- The Saturday Evening Post
"The Saturday Evening Post" was a weekly
magazinepublished in the United Statesfrom August 4, 1821to February 8, 1969. From 1897, it was published by Curtis Publishing Company. Curtis claimed the magazine was descended from "The Pennsylvania Gazette", founded in 1728 by Benjamin Franklinalthough the magazine's first issue was published more than 30 years after Franklin's death. According to historians and circulation numbers, the magazine gained prominent status under the leadership of its editor (1899-1937) George Horace Lorimer.
"The Saturday Evening Post" published current events articles, editorials, human interest pieces, humor, illustrations, a letter column, poetry (including work written by readers), single-panel
cartoons and stories. It was known for commissioning lavish illustrations and original works of fiction. The illustrations were featured on the cover, and embedded in stories and advertising. Some "Post" illustrations became popular and continue to be reproduced as posters or prints, especially those by Norman Rockwell.
In 1916, "Saturday Evening Post" editor George Lorimer discovered Rockwell, then an unknown 22-year-old New York artist. Lorimer promptly purchased two illustrations from Rockwell, using them as covers, and commissioned three more drawings. Rockwell's illustrations of the American family and rural life of a bygone era became icons. He painted for the "Post" until 1963.
The "Post" also employed
Nebraskaartist John Philip Falter, who became known "as a painter of Americana with an accent of the Middle West," who "brought out some of the homeliness and humor of Middle Western town life and home life." He produced 120 covers for the "Post" between 1943 and 1968, ceasing only when the magazine began displaying photographs on its covers. Other cover illustrators include the artists N.C. Wyeth, J. C. Leyendeckerand John E. Sheridan.
Each issue featured several original short stories and often included an installment of a serial appearing in successive issues. Most of the fiction was written for mainstream tastes by popular writers, but some literary writers were featured. The opening pages of stories featured paintings by the leading magazine illustrators. The "Post" published stories and essays by
Ray Bradbury, Kay Boyle, Agatha Christie, Brian Cleeve, F. Scott Fitzgerald, C. S. Forester, Paul Gallico, Hammond Innes, Louis L'Amour, C. S. Lewis, Joseph C. Lincoln, John P. Marquand, Sax Rohmer, William Saroyan, John Steinbeckand Rex Stout.
Emblematic of the "Post's" fiction was author
Clarence Budington Kelland, who first appeared in 1916-17 with stories of homespun heroes, Efficiency Edgarand Scattergood Baines. Kelland was a steady presence from 1922 until 1961, when the magazine reduced its fiction content.
For many years William Hazlett Upson contributed stories about Earthworm Tractors salesman Alexander Botts. Publication in the "Post" launched careers and helped established artists and writers stay afloat.
P. G. Wodehousesaid "the wolf was always at the door" until the "Post" gave him his "first break" in 1915 by serializing "Something New". [cite web |url= http://www.theparisreview.com/media/3773_WODEHOUSE.pdf |title=The Art of Fiction - P.G. Wodehouse |accessdate=2008-06-09 |date=2005 (reprint) |work=The Paris Review |format=pdf |pages=21 ]
After the election of
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "Post" columnist Garet Garrettbecame a vocal critic of the New Deal. Garrett accused the Roosevelt administration of initiating socialiststrategies. After Lorimer died, Garrett became editorial writer-in-chief and criticized the Roosevelt administration's support of the U.K. and efforts to prepare to enter what became World War 2. Garrett's positions aroused controversy and may have cost the "Post" readers and advertisers.
The "Post" declined in the late 1950s and 1960s. The decline of general interest magazines was blamed on
television, which competed for advertizers and readers' attention. The "Post" had problems retaining readers: the public's taste in fiction was changing, and the "Post" 's conservative politics and values remained controversial. Content by popular writers became harder to obtain. Prominent authors drifted away to newer magazines offering more money and status, like " Playboy Magazine". As a result, the "Post" published more articles on current events and cut costs by replacing illustrations with photographs for covers and advertisements.
Curtis Publishing Co. stopped publishing the "Post" after the company lost a landmark
defamationsuit, Curtis Publishing Co. v. Butts388 U.S. 130 ( 1967) [ussc|Source=f|388|130|1967] resulting from an article, and was ordered to pay $3,060,000 in damagesto the plaintiff. The "Post" article implied that football coaches Paul "Bear" Bryant and Wally Buttsconspired to fix a game between the University of Alabamaand the University of Georgia. Butts sued Curtis Publishing Co. for defamation. The case went to the Supreme Court, which held that libeldamages may be recoverable (in this instance against a news organization) if the injured party is a non-public official. But the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was guilty of a reckless lack of professional standards when examining allegations for reasonable credibility.
Otto Friedrich, the magazine's last managing editor, blamed the death of the "Post" on Curtis. In his "Decline and Fall" (Harper & Row, 1970), an account of the magazine's final years (1962-1969), he argued that corporate management was unimaginative and incompetent. Friedrich acknowledges the "Post" faced challenges as the tastes of American readers changed over the course of the 1960s, but he insisted that the magazine maintained a standard of quality and was appreciated by readers.
In 1971, the "Post" was revived as a quarterly publication with health and medical articles for the lay reader. [cite news | last = Anonymous| title = Return of the Post| work = "Time Magazine"| date =
June 14 1971
url = http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,909890-2,00.html
accessdate = 2008-04-12] Currently, the "Saturday Evening Post" is published six times a year by the "Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society", a 501(c)(3)
Steve Allenwrote a song inspired by the magazine's title.
(from the purchase by Curtis, 1898)
William George Jordan(1898-1899)
George Horace Lorimer(1899-1937)
Wesley Winans Stout(1937-1942)
Clay Blair, Jr.(1962-1964)
William A. Emerson, Jr.(1965-1969)
Cory SerVaas, M.D. (1975-present)
* [http://yamaguchy.netfirms.com/7897401/benito/ruin.html Upson, William Hazlett. "We’re Going to Ruin the Lower Classes." "The Saturday Evening Post", January 24, 1931 (full text).]
* Cyrus Curtis
John Philip Falter
Ladies' Home Journal"
J. C. Leyendecker
John E. Sheridan (illustrator)
* [http://www.satevepost.org Saturday Evening Post website]
* [http://www.curtispublishing.com/ Saturday Evening Post illustration archive]
* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAlorimer.htm George Horace Lorimer]
* [http://store.sepstore.org/info.html Benjamin Franklin Literary & Medical Society] - current publisher of the Post
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.