Blue Book (magazine)

Blue Book
CategoriesPulp magazine, Men's magazine
Year founded1905
Final issue1975
CountryUnited States

Blue Book was a popular 20th-century American magazine with a lengthy 70-year run under various titles from 1905 to 1975.[1] It was a sibling magazine to The Red Book Magazine and The Green Book Magazine.

Launched as The Monthly Story Magazine, it was published under that title from May 1905 to August 1906 with a change to The Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine for issues from September 1906 to April 1907. In its early days, Blue Book also carried a supplement on theatre actors called "Stageland". The magazine was aimed at both male and female readers.[1]

For the next 45 years (May 1907 to January 1952), it was known as The Blue Book Magazine, Blue Book Magazine, Blue Book,[2] and Blue Book of Fiction and Adventure. The title was shortened with the February 1952 issue to simply Bluebook, continuing until May 1956. With a more exploitative angle, the magazine was revived with an October 1960 issue as Bluebook for Men, and the title again became Bluebook for the final run from 1967 to 1975. In its post-1960 final incarnation, Bluebook became a men's adventure magazine, publishing purportedly true stories.[1]

In its 1920s heyday, Blue Book was regarded as one of the "Big Four" pulp magazines (the best-selling, highest-paying and most critically acclaimed pulps), along with Adventure, Argosy and Short Stories.[3] The magazine was nicknamed "King of the Pulps" in the 1930s.[1] Pulp historian Ed Hulse has stated that between the 1910s and the 1950s Blue Book "achieved and sustained a level of excellence reached by few other magazines".[3]

Publishers and editors

The early publishers were Story-Press Corporation and Consolidated Magazines, followed in 1929 by McCall. After H.S. Publications took over the reins in October 1960, Hanro (Sterling) was the publisher from August 1964 until March 1966 and then the QMG Magazine Corporation, beginning April 1967.

The first editor of Blue Book was Trumbull White (who would later edit Adventure magazine). White was succeeded in 1906 by Karl Edwin Harriman. Under Harriman, Blue Book would reach a circulation of 200,000 copies in 1909.[1] From 1911 to 1919 Ray Long was the editor.[1] Harriman took the editorial reins again in February 1919. By the time of Harriman's departure, sales of Blue Book had fallen to 80,000 copies. Edwin Balmer edited Blue Book from 1927 to 1929. Balmer managed to raise the circulation of the magazine to 180,000 by 1929, probably due to the reappearance of Burroughs' Tarzan stories in the magazine.[1] Balmer was succeeded by Blue Book's longest running editor, Donald Kennicott (1929 to January 1952). [4] Later editors were Maxwell Hamilton (February 1952 through the mid-1950s) and Andre Fontaine in the mid-1950s, followed by Frederick A. Birmingham. [1] Maxwell Hamilton returned for the 1960 revival, followed by B. R. Ampolsk in 1967.

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