalization,” Goss said. “I think it’s worth taking a look at what our role is … how we define ourselves as Americans, and how we go abroad in the world today as the world’s superpower.”

The Animated Magazine first began in December of 1926 when Holt, eighth president of Rollins College, met with Dr. Edwin Grover, newly appointed professor of books, to discuss the idea, according to an article published by Wenxian Zhang, head of archives and special collections at Rollins.

Hamilton Holt and Dr. Edwin Grover created The Animated Magazine in December 1926. At its peak, eight to 10 thousand people gathered at Rollins to attend the annual gathering. Visit

Zhang wrote that Grover expressed reluctance when reminded of the difficulty of securing advertising and the expense of printing, supplies and subscriptions. Holt then explained to Grover that he didn’t intend to create a print publication, but rather, something where contributors would present their content in person. On Feb. 26, 1927, the first issue of the Animated Magazine was published.

The event has drawn figures such as Cordell Hull, secretary of state during the administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Contributors came at their own expense and without compensation. The Winter Park Institute now provides for travel expenses, but speakers are not compensated for their contributions.

Gail Sinclair, executive director of the Winter Park Institute, said last year’s event drew more than 500 “subscribers,” which is small relative to the thousands that once came. She said the ability to see national figures in person was originally why people came to this event.

“One of the main differences is in that day, these figures were not seen on television,” she said. “The spectacle of it was something quite amazing. What other chance could people in this area have to see some of the high-caliber figures that Hamilton Holt brought in?”

Sinclair said the process of selecting speakers has changed from the days of Holt, as he had a unique ability to draw big names to the event.

“… We are working a little more locally than what Hamilton Holt did, because this is a different world than what he was working in,” she said.

Other speakers at the Feb. 19 event will include Jim Evans, a former major league baseball umpire who will provide a behind-the-scenes look at baseball, as well as Janice Aria, director of Animal Stewardship for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. Aria will discuss the role that the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation plays in the future of the endangered Asian elephant.

Billy Collins, editor of the Animated Magazine, describes the event as a live performance, where his job is to present the speakers and keep the pages of the magazine turning. Holt was famous for having a huge blue pencil that he would use to “cross people off” if they ran over time. Collins said he has not had to do this yet.

“The more condensed the presentations, the more the performance feels like a magazine, because the pages keep turning, and we move from one piece to another,” he said.

In the past, the magazine carried some general themes to it. Jack Lane, professor emeritus of American history at Rollins, said that the theme would be something relevant to the current time period, such as international relations. He said Holt would balance heavier content with lighter material.

“One year, there was a very famous snake expert here in Florida,” Lane said, “and he had him come down and display all the snakes that he collected over the years.”