Wait, what? A fortune in the Great Depression? They were certainly out there, and Fortune magazine was reporting on them. I unearthed this gem while perusing the New England Motel field at Brimfield last month, the July 1935 issue of Fortune. I’m always drawn to old periodicals, books and documents—nothing like primary source material! But the words within aren’t the only voice from the past contained within; the art and advertising speak volumes too!
When I spied a stack of oversized mags in the booth of a generalist, I had a feeling they were Fortunes; their size and thickness always catch my eye. I wish you could experience the quality of the paper! The pages are all heavy weight; even the rough-textured secondary pages are thick. This issue is in fairly good condition, but has a piece torn off the back cover, so I got a discount! Works for me since I bought it for the content!
Teaser: I’ve been gathering sources for a series of pieces on women’s issues through the years. I had that subject in mind as I shopped the market that day, and was surprised and delighted when I found this particular issue in the pile: it features gorgeous cover art of a woman working an industrial loom. Flipping to the Table of Contents I found this was part one of a three-part series on Women in Business. Frankly, I was shocked! I just had to have the 1935 point of view on that subject.
This issue also has an article on the opening of Colonial Williamsburg—sold!
I’ll save the article content for future posts, so let’s just enjoy the “look” of 1935…
The advertising tells us just who this magazine is for: successful, white businessmen. Lots of automobile and auto-related ads, vacations, liquor and insurance ads focusing on the white male perspective make this very clear. Even the Heinz tomato juice ad is masculine…and pretty awesome!
This ad looks like it came straight out of a Busby Berkeley number!
…and high-end liquor… “fetch me the key?” The ad is depicting an era gone-by, before the maker took his distilled goods to market. Even so, the graphic speaks volumes about who the reader is…and isn’t.
And this is just hilarious! Inhaling smoke into your lungs doesn’t “get your wind?” I guess if the “athletes” say it, it must be true…
This ad is geared toward the pirate market segment. Great marketing, huh? You have to look for the company name, and the product isn’t pictured! I guess they did okay though, in spite of confusing marketing…it’s for Mimeograph! This high-tech company chose to feature an old chest instead of its machine. Of course it’s a treasure chest, but still, you have to admit, it’s an interesting choice!
Hey look! Women! These are the only women in the magazine, outside of the Women in Business article. And I see we are still worried about blow-outs in 1935…
Pop-quiz! What architecture style is this? (Hint: one of my favorites that often gets confused…)
Ladies and gentlemen! The Rich White Dudes Only Advertising Award goes to…Linings by Skinner! What the heck is that you might ask? It’s a company that makes lining for clothes. That’s right. If you are reading this mag, you should be someone who has your clothing made to order. And if you are worth your salt, you should be calling out the lining manufacturer to your tailor.
Interestingly, the advertising gets the glossy paper (I imagine they paid for it!), and the articles get the rough paper. I like how they supplemented photos with paintings and drawings to illustrate the articles. Here are some examples.
Unfortunately (no pun intended), the dealer didn’t have the August and September issues, so I don’t have parts two and three of the Women in Business series…yet. Internet and Boston Public Library, here I come!
Can you guess the focus of Women in Business part 1? Do you enjoy old magazines too? Let’s discuss in the comments below, and check Facebook next week for bonus nuggets from this issue.