Archive for the ‘From the Vault’ Category

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The Magazines And I: Women’s Service Journalism Magazines. Chapter Four, Part Two.

September 4, 2020

Chapter fFour, Part Two

Women’s Service Journalism Magazines … is the fourth chapter from the book I am writing on the magazines of 1953, specifically March 1953, the month I was born.  This is chapter four, part two.  Feel free to back track for chapters one, two, and three in previous blogs.  Enjoy.

LADIES’ HOME JOURNAL

Ladies’ Home Journal was first published on February 16, 1883 as The Ladies’ Home Journal. The magazine’s publisher, Cyrus H.K. Curtis, developed the magazine from a popular supplement that was originally started in the magazine Tribune and Farmer. The supplement was at that time called Women at Home and Curtis’s wife, Louisa Knapp Curtis wrote it. Once it became an independent magazine itself, Louisa became editor for the first six years of its existence. The title was The Ladies Home Journal and Practical Housekeeper, but the last three words were eliminated in 1886. It reached a circulation of more than one million copies by 1903, and became the first magazine to do so.

Curtis publishing sold the magazine to Downe Communications in 1968 and eventually Meredith Corporation bought it from its “then” owner Family Media, as it was sold two more times after the Curtis family sold it. When it began to lose circulation in the late 20th century, Meredith announced it would no longer be a monthly, so it became a quarterly “special interest” title available only on newsstands. Its last issue was published in 2016.

The March 1953 title, with the tagline “The Magazine Women Believe In,” was an oversized morsel of entertaining fiction stories and special features that consisted of: “Before One God; The Old Bible and the New; Youth Accepts Responsibility; along with many more. The cover was of a beautiful baby that wore pastels in contrast to the striped blanket in leaned against.

MCCALL’S

McCall’s Magazine was first created as a small format title that was originally called The Queen in 1873. By 1897, the magazine was retitled McCall’s Magazine – The Queen of Fashion, and then eventually shortened to McCall’s. As one of the Seven Sisters, McCall’s grew into a large format glossy title that boasted a column by Eleanor Roosevelt from June 1949 until her death in November 1962, among many other notable authors.

For years, the Betsy McCall paper doll was printed in most issues of the magazine and became so popular that the regular feature was eventually made into a vinyl, 14” doll that children could hold and play with. Magazines are good at creating iconic figures.

The March 1953 cover featured a beautiful model wearing the latest in Easter hats, with an entire article about Easter frocks and their accessories. McCall’s brought women a view of what the women of the day were wearing when it came to holiday attire. The meat of the content inside the magazine was filled with short stories and serious articles, along with whimsical, fun things like “How Much Does Your Husband Annoy you?”  McCall’s was a member of the Seven Sisters proudly, also serving women with household tips and recipes.

REDBOOK

In May 1903, The Red Book Illustrated was first published by a firm of Chicago retail merchants. The name was quickly changed to The Red Book Magazine. The McCall Corporation bought the title in the summer of 1929 and it became known as simply Redbook. In 1937, circulation hit one million and the magazine had amazing success until the late 1940s when television began to rise and the magazine began to lose touch with its demographic.

Longtime editor, Edwin Balmer, was replaced during that time and Wade Hampton Nichols, who had edited various movie magazines, took over and decided to focus on young adults between the ages of 18 and 34. By 1950, circulation reached two million and the cover price was upped to 35 cents.

Despite the early success of Redbook, as the years went by the audience changed and so did the magazine’s editors. By the 1980s,  the covers became more celebrity-oriented and the content based on more fitness, exercise and nutrition. Its last owner, Hearst Corporation, ceased publication of Redbook in 2018.

The March 1953 cover was also celebrity-oriented, however, with the inimitable Marilyn Monroe on its cover. The issue celebrated Redbook’s 14th Annual Movie Award and displayed Monroe on March’s cover as the best young box-office personality.

Other content included a book-length novel called “Triangle of Chance” by Joseph Laurence Marx, short stories and many articles and features, such as “How To Bring Up Parents,” “Are Mother’s Necessary,” and many others. The departments in Redbook were fan favorites; from “Picture of the Month” to “Fashions” and “Television,” Redbook served its audience from every angle.

WOMAN’S DAY

Woman’s Day is one of the Seven Sisters that’s still being published today. The magazine was started in 1931 by The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company (better known as A&P – the grocery chain); the current publisher is Hearst Corporation. The U.S. edition was originally a free in-store menu/recipe planner which gave customers incentive to buy more by giving them meal ideas within its pages. A&P expanded Woman’s Day in 1937, featuring articles on childcare, crafts, food preparation and cooking, home decoration, needlework and health.

Sold exclusively in A&P stores, Woman’s Day had a circulation of 3,000,000 by 1944. The magazine had reached 4,000,000 by the time A&P sold the magazine to Fawcett Publications in 1958. By 1965, Woman’s Day had climbed to a circulation of 6,500,000. In 1988, Woman’s Day was acquired by Hachette Filipacchi Media. Hearst Magazines bought the Hachette magazines in the US in 2011.

The March 1953 cover had a very photogenic child, complete with Easter bonnet on its cover, smiling naturally into the photographer’s lens.  And for a magazine that is strictly sold on the newsstands, it is good to note that the cover of  Woman’s Day had no cover lines (a must these days for newsstand titles) what so ever. Stories inside included fiction and articles on needlework, home workshop projects, fashion, food and regular monthly features, such as “News and Gossip,” and “The How To Section.”

While the Woman’s Day of today and yesterday have a few things in common, such as a Bible verse, great recipes and home projects, the 21st century is very present with stories on virtual games you can play and TikTok dances used to spread joy. But as it did in yesteryears, Woman’s Day is still serving its readers with relevant information and inspiring stories.

To be continued…

 

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On Service And Hesitation: Words Of Wisdom From A Century Ago…

May 26, 2020

From the Mr. Magazine™ Vault

100 years ago in the June 1, 1920 issue of the Campbell’s Courant, “A Periodical of Cheer Published Monthly by the JOSEPH CAMPBELL COMPANY, Camden, N.J.” published two great pieces, inside its front cover and inside the back cover, that I felt are as appropriate today, if not more than the year they were published.

The inside front cover piece was entitled “Service

Willingness to serve is the very backbone of successful merchandising. Of itself, it breeds success; because it is the living evidence of a smooth running organization equal to the task of meeting requirements or of even anticipating wants.

In reality, it means far more than good organization or routing activity. For back of it lies the impelling thought, the feeling, the sincerity, the unselfishness, based upon the understanding that we are all dependent upon our fellows for every benefit derived in this world.

It is merely the working out of the Golden Rule, the practical application of a great principle which always pays – in dollars and cents, in self-respect and true happiness.

The inside back cover piece was entitled “He Who Hesitates

In order to do anything in this world that is worth doing, we must not stand shivering on the bank, and thinking of the cold, but jump in and scramble through as best we can. It will not do to be perpetually calculating and adjusting nice chances. It did all very well before the Flood, when a man could consult his friends upon an intended enterprise for a hundred and fifty years, and then live to see its success for six or seven centuries afterwards. But at present a man waits, and doubts, and hesitates until one day he finds that he has lost so much time in consulting first cousins and particular friends, that he has no more time left to follow their advice.

Words of wisdom from the past.

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“You’ll be glad tomorrow…you smoked Philip Morris today!” The Cigarettes of 2020…

April 28, 2020

A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

Marc Benioff co-CEO of Salesforce and co-owner of TIME magazine said it best, “Facebook is the new cigarettes. It should be regulated.” And he said that in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing.  I’m really not concerned about the regulated part as much as the cigarettes part, plus I might add all of social media to Mr. Benioff’s comparison:  today’s social media is the cigarettes of the 1950s.

So for those of you who are too young to remember the fifties and all the movies and television programs where all the “cool” people smoked, the ads for cigarettes from that era promised users good health, good digestion, and good flavor.  Cigarettes back then were good for you, so said the manufacturers anyway . You smoke today and you will thank the cigarette manufacturer tomorrow, the ads stated.

In this age of social distancing  that we now find ourselves living in, social media has become our only window to the outside world. So what are we to expect from an audience if we combine the stay at home orders and social media?  Well, before I answer that question, read what researchers have found in 2018.  That was the time our social distancing was an option and not a must.  The Australian website CBHS Health Fund quotes a 2018 study published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. Researchers “found that when people reduced their use of social media to just 30 minutes a day (spread across three platforms), their overall mental wellbeing improved. This study found that feelings of depression and loneliness in particular declined.” Keep in mind that was the time we were staying at least eight hours less outside the home as we are doing today.

Move forward to 2020 and the Neuro-Central website tells us in an article written by Sharon Salt, its senior editor, “Constant updates about coronavirus, especially those concerning confirmed cases and the number of deaths to date, can be extremely overwhelming and feel relentless. Moreover, rumors and speculation can add fuel to anxiety, which is why obtaining good quality information is so important.”

In the midst of this doom and gloom, social media combined with the so-called 24-hour news cycle is leading to more depression and more suicide according to Mike Ragsdale, CEO of 30A company and publisher of the new magazine Beach Happy.

“When I was growing up the news that we were consuming had to be bundled within 22 minutes of time. And if it didn’t make that cut, then you never heard about it. But now we hear about every single awful thing because we’re in a 24/7 news cycle. And not just that, we have pushup notifications and breaking news alerts, so we hear every awful thing that happens.” Ragsdale said.

Since the dawn of cable television late in the 1970s and the introduction of 24-hour channels with no turn off switches, followed in the 1990s and beyond with the explosion of news channels and social media outlets, people have become accustomed to “breaking news.”  Some thought that was the democratization of the media and the making of everyone into a publisher… instead we now have the law of the jungle, with no gatekeepers or editors etc.

Too much information leads to less comprehension and less impact.  It desensitizes the audience in a way that they tune in and tune out and hear exactly what they want to hear.

More than ever, we need to hit the brakes on the dissemination of the shotgun information delivery and get back to the laser targeted news that was delivered in less time with more information that was curated and fact-checked before it was delivered.

Between the delivery, whether from presidential press conferences to comments of the sane and insane alike on social media, we are moving with the speed of a bullet, fast and furious, to destroy the social fabric (some say we already have) of our society and drive a bigger wedge between the people, among themselves and among their authority figures.

Social media and the 24-hour news cycle, while they claim to be keeping us connected, they are  in fact creating the biggest divide ever and the biggest threat to our democracy and freedom of the press.

So to paraphrase the cigarette ads of the 1950s, “You will be glad tomorrow that you hopped on our social media platforms, turned on our 24-hours news channels today.”

But will you, really?

To sum it up, would you please let me know how many people today are thanking the cigarette companies?

I rest my case. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to welcome the stack of magazines that just arrived on my doorsteps via Fed Ex.  Credible and trustworthy journalism awaits. There are good times ahead. Count on it!

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Presidents, Magazines, and the Power of Good Slow Journalism… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing

April 26, 2020

The more I dive into my old magazines collection, the more I discover that there is nothing new under the sun.  Same stories, same characters, similar events, and similar affairs, yet the similarities end there. What is different is the role and power of how magazines covered those issues and events.

Take for example the January 1942 issue of Fortune magazine.  The world is in the midst of World War II and the country is facing dire decisions on both political and economic situations dealing with the war.  Excuse me, if I say, this sounds so eerily familiar! But, let me not digress here, but rather head back to the early 1940s.

In addition to the regular magazine and its monthly coverage, Fortune started a series of round tables that gathered around all kind of experts in their fields and discussed and debated the issues of the days with them and later published them in white papers.

The Ninth Fortune Round Table was held on May 9, 10, 11, 1941 at the Seaview Country Club, Absecon, New Jersey.  The topic “Labor Policy and National Defense.”  The Tenth Fortune Round Table was held on September 5, 6, 7, 1941 at Berkshire County, Massachusetts.  The topic “On Demobilizing The War Economy.”

Those white papers represented the best of what journalism can offer in a calm calculated constructive way in order to help both country and public. The magazine publishers and editors took their responsibility seriously and rather than pontificate they sought answers, they assembled the who’s who from the experts on the issues, asked the right questions, checked the answers and double checked them, then summed up the questions and answers and presented them to the public.

So, back to the January 1942 issue of Fortune magazine.  The lead story of that issue was titled “The Presidency: Its tradition is leadership in freedom. Will Franklin Roosevelt preserve that tradition against the world thrust toward the all-powerful state?”  The lead paragraph of the article stated, “Several years ago, during debate on the Neutrality Act, a delegation of congressional leaders went to the White House to discuss it with President Roosevelt. Afterward it was widely rumored that the President, angered at some phase of the argument over this attempt to hobble him in the conduct of U.S. foreign relations, had blazed out: “I could put this country into war in six weeks, and you know it.”

Again, not to digress, does the aforementioned paragraph sound familiar? Just change the names and the war from World War II to World War C.  But, back to the magazine.

The article on The Presidency went on to reprint a series of cartoons of several important presidents from Washington to Roosevelt, with the following caption at the end, “These are contemporary cartoons of the chief Presidents who, after Washington had endowed the office with his personal prestige, enlarged the powers of the presidency. One and all have been assailed as would-be despots. Sample alarm: “The eyes and hopes of the American people are anxiously turned to Congress… The will of one man alone prevails and governs the republic…The premonitory symptoms of despotism are upon us.” Henry Clay on President Andrew Jackson, December 26, 1833.

Case closed.  We need more magazines like the Fortune of 1942 and less talking heads like we see on TV where everything is breaking news.  Good magazines stop the rat race and the horse race and focus on the issues, in-depth coverage, or what some folks like to call slow-journalism.  Slow journalism is good journalism, race against time and the clock was, is and will never be good journalism.  The old saying in the 24 hours news cycle, “report first, check second” is the beginning of the ills of journalism.

In this faster than fast delivery of news and information, it is about time, time that we have in this “stay at home” order, to rethink the role of magazines and good journalism and deliver some great “slow journalism” to help inform, educate, and serve the “customers who count.”

Magazines that focus on those customers will continue to be the light at the end of the tunnel while other platforms will continue to be the train coming at you.

 

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The Audience Of One: Lessons From The Past On Serving Both Readers And Advertisers Of Magazines… From The Mr. Magazine™ Vault

April 8, 2020

From the Mr. Magazine™ Vault

Taking a brief break from the series Publishing During A Pandemic interviews with magazine and magazine media executives, here is a blast from a century ago, with a very nice soothing cover… Enjoy this latest From the Vault of Mr. Magazine™ and will be back later today with the series of interviews on Publishing During A Pandemic.

Some might think that the idea of specialization and customization of magazines to reach specific audiences is a new one.  Some might even argue that with digital printing it’s easier than ever before  to customize every single copy of a magazine.  But what if I told you, that specialization and customization are probably as old as magazines themselves? 

A century ago, in the April 1920 issue of The Modern Priscilla magazine (1887-1930), the editors wrote the following:

“A SPECIALLY printed edition of PRISCILLA for each subscriber would seem almost the only answer to the many, many letters we receive from our friends who are enthusiasts on special phases of needlework or handicraft, but lukewarm or stone-cold on others. Of course you know as well as we do the impossibility of any such delightful dream; but it is to meet to some extent the demand for a fuller treatment of certain subjects that please a limited audience that the Priscilla Special Service Sheets have recently been made a feature of our magazine.

Magazine space for any one subject is limited, as of course you realize. If, for example, you are not interested in Bobbin Lace, you would not want us to omit one or two pages of your favorite crocheting in order to give enough bobbin lace patterns to suit Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Smith. In order, therefore, that we may maintain the variety of interest which makes the magazine of widespread value, and at the same time give you more information on your particular “hobby,” we are supplementing various articles and subjects by these Service Sheets – which are really magazine pages printed just for you. The minimum charge of two 2-cent stamps which we make for these sheets in no way covers the cost. It is merely a safeguard against wastage of valuable material.”

So the solution to the problem 100 years ago was to develop specially printed pages for the specific needs of the audience, leaving the magazine as general interest as possible, with the additional on-demand sheets being personalized for the niche audiences.

 The editors continued to write:

Eight Service Sheets are now in print. No. 1 is a sheet of beautiful and simple Batik designs. In this connection some of our readers will be glad to know that we are able to supply a limited number of copies of the September, 1919, PRISCILLA, which discusses Batik work at length. These copies can be had for 15 cents each. Special Service Sheet No. 2 gives a group of interesting and usable patterns for Bobbin Lace, with complete directions. Sheet No. 3 is a supplement which gives in full the lengthy instructions for the Venetian crochet pieces shown in the January, 1920, issue of THE PRISCILLA. Sheet No. 4, devoted to Household Linens for the Hope Chest, was planned by Amy Gay for the bride-to-be. It gives quantities, sizes, and discusses the proper marking of linens. Sheet No. 5, Costume Embroideries, offers suggestions for suitable designs for blouses and frocks. Sheet No. 6, Church Laces, gives block patterns for beautiful filet altar-pieces. Sheet No. 7, Baby Embroideries, gives various designs for tracing, which mothers will find helpful in making dainty baby things. Sheet No. 8, Bead Chains, is an answer to the plea for more patterns for the pretty and popular sautoirs. Watch the magazine each month for the announcement of new Special Service Sheets which may include the very things you most desire. Your turn is sure to come.”

As I mentioned in an earlier post, there is nothing new under the sun, not even delivering an individualized copy of a magazine or even just an article…

And talking about The Modern Priscilla, I was amazed to see all the calls to support the advertisers in the magazine in the folio of every editorial page.  Here are some of those marginalia nuggets of supporting the advertisers:

We guarantee the reliability of every advertisement in The Priscilla

Advertising identifies goods of unquestionable value

Read the advertisements before you turn the page

There is a world of interest in reading advertisements

Advertisements help you to live better, dress better, be better

Advertising keeps you posted

When you ask for an advertised article, don’t accept a substitute

Advertising offers money saving opportunities

It is safer to rely on advertised goods than on non-advertised goods

Advertisements are really interesting, read them and see

Things you need are advertised in every issue of The Modern Priscilla

Go shopping with our advertisers. We guarantee you against loss

The more you read advertising the more interesting if becomes

Cultivate the habit of specifying the brand you want to purchase

Advertisements are news. Good news – Timely news – Helpful News

The very thing you most desire may be advertised in this very issue

 

Precious audience first advice from a century ago… happy holidays, stay safe, stay well, and stay inside.  This shall pass too.

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From The Roaring 1920s To The Storming 2020s… A Mr. Magazine™ New Year’s Musing…

December 31, 2019

Welcome to 2020… 

Whether it’s going to be the “Roaring ‘20s” again in the world of magazines and magazine media or the “Storming ’20s”, remains to be seen. But rest assured 2020 will go into the history books as the year of excellent vision, as you can see from my series of conversations with the movers and shakers of the magazine media industry (part 7 appearing Thursday Jan. 2)…

You know, Mr. Magazine™ had to bring this “vision thing” somewhere into the blog.  Now, that the  “2020 vision” pun is out of the way, and while we wait for this New Year to unfold, Mr. Magazine™ deduced that it would be apropos at the very beginning to look back 100 years to see where and what the world of print media was celebrating that first year of what would become the Roaring ‘20s.

Needless to say, Henry Luce, founder of Time Inc. and all of its many magazines, had proclaimed to his readers that the 20th century would be known as the “American Century,” and when he launched TIME Magazine in 1923, it was a manifestation of that 20th century and what was going on at the time.

I decided in this New Year’s musing to reflect back on two titles that were actually published in that first week of 1920, the leading weekly illustrated newspaper at that time, Leslie’s Weekly and from the trade side of the business, Campbell’s Courant, formerly The Optimist.

If we take a peek at these two magazines we will discover a couple of things: one, we will see how that really was the beginning of the “American Century,” by taking a look at what the (then) Secretary of the Interior, Franklin Lane, wrote in the editorial of that issue of Leslie’s Weekly, which you will find below verbatim, and we’ll also take a look at what the powers-that-be at Campbell’s Soup wrote in the introduction of their magazine.

However, everything wasn’t hunky-dory at the beginning of the Roaring ‘20s any more than they are today. But there was a hopefulness in the air after the end of WWI. And it was the end of the famed printer’s strike. And during that time, we must remember that print was the only mass media people had, so it was a very vital part when it came to receiving current information. So, anything that affected print, affected the mass population across the nation.

Leslie’s Weekly was happy to announce that after all the disruptions due to the printer’s strike in New York, that they were moving back to New York City from Chicago where they had been printing now that the strike was over, as you will read in an excerpt found below from the publishers.

And as we approach our own, hopefully, the 2020s will be more roaring than storming. Let us stride bravely into the New Year as our counterparts from yesteryear did, knowing that the industry we all love is strong and resilient. And as Mr. Magazine™ continues his conversations with the great magazine makers of today, we will see that their vision of the future is definitely 2020!

Leslie’s Weekly Jan. 10, 1920

Know America

By Secretary of the Interior Lane

As Edward Everett Hale used to pray, “Teach us to know that we are sons of the living God,” so I would pray also that we might know that we are sons of a living America. To know that is to know that we can solve our difficulties, answer our problems, and go on growing. For a living America is one that is not static, fixed, traditional, but one that is moving, living, growing, and therefore always ready for the day’s work. We have an American way of doing things, not a European way. Because we have an American conscience and an American sense of justice and an American common sense – these are our traditions and they are equal to any task.

Leslie’s Weekly, Jan. 10, 1920

To All Leslie’s Subscribers

The publishers of Leslie’s are pleased to announce that the strike of printers in New York and vicinity has ended in an amicable settlement and that the printing of Leslie’s has been resumed at the Charles Schweinler Press, from which we will receive the same prompt and efficient service that we have enjoyed for many years past

The strike made it necessary to place our work temporarily with a Chicago firm, and we were fortunate in not missing an issue during the strike, but the difficulties of manufacturing the paper more than one thousand miles from the office of publication were so enormous that our issues were unavoidably late in appearing. As it is a physical impossibility to gain the time lost, it has been found necessary to combine the issues of December 13th, 20th and 27th  into one large number; also to combine the issues of January 3rd and 10th, and the issues of January 17th and 24th. We will in this way resume delivery of papers to our subscribers on the regular schedule during the month of January.

To make up to the subscribers the issues missed by the combinations, all subscriptions will be automatically extended for four numbers beyond the normal expiration date. No correspondence on this subject will be necessary, and we would ask all of our subscribers to note carefully this announcement and to refrain from sending us unnecessary complaints at a time when the entire energies of our organization are being devoted to the restoration of the subscription service to its normal high standard.

Campbell’s Courant, Jan. 1920

To you, dear reader, our customer or business associate, in whose interest this publication was conceived and in whose service it has its being – to you, we earnestly and hopefully re-dedicate it. May “The Courant” prove a helpful and cheering friend during the New Year.

 

Until the next time…

See you at the newsstands…

Both today’s and the ones from yesteryear…

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1919: A Pivotal Year For Magazines… A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

October 16, 2019

Mr. Magazine™ was relaxing in his vault recently when it dawned on him that the magazines of 1919 were looking back at him from all around the massive room. The faces of a century ago seemed to be channeling his psyche pointedly, beseeching him to tell their story. He stared back at them, turning slowly in a circle, absorbing their loud but silent pleas completely. And then he wrote this…

 The Year Was 1919

Reflecting the times has always been something that magazines do well; 100 years ago and today. The covers told the stories vividly. From Teddy Roosevelt on the cover of “The New Success,” to an editorial his son, Theodore Jr., wrote in “Our Boys” magazine, 1919 served as a year to remember in magazine history.

Highlights Of The Times

 In 1919, the first World War (or the Great War, as it was called back then) had just ended and the country was trying to absorb the effects, financially and emotionally. Woodrow Wilson was the leader of the free world and his dream of a League of Nations becomes a reality after the League Covenant is adopted at the Paris Peace Conference.

Also in 1919, a group of 19 magazine publishers from across the entire magazine publishing scene, from consumer to trade and farm publications, came together to form the National Association of Periodical Publishers, Inc., which later became MPA – The Association of Magazine Media.

The Role Of The Magazine

The role magazines played as experience makers was and still is remarkable. “Harper’s Bazaar,” for example, had its Christmas, 1919 edition, in which the magazine offered an invitation to its new and enlarged offices in the heart of fashionable Paris:

We cordially invite all Americans visiting on either pleasure or business to make these new Harper’s Bazar offices their Paris headquarters. Particularly do we wish to point out the advantages of consulting with our resident representatives there before embarking on shopping expeditions in fashion’s capital.  

In short, Harper’s Bazar was offering American newcomers to the city of Paris a verbal guide to the shops and couturiers of the city, advising Americans where to find what they wanted, how to get there, and even how much they should pay. A total experience with one of their favorite magazines, indeed.

When Magazines Ruled The Land

A century ago magazines ruled the land. From the mass general interest titles like “The Saturday Evening Post” and “The National Geographic Magazine” to the more specialized and niche publications such as “The Farm Journal” and “Field and Stream,” 100 hundred years ago the scepter of information and entertainment belonged to magazines.

And when it comes to specialty titles, niche magazines do not just belong to the 21st century. In 1919, there were singular topics covered on a regular basis in magazines: “Successful Farming,” “The American Legion Weekly,” “Photo-Era,” and the list goes on and on. So, being a niche magazine is not a new idea, it’s just a good idea that continues today.

Looking Good For Your Age

When something or someone lives to see 100 years or more, they know what the word longevity means. Magazines that have such a long heritage are indeed something very special. Today there are more than 50 print magazines that have flourished for more than 100 years.

From “Harper’s Bazaar” to “Scientific American,” “Good Housekeeping,” to “The Nation,” these legacy titles have become generational favorites over the years and each one of them are as relevant, informational and entertaining today as they were during the eras of their infancy. Magazines reflect our society no matter the year on the calendar. They always have and they always will.

When The Presses Stopped

Wanting higher wages and better hours in their work week, local unions in New York City made their demands clear in 1919 to their international unions, closing every magazine printing establishment in New York City by striking. The end result was magazines that were late being delivered and in some cases, not being delivered at all, such as with the November issue of Harper’s Bazar:

Harper’s Bazar, December, 1919

 In not publishing a November number, Harper’s Bazar skipped an issue for the first time in fifty-one years. This unprecedented occurrence was a result of the stand taken by New York Publishers in their controversy with the radical local printers who went on strike in defiance of the orders of their international unions. Even at the sacrifice of one of our most important issues of the year, Harper’s Bazar believed it necessary to stand together with all other New York Publishers in resisting the tyrannical demands of certain irresponsible leaders who were disowned by their own international unions and the American Federation of Labor. Subscribers will receive, instead of their November issues, one more number after the date on which their subscriptions would ordinarily expire.

And read the ad from the Periodical Publisher’s Association of America that appeared in the November issue of The National Geographic Magazine:

The Reason Why Magazines Published In New York City Will Be Late

Differences between certain local unions and their international unions have closed every magazine printing establishment in New York City. Some of the local unions have retained their membership in their international union, while the pressmen, feeders, and paper handlers have seceded and struck. These local unions demand a 32½ to 44- hour week and an increase of $14 per week, with double and triple pay for overtime, to take effect immediately. The international unions contend that the men should return to work and the entire matter be left to arbitration.

The publishers of the magazines meanwhile must suspend publication until the unions fight out their differences. This means “Collier’s Weekly,” “McClure’s,” “Pictorial Review,” “Cosmopolitan,” “Hearst’s Magazine,” “Harper’s Bazar,” “Good Housekeeping,” “Harper’s Magazine,” “Metropolitan,” “Scribner’s Magazine,” “Century,” “Munsey’s,” “Popular,” “Delineator,” “Everybody’s Magazine,” “McCall’s,” “Popular Science Monthly,” “Vogue,”  “Vanity Fair,” “Motion Picture Magazine,”, and 152 others, as well as many of the largest trade papers in the country, will not appear on time as usual.

Some of the publishers are making plans to remove their plants from New York to other places, and many Western cities are bidding vigorously to induce these publishers to consider their particular localities. Three very large publications have already completed plans for permanent removal, and their printing machinery and paper supply are now being shipped to Chicago.

The millions of readers of the publications affected by the strike are requested to be patient and to refrain from writing the publishers concerning delays in receipt of magazines. It will be only a question of a short time until the presses will again be running.

(Signed): Periodical Publisher’s Association of America.

NEW YORK CITY, October 10, 1919

The times were difficult, but magazines stayed strong.

Audience First

Putting the reader first was always important to magazines, even in 1919  and remains the mantra today. A magazine that was the backbone of what is now the Meredith Corporation, “Successful Farming” proudly stated it was for: the busy, practical working farmers of America whose interests determine its policy. The magazine published in the interest of the reader. And you can’t argue with that statement. If you don’t take care of your readers, your publication will not know success. It was true in 1919 and it’s still true today. Without your audience, what do you have? A nice book of information that no one is interested in.

Mr. Magazine™ Reflects…

Suffice it to say that 100 years have passed since 1919. Many things have changed; many things. However, some things haven’t. Information, entertainment, niche brands, and the most exquisite experiences can all still be found in magazines. That is a fact that has not, and will not ever change. Magazines and Mr. Magazine™ himself, if I may be so bold as to toot my own horn, are staunch advocates for the print experience. Both of us love to inform, entertain and create inimitable happenings in people’s lives that no pixels can recreate. Seeing us both in the flesh is quite the experience. And you know what they say… if it’s true, it ain’t bragging.

Until the next time…

Mr. Magazine™ will see you at the newsstands, somewhere between today and the portals of the past…

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The Collectability Factor of the Magazine Cover – Try & Claim That With Digital…

September 9, 2019

Want to see my picture on the cover

(Stone)Wanna’ buy five copies for my mother (yes)

(Stone)Wanna’ see my smilin’ face

On the cover of the Rollin’ Stone

…Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show

 A Mr. Magazine™ Musing…

Attention getting, brand making, sometimes controversial, but above all – inspiring; magazine covers are the gateway into a publication’s inner sanctum: its contents. And as the good Dr. Hook sang in Cover of the Rolling Stone, seeing one’s face on the front of a magazine can be Utopia for a celebrity’s career, even if it’s a controversial cover. After all, if it ignites a firestorm of conversation about the person or the object on that front door, what could be better? Actual ink on paper legitimizes in a way that digital just can’t. With the open-door policy of digital, you can find just about anyone or anything online, but I can promise you that my third cousin, twice-removed, will not be on the cover of People magazine…unless of course, he sweeps Miley Cyrus away from her latest “till death do us part.” And that ain’t happening.

And the second line of the song’s chorus: Wanna’ buy five copies for my mother – well, that’s something else to consider. There is nothing more intoxicating than the collectability factor of an ink on paper magazine and its cover. Granted, you can find just about any and all magazine covers and their contents online, but Mr. Magazine™ is positive that a generation from now, you won’t find them still waiting on you to revisit. Collectability is a leg-up for print that cyberspace just can’t compete with.

Take the current issue of Women’s Health, for example. Julianne Hough is the cover star of the Women’s Health Naked Strength issue and appears on five different covers of the magazine’s September issue. The actress, singer, and America’s Got Talent judge, saw this as a transformational year for her and decided to commemorate it with the magazine photo shoot. It’s monumental for her and her fans, and monumental for Women’s Health, since there are five different covers for those fans and fans of the magazine to collect. It’s a win-win situation for all.

Men’s Health decided its Fall 2019 Guide to Style needed to showcase Tom Brady in two different covers, front and back, with different cover lines for subscribers and for the newsstands. The quarterback for the New England Patriots has never had more collectability value than on these great covers.


Publishers have realized that there’s more to the front door of the book these days than merely creating a dynamic one-only magazine cover. Just like the collectability of the posters of yesteryear within titles like Tiger Beat and Teen Beat; magazine covers can become that addictive to collect, because people love to attain all of an item, especially if they know there’s more than one out there to get.

 

The September issue of Good Housekeeping is celebrating the 110th anniversary of its Seal of Approval, with four different covers. And for GH fans, this will be epic, collecting and sharing each of these covers among its communities.

The Source, the original hip hop website and magazine, published a two-cover Special Edition recently called “The Future” issue, and in The Source’s case, both covers are numbered with either 1 of 2 or 2 of 2, so there’s no mistaking for fans how many collectables are out there.

Magazine covers have always been the selling point of a publication to its audience, but today with digital able to provide fingertip content, the covers are even more valuable. They give your ink on paper publication something digital can’t: they give it in-your-face, tactile collectability. And that’s very valuable.

Until next time…see you at the newsstands

Mr. Magazine™ will be there collecting covers…

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Charles Lindbergh – No Fan Of The American Press – Sound Familiar? A Mr. Magazine™ Blast From The Past, Circa May, 1954

September 5, 2019

Mr. Magazine™ stepped into his vintage vault recently and found a most interesting article in the May, 1954 issue of Focus magazine. This pocket-sized treasure could occasionally pack a powerful punch. In this issue there is a story very reflective of a present-day leader whose opinion of American journalists and news media may only be surpassed by the charismatic gentleman who’s the subject of this article.

The Title of the article: The Men Who Hate Lindbergh tells the story of Charles A. Lindbergh’s immersive hatred of the American press. From the subterfuge by a Chicago Tribune reporter in 1925 that ultimately began the very rocky relationship between the famous aviator and the world of news journalism, to the media coverage of the kidnapping-murder of the Lindbergh’s baby boy, the press and Charles Lindbergh did not share a mutual bond of respect or admiration; quite the opposite, in fact.

And Mr. Magazine™ found it quite ironic that in today’s media world, the animosity between journalists and our current leader of the free world is very reminiscent of the days of Mr. Lindbergh and his opinion of the press. Although, most journalists today would tell you they have never known a more twisted view  toward news content than the one President Trump has, but Mr. Magazine™ would beg to differ. While media people working today might say Trump is the orneriest of public figures in history when it comes to his relationship with the press, I would ask them to read this article about another legacy public figure who might put the president to shame.

One more note of comparison, both men, also share another similarity:  They were both named by TIME magazine as the Man of the Year, changed in 1999 to Person of the Year. Charles Lindbergh was the first person to be named by TIME magazine for such an honor in 1927,  and President Donald Trump was named for such an honor in 2016, 89 years after Lindbergh.

It just goes to show you that magazines have never been afraid to touch controversy, whether it’s a famous pilot who was the first man to cross the Atlantic, or the first president who doesn’t seem to have any verbal filters at all. Both men are controversial, and both men have seen their fair share of magazine articles written about them. And whether you like them or loathe them, you can definitely find them between the pages of a magazine somewhere, either a magazine from yesterday or one on newsstands today.

So, take a look and have a read and let me know who you think disliked the American press more, Lindbergh or the president. Mr. Magazine™ looks forward to hearing from you.

Until the next time…

The Men Who Hate Lindbergh

Flier Wages Bitter War With Men Who Claim They “Made” Him

Known as one of the world’s most laconic men, a balding, greying, 52-year-old hero recently broke silence, told all. In a long (562 pages), painstakingly-written (it took him 14 years) best-seller (The Spirit of St. Louis), Brig. Gen. Charles Augustus Lindbergh tells for the first time the complete story of what went on in his mind when he became the first man ever to pilot a plane across the Atlantic Ocean. Startling current which runs throughout his narration: the inside story of the savage, no-holds-barred skirmishes carried on between Lindbergh and the working press.

It’s an old feud. One veteran newspaperman, Robert J. Casey, recalls a wet day in February, 1925, as the time Charles A. Lindbergh declared war on the American press. Floyd Collins had been trapped in a Kentucky cave under 6 tons of stone, and the struggle to save his life had become an international drama. To cater to the demand for up-to-the-minute pictures of the dying Collins, the Chicago Herald-Examiner arranged to have its photos flown to Chicago from the scene of the accident. Their special pilot: a slender, blond, mail-run flier named “Slim” Lindbergh.

When Lindbergh arrived at the cave to pick up the photographic plates, he was spotted by a reporter on the Herald-Examiner’s arch-rival, the Chicago Tribune. Seeing a chance to sabotage the opposition, the Trib reporter thrust a box of unexposed plates into the young flier’s hands. “Get this stuff back to Chicago as quick as you can,” he snapped. Lindbergh sped away on his fool’s errand, flying blank photographic plates all the way back to Chicago.

But years before he spun his first prop, Charlie Lindbergh had been taught that journalists were “liars.” When his socialist father (Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr., who ran for Governor of Minnesota in 1918) was stoned in the streets by “patriots” who objected to his assertion that WWI was a vast “Wall Street scheme,” the father told his son not to blame the public. “The people do not know the facts,” the older man had said. “They are blinded by propaganda and the mouthings of the kept press.”

 Young Lindbergh never quite overcame the idea that all newspapers tinkered with the truth. In his book, Lindbergh tells of the part played by the press in his historic flight across the Atlantic: “I wanted publicity on this flight… Newspapers are important. I wanted their help. I wanted headlines. And I knew that headlines bring crowds… The excesses are what bother me – the silly stories, the constant photographing, the composite pictures, the cheap values that such things bring. Why can’t newspapers accept facts as they are? Why smother the flavor of life in a spice of fiction?”

Actions of a Hearst newspaper photographer in December, 1935, turned Lindbergh’s dislike of the U.S. press into hatred. Tortured by the personal tragedy of the kidnap-murder of his small son, Charles, Jr. – for which Bruno Richard Hauptmann was electrocuted – Lindbergh was horrified when the photographer forced his car to the side of the road in an attempt to “steal” a picture of his other son, Jon, then 2 years old. Cold with fury, Lindbergh moved his family out of the U.S.

In the years that followed, the “Lone Eagle” bolstered his unpopularity by throwing the weight of his famous name on the side of isolationist “America-Firsters,” many of whom believed in Adolf Hitler’s preachings. Lindbergh traveled to Germany, accepted the Service Cross of the Order of the German Eagle “in the name of the Fuhrer” from Hermann Goering. When, on his return to the U.S., he began to expound Nazi doctrine (“There are 3 groups trying to get America into war – the British, the Jews and the Administration”), even the most reserved newspapers attacked him. Editorialized the New York Herald Tribune: “Lindbergh has departed from the American way.”

Lindy: “Accuracy, I’ve Learned, Is Second to Circulation”

That Lindbergh’s feelings have not changed was demonstrated only a few months ago. When the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences honored him at N.Y.’s Hotel Astor for his “pioneering achievements in flight and air navigation,” Lindbergh agreed to appear only on the condition that no pictures be taken, no interviews given out. Half a dozen “waiters” at the banquet were in reality detectives assigned to keep the press out. Outside the hotel, half-frozen reporters and photographers turned the air blue with their views on the 20th century’s most famous airman.

“Did you hear,” he asked a photographer, “about the time Lindy knocked down an NKVD man in Russia? When he learned who the guy was, he looked him up and apologized. He had the perfect excuse – he had mistaken the Commie for a newspaper reporter.”

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Beau: The Man’s Magazine Of The 1920s… Defining Upscale Audiences While Fighting Censorship… A Mr. Magazine™ Blast From The Past

August 28, 2019

Beau addresses itself to those who live well, dine well, dress well, play well, read well, work well, sleep well and die well. It is distinctly a magazine for moderns, for epicureans, for sophisticates. It is written with masculine vigor and strength; for, though Beau professes itself the friend of the ladies, it regrets the almost exclusive attention paid by magazine editors to the feminine taste. So Beau declares itself a magazine dedicated to the male point of view, though willing, even anxious to welcome the ladies as readers. (Beau, Volume One, Number One, October 1926)

The more I dig into the old magazines, the more I discover personalities and magazine makers that somehow during my studies of publishing history, and my professors’ teachings, were either marginalized or were not mentioned enough, in terms of the role they played in the American magazine industry.

One such person I’m discovering is Samuel Roth, who published at least five different magazines during his tenure from the 1920s all the way to the 1950s, including Two Worlds Monthly and one that really caught my attention, which he referred to as the man’s magazine, Beau. (See Mr. Roth’s concept for the magazine above). Beau was a magazine that, almost like all of his other titles, was very high-priced, almost 50 cents per issue. His reason for that was because he didn’t want his magazines to be bought by common folks. In fact, he would have preferred his magazines to be sold only to doctors, lawyers, and other upper-echelon professionals.

As he mentioned in one of his editorials, after his February 1927 issue was banned from distribution in New York City, his man’s magazine was devoted to the comforts and luxuries of living.  His argument for that line of thinking was that he didn’t want common people to get “cheap thrills” from his magazine; it was for the sophisticated only. That he wasn’t appealing to the baser natures of mankind, but rather the more educated and elite of society.

What follows are some quotes that he wrote in an editorial from March 1927 after the February issue of Beau from that same year was banned from distribution in New York City, and the fascinating description of what the magazine was all about:

“Two Worlds Monthly and Beau are written and published for the sophisticated only, that neither by lewd pictures or lewd contents do we make appeal to the baser passions of mankind.”

 “Two Worlds Monthly was quite alright, he said (he being, John Sumner, secretary of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice), and we could go ahead distributing it immediately, but Beau, ah, that was a different story. It was absolutely unthinkable to let Beau go out on the harmless newsstands dripping with nudes, which any little boy may purchase for fifteen cents. No, said Mr. Sumner, he did not approve Beau and if I dared to issue it of my own accord he would unfailingly prosecute me.”

 Here is a small excerpt from that March 1927 editorial:

Here, cried my friends, is your opportunity for plenty of publicity – publicity that will create a vast demand for your magazines. But strange as it may seem, I did not follow their advice, I did not take the matter into court with Mr. Sumner. Such publicity, I felt, would bring many readers to Two Worlds Monthly and Beau, but not the sort of readers I want. Such publicity would bring me readers who look to magazines for filth whereas all we have to offer is wit, beauty, and gaiety. It would be taking an unfair advantage of the poor dubs.

But I want the readers of Beau to judge between myself and Mr. Sumner. Mr. Sumner characterizes as filth the famous suppressed Franklin letter To The Academy of Brussels,and the Paul Morand story Finding Your Woman in Paris, whereas I regard them as exquisite satirical compositions calculated to enrich the life of every man or woman capable of reading them.

What is more, I think the suppressed number of Beau probably the most beautiful copy of any magazine ever printed in America.

Samuel Roth

I physically own the particular copy of Beauthat caused this bit of controversy. Ironically, there is no nudity, such as Sumner speaks of with the description: “dripping with nudes.”  But Samuel Roth is definitely a gentleman from that past that made his mark known in the word of magazines, and nudity in his other titles was prevalent.

We’ll discover more about Mr. Roth in the future as I delve more into his past and the magazines he published.

Until the next time…

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