Adventure (magazine)

Adventure v01 n01.jpg
Cover of the first issue, November 1910
Former editorsTrumbull White (1910–1912)
Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (1912–1927)
Joseph Cox (1927)
Anthony Rud (1927–1930)
Albert A. Proctor (1930–1934)
William Corcoran (1934)
Howard V. L. Bloomfield (1934–1940)
Kenneth S. White (1941–1948)
Kendall Goodwyn (1949–1951)
Ejler Jakobsson (1951–1953)
Alden Norton (1954–1964)
Peter Gannett (1965–1970)
Carson Bingham (1970–1971)[1]
CategoriesPulp magazine
First issueNovember 1910
Final issue
881 issues

Adventure was an American pulp magazine that was first published in November 1910[3] by the Ridgway company, an offshoot of the Butterick Publishing Company. Adventure went on to become one of the most profitable and critically acclaimed of all the American pulp magazines.[4] The magazine had 881 issues. The magazine's first editor was Trumbull White, he was succeeded in 1912 by Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (1876–1966), who would edit the magazine until 1927.[5][6]

The Hoffman Era

In its first decade, Adventure carried fiction from such notable writers as Rider Haggard, Rafael Sabatini, Baroness Orczy, Damon Runyon and William Hope Hodgson.[7] Subsequently, the magazine cultivated its own group of authors (who Hoffman dubbed his "Writers' Brigade"). Each member of the "Writer's Brigade" had his or her own particular fictional bailiwicks. These included Talbot Mundy (Colonial India and Ancient Rome), T.S. Stribling (detective stories), Arthur O. Friel (South America), brothers Patrick and Terence Casey ("hobo" stories), J. Allan Dunn (the South Seas), Harold Lamb (Medieval Europe and Asia), Hapsburg Liebe (Westerns), Gordon Young (South Pacific stories and urban thrillers), [8] Arthur D. Howden Smith (Viking era and US history), H. Bedford-Jones (historical warfare), W.C. Tuttle (humorous Westerns), Gordon MacCreagh (Burma and East Africa), [9] Henry S. Whitehead (the Virgin Islands), Hugh Pendexter (US history), Robert J. Pearsall (China), and L. Patrick Greene (Southern Africa). [10]

In 1912, Hoffman and his assistant,the novelist Sinclair Lewis created a popular identity card with a serial number for readers. If the bearer were killed, someone finding the card would notify the magazine who would in turn notify the next of kin of the hapless adventurer. The popularity of the card amongst travelers led to the formation of the Adventurers Club of New York.[3] The original New York Adventurers Club led to similar clubs in Chicago (1913), Los Angeles (1921), Copenhagen (1937) and Honolulu (1955).[11]

In 1915 the publishers attempted to reach women readers with a new title (Stories of Life, Love, and Adventure), but it went back to its male readership and original title in 1917.[12]

Hoffman also was secretary of an organization named the "Legion" that had Theodore Roosevelt Jr. as one of its vice presidents. Membership cards of the organization included member's skills and specialties that were forwarded to the War Department when the United States entered World War I, the information being eventually used to create two regiments of aviation mechanics.[3] Hoffman's group would later provide a model for the organisation of the American Legion after the war.[13]

Adventure's letters page, The Camp-Fire featured Hoffman's editorials,background by the authors to their stories and discussions by the readers. At Hoffman's suggestion, a number of Camp-Fire Stations – locations where other readers of Adventure could meet up – were established. Robert Kenneth Jones notes that Adventure readers "..often wrote in to report on meeting new friends through these stations." By 1924, there were Camp-Fire Stations established across the US and in several other countries, including Britain, Australia, Egypt and Cuba. Adventure also offered Camp-Fire buttons which readers wore. [14] Adventure featured several other notable columns, including:

Hoffman encouraged the details of his writers' fiction to be as factually accurate as possible-mistakes would frequently be pointed out and criticised by the magazine's readers.[16]

In addition, Adventure under Hoffman also showcased the work of several famous artists, including Rockwell Kent, John R. Neill (who illustrated several Harold Lamb stories), Charles Livingston Bull, H.C. Murphy and Edgar Franklin Wittmack.[17] Under Hoffman's editorship, Adventure's circulation reached a height of 300,000 copies per month. [4] By 1924, Adventure was regarded, in the words of Richard Bleiler, as " without question the most important "pulp" magazine in the world."[5]

In 1926, the Butterick company decided to print Adventure on slick paper instead of wood-pulp paper. They also changed the magazine's covers to a text listing of contents. Both of these decisions were done in the hope of winning over readers of the "slick" magazines, such as The Atlantic and Harper's Magazine. [5] However, the magazine's style of fiction did not change, and the new Adventure failed to win over "slick" magazine readers, instead suffering a twenty per cent fall in circulation. Hoffman, unhappy with the change of format, left the magazine in 1927. [5]

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