This Halloween we remember Nicolas de Gunzburg, onetime editor of Town & Country magazine, who played a leading role in the classic 1932 horror movie "Vampyr," directed by Carl Dreyer. Born to a wealthy family in Paris, de Gunzburg, who inherited the title of baron, apparently financed the film in return for his role, which he played under the stage name of Julian West. A few years later he emigrated to the United States, where he eventually became editor of Town & Country as well as an editor at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.
"It is with most editors an accepted truism that no magazine can be successful without a continually renewed infusion of 'young blood,' yet it must be confessed that the amount of vital fluid extracted is woefully disproportionate to the slaughter. It is sometimes even a question whether the rejoicing over one available* manuscript makes up for the moaning and anguish of spirit entailed by the ninety and nine that must be declined." — Wolstan Dixey, in his book "The Trade of Authorship" (1889).
*By "available" manuscript, Dixie is referring, in the common parlance of his day, to what we'd call an accepted one. Rejected manuscripts were commonly referred to as "unavailable."
It was on this day (October 29) in 1881 that Judge magazine made its debut. A popular satirical weekly that endured for several generations, Judge was founded largely by artists defecting from another well-known humor magazine of the day, Puck. Among the writers Judge gave an early career boost was the future New Yorker humorist and Marx Brothers script writer S. J. Perelman. Among its editors was Harold Ross, founding editor of The New Yorker, who served as co-editor of Judge for five months in 1924. The magazine continued publishing until 1947.
On this day (October 28) in 1920 newspapers reported that James M. Cox, governor of Ohio, had accused editor George Horace Lorimer and his Saturday Evening Post of unfair partisanship. "The insidious purpose of the Saturday Evening Post, cloaked under non-partisan methods for the past decade and more, has finally been brought to light," he said. Cox was the Democratic candidate for president that year, with Franklin Roosevelt as his running mate. He lost the election to another Ohioan, the Republican Warren G. Harding.
"I think nothing is more sure to drive an office editor crazy than to have some young enthusiast say, 'I threw this off last night,' or, 'I send you fresh from the pen' this or that. People who print magazines for a million readers do not want to give them that which has been thrown off. It is much better to send them something which has seasoned in the back of your table drawer for one, two, or three years." — Edward Everett Hale, in his book "Memories of a Hundred Years" (1902). Hale, who was both a magazine editor and writer in his day, is best remembered as the author of "The Man Without a Country."
"A few months after the loss of my dear dog I composed a poem, which I sent to several Magazines, but it was refused by all. You see Magazine Editors have no feelings for dogs, or are prejudiced in favour of their own dogs, and because I spoke in my poem so highly of my dog, they were jealous, and would not hear a word about Wow-wow." — Sabine Baring-Gould, in the 1886 collection "Just One More Tale."
Today (October 24) is the birthday of Al Feldstein, Brooklyn-born in 1925. Feldstein became editor of Mad magazine in the mid-1950s and guided it for nearly three decades. Today, after what must be one of the most remarkable career changes of any ex-editor, he is a painter of Western landscapes and wildlife.
On October 23, 1928 newspapers announced that Amelia Earhart had joined Cosmopolitan (then known as Hearst's International combined with Cosmopolitan) as "the country's first magazine aviation editor." Earhart, whose 1937 disappearance over the Pacific remains a mystery, held the post until 1930. A copy of her letterhead from the magazine resides at Purdue's e-Archives.
George Horace Lorimer, longtime editor of the Saturday Evening Post, died at his home in Wyncote, Pennsylvania, on this day (October 22) in 1937. Lorimer, who was 69 at his death, also wrote popular books, such as "Letters From a Self-Made Merchant to His Son" (1902). The New York Times reported that he left an estate worth in excess of $10 million, the equivalent of about $155 million in today's dollars.
William W. Young, onetime editor of Hampton's Magazine and managing editor of Good Housekeeping, died on this day (October 21) in 1952 at age 84. Though Young is little remembered today as a magazine editor, he rates at least a footnote in film histories as the director of the first feature-length version of "Alice in Wonderland," released in 1915. In film credits, his name appears as W. W. Young.
"In many ways the conduct of a great magazine simulates the operations of Nature. It is not made out of hand; it is born and it grows. There is a certain inevitability about it from the outset." — Harper's magazine, 1901. The author is presumably Henry Mills Alden, editor of Harper's for an astonishing 50 years (1869 to 1919). Alden is often referred to as the "dean of American magazine editors."