The Art of Book Design: The Springtime of Life, poems of childhood

Algernon Charles Swinburn. Springtide of Life. Illustrated by Arthur Rackham. Philadelphia, J.B. Lippincott: London, W. Heinemann, 1918.

Today’s children’s book is a collection of poetry dedicated to the early life of children by Algernon Swinburn. It was published posthumously, as a collection according to the author’s wishes and was illustrated by one of the era’s most prolific and respected artists, Arthur Rackham. I’ve included all the full-page colour plates, but the book also contains a wealth of line drawings of chubby cherubs and well-fed babies, a minimum of one per poem. I’m very fond of Rackham’s artwork and I hope it brings some pleasure to your day. [Read more…]

The Art of Book Design: Spicy Stories

 Spicy Stories, Sept. 1936.

I can deal with the skimpy outfit for grass cutting, but the heels are a bit much. Also, why must the woman look so happy when she is obviously about to have an accident with that mower. Nonetheless, this was an early men’s magazine, and it isn’t just the stories that are “spicy,” there are also titillating drawings and a few nude photos. Mild by today’s standard, but pretty saucy for the 1930’s. If you check out the magazine at the link below, be advised that it’s NSFW. Also, take a moment or two to read the ads at the back of the issue. They’re a hoot.


via: The Internet Archive

The Art of Book Design: Weird Tales

Weird Tales, November 1938.

Weird Tales was begun in 1922 by J.C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger under Baird Publishers, but it floundered. In 1924, Henneberger moved the concept to Wright Publishers and it prospered there for the next 15 years. It became a popular and well-known place for many famous science fiction writers, including H.P. Lovecraft whose Cthulhu stories first appeared in the magazine. The magazine continued until 1954 when it folded, but it has been relaunched a few times (first in 1973), most successfully in 1988 where the magazine continued under several different publishers for the next 20 years or so. The title was changed in the mid 90’s to Worlds of Fantasy & Horror because of licensing issues, but it retook its original name in 1998.


via: The Internet Archive


The Art of Book Design: True Detective Mysteries

McFadden Publishing. True Detective Mysteries, June 1928.

There were many imitators over the years, but True Detectives Mysteries (later known simply as ‘True Detective’) is the original true crime magazine, and ran from 1924 until 1971, under McFadden Publishers and from 1971 – 1995 under several other publishers.

The Art of Book Design: True Confessions

Fawcett Publications. True Confessions, August 1922.

The originator of yesterday’s pulp magazine, Wilber Hamilton Fawcett, went on to establish this well-known pulp magazine in 1922. It became wildly popular and survived well into modern times. It folded sometime in 2018, but specific information is difficult to find.

via: The Internet Archive

The Art of Book Design: Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang

Wilber Hamilton Fawcett. Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang, January 1922.

Welcome to pulp week at The Art of Book Design. Capt. Billy’s Whiz Bang was first published in October of 1919, and became incredibly popular during the 1920s, despite outcries that the magazine was immoral and corrupt. At one point, the magazine was selling up to 425,000 copies per month, but with the onset of the depression, people had less discretionary money, the light-hearted humour of the magazine went out of fashion, and the magazine folded in 1934.

via: The Pulp Magazine Archive, at the Internet Archive