Daily Archives: October 1, 2012

October Century

To set the tone for October, always a month of highs (my birthday, beautiful weather and scenery, baseball) and lows (Salem’s transformation into full-blown Witch City, baseball) for me, I am starting off with some lovely images from Century Magazine, the popular successor to Scribner’s which was distinguished by the quality of its illustrations and its emphasis on popular history (lots of Civil War memoirs, and Napoleon) and serialized fiction by the most renown authors of the day. It was published from 1881 to 1930, an era which was clearly a golden age of graphic design. Collaborations between notable authors and artists distinguished Century prior to World War I; one of my favorites was that of Julian Hawthorne, son of Nathaniel, and Harry Fenn on an article from 1884 entitled “The Salem of Hawthorne”. Fenn’s Custom House is below.

Another eminent Century author was Theodore Roosevelt, who penned several articles on the West in the later 1880s (with illustrations by Frederic Remington) and one on the heroism of the New York City Police Department after he had become its commissioner!

Most of Century covers are pretty sedate: more money, and emphasis, was invested in what was between the covers, and on advertising posters to sell each issue:  “coming attractions” for the literary world, a century ago.

Century cover and posters from the 1890s and 1910s, New York Public Library Digital Gallery.

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