Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Summer reading: Truth Magazine, 1899 [part 1]

" How racy was this?"


Here are some scans from summer issues of Truth magazine from 1899. I have not been able to found a lot of information on this social commentary publication, but from what I found on PBS's History Detectives website has been quite interesting. Here's an excerpt from an interview:

Rich West: It’s a great image. This is very typical of the work that he did for “Truth” magazine in the 1890s.
Wes: I’m not familiar with “Truth” magazine.
Rich: It was a dominant 1890s publication. They called themselves “the handsomest illustrated magazine in the world.”
Wes: Oh, great!
Rich: And this is an example, I think, of why it could rightly claim that title.
Wes: So, Rich, have you seen this particular image in “Truth?”
Rich: It’s vaguely familiar to me. I may have seen it before, but I can’t really place it.
Wes: So what exactly would this have looked like in the magazine?
Rich: Well, I’m sure they had the name “Truth” up at the top that’s been trimmed off and there most certainly was a caption on the bottom that’s been lost.
Wes: Really?
Rich: It’s very rare to find any 1890s artwork where the editor couldn’t resist putting in a tag line. Yeah, I suspect it’s not because the artist supplied these beautiful drawings, but the editors supplied the captions, and my guess is it’s probably wittier than that.

Wes: Do you have any copies of “Truth?”
Rich: Yes.
Wes: Can we take a look at some?
Rich: Sure, let’s go.
Wes: Okay, great.
Rich: So there’s a woman on the cover.
Wes: That’s unusual, isn’t it?
Rich: Yes, especially this early. Of course, after the turn of the century, every magazine in America had a woman on the cover, but at this time, it was an unusual thing.
Wes: How racy was this?
Rich: There were a lot of libraries that refused to subscribe to a magazine like “Truth” because it was not appropriate family reading matter.

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