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Why “Z” instead of “S”?

Historical Society of Palm Desert

Randall Henderson

I wanted to take just a moment to explain why I have used a Z in our name instead of the standard “S”. Simply said, it’s respect, the original Desert magazine was an icon for Southwest publications and who am I to tread on their name. They deserve the respect that they have earned, for publishing one of the best known regional publications for nearly fifty years.


Evonne Riddell

When Randall Henderson and J. Wilson McKenney sat upon the top of the Santa Rosa mountains back in 1936 and decided to launch their new magazine, little did they know how many people it would touch. Thousands of desert passionists would come to love and enjoy their stories, many would use them as a guide for their desert excursions, and to learn about a new fascinating and exciting land. And yet many more would become life long lovers of the arid land. Naturalists, hikers, rock collectors, historians, mountain climbers, campers and even offroaders each waited anxiously for the next issue to come out. Where did they go this month? What did they see? What did they find? WOW!!! Did you see what they found in the last issue?? I GOTTA go there and NOW!!!! These questions and statements were heard all of the Southwest, and are still heard today, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the ever changing staff at Desert. I was extremely lucky to be able to meet Evonne Riddell, Randall’s daughter, before her passing. Evonne had worked for time at Desert and also the College of the Desert. She was an incredible lady and I was always treasure the time she gave me. I was in true awe of her, I mean here I am talking to the daughter of the founder of my MOST favorite magazine….


First Issue Jan 2011

So who am I to use their name or trample over what they did? Why would I try to profit from their name, knowing full well that I do not own the rights to the decades of their incredible work. Instead, I chose to use the “Z” to let people know that we are the NEW Dezert magazine and hopefully someday, they might look at us and say, nice job… So far, this has been a incredibly wonderful journey and one I hope to continue for decades to come, with your help. We have been publishing a digital or printed quarterly publication since 2011 and have twelve issues to our name.

We have also been lucky to land some of the top writers in the Southwest to include, Drew Gomber from the History Channel’s show Wild West Tech, Diana Lindsay publisher and owner of Sunbelt Books, and resident desert queen. Greg Niemann who has written many books about Baja and it was his article in Dezert,  that won the Outdoor Writers Association of California award for best internet article. Death Valley Jim who is our Editor of Ghost Towns and Native Art and a true committed desert enthusiasts. Darla Dollman’s articles on Native American history and the Catalina Buffalo are one of our best articles ever!!! I think we have proven ourselves to be a solid publication, independent of the original Desert, but I always feel like Randall is there watching. My only hope is that he is happy with what we have done… We do currently own Desertmagazine.com, but use it as a tribute page dedicated to the original Desert magazine.

Desert Magazine - November 1937

November 1937

So I hope this helps everyone understand why we do what we do. To me, one can not move forward without respecting the past. It is VERY important to  honor and respect the founders of Desert magazine, most of these people have passed away and the only thing they may have to remember them is their work. In my opinion, and it is Dezert’s policy, to not disrespect them and the legacy, rather treat them with the reverance they deserve and this is why we use our beloved “Z”….

Thank You for your time and understanding.

John Grasson