Back then a published magazine was a production, this edition is large at 11 inches x 14 inches, heavy paper, 126 full pages, some beautiful paintings inside, magnificent ads, fascinating writings reflecting the history of the times and sold for $1, an amount that seemed pricey to me for 1933. Because the magazine is larger than my scanner can accommodate, I took photos; it is pretty good shape for it's age although there are a couple pages where something had been cut out. The automobile ads are amazing, stay tuned perhaps next week.
|Front cover Artist is Ernest Hamlin Baker|
online and learned the most from Wikipedia including the urban legend about the price :
"Fortune is a global business magazine published by Time Inc.'s Fortune Money Group and co-founded by Henry Luce in February 1930, four months after the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that marked the onset of the Great Depression. Briton Hadden, Luce's partner, wasn't enthusiastic about the idea—which Luce originally thought to title Power—but Luce went forward with it after Hadden's February 27, 1929 death (probably of septicemia). Luce wrote a memo to the Time, Inc. board in November 1929, "We will not be over-optimistic. We will recognize that this business slump may last as long as an entire year."
Single copies of that first issue cost $1 at a time when the Sunday New York Times was only 5¢. At a time when business publications were little more than numbers and statistics printed in black and white, Fortune was an oversized 11"×14", using creamy heavy paper, and art on a cover printed by a special process. Fortune was also noted for its photography, featuring the work of Margaret Bourke-White and others. Walker Evans served as its photography editor from 1945–1965.
An urban legend says that art director T. M. Clelland mocked up the cover of the first issue with the $1 price because nobody had yet decided how much to charge; the magazine was printed before anyone realized it, and when people saw it for sale, they thought that the magazine must really have worthwhile content. In fact, there were 30,000 subscribers who had already signed up to receive that initial 184-page issue. During the Great Depression, Fortune developed a reputation for its social conscience, for Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White's color photographs, and for a team of writers including James Agee, Archibald MacLeish, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Alfred Kazin, hired specifically for their writing abilities."
I'll be keeping my eyes pealed at sales for a copy of the first Fortune, the original 1930 copy.
Check out this glamorous ad for Chase and Sanborn tea, I have never seen the like. The ad was adjacent to artwork and research about tea. The article starts, "Tea for sale, the business was routine until Chase & Sanborn announced the tea that 'sways the senses' the advertising was dull until J. Walter Thompson discovered the emotional lift."
I was unaware that tea had been so romantically pitched. The article includes photos and information about the notables of the thriving tea companies of the era, "Gentlemen of Tea." The rise of the tea industry and ad campaigns to promote its consumption and awaken the industry from "taking its beverage for granted" is interesting reading.
The next color photo is of a billboard produced by the J Walter Thompson advertising agency that initiated the stirring about tea consumption. The article "...you see a romantic episode conducted with the aid of tall glasses of tea. Not highballs. Not Tom Collinses. Not mint juleps. Simply tea. The text clearly suggests that the gazes of this handsome couple would not be half so ardent were it not for those beakers of tea." This billboard was prominent in Boston, Hartford, Detroit, and Cleveland. It is the inception of big time tea advertising which according to the writer had been "humdrum" before Chase and Sanborn went romantic.
Page 37, excerpt above, reported about Chinese teas amidst 4 lovely paintings, in which the buildings and trees don't appear oriental to me, but that was 1933. Below are two of the four paintings by an unidentified artist.
I will share more from this magazine in future Sepia posts, but have used this week's up on tea; I learned that our Boston Tea Party was not our only tea controversy. Fortune magazine is still published today but to my knowledge does not have such artwork. I will have to check out a copy at the stand my next trip to Barnes and Noble.
One non tea related photo from the back of the magazine, an international one to go with our international group here on Sepia, the heir of the month, Adolph Spreckels and his bride. Notice the fortune declined from $26 million to $16 million! Does he appear concerned? Does she? Not hardly.
As always click on the title to this post to see others Sepia contributions from the host site. I think I feel an urge for a cup of tea now!