Friday, April 18, 2014

A Peek Inside the July 1944 Issue of Cosmopolitan

One of the best ways to learn about history, and style's place within it, is through vintage magazines.  I only have a couple in my collection so far, so when I found the following magazine in the same Etsy shop where I found self-fabric belt buckles for my Sew for Victory dress, I thought, "Well, isn't that convenient?"



It's the July 1944 issue of Cosmopolitan!  Now, if you pick up a pre-1950s copy of Cosmo looking for the sex columns and limited concept of beauty in today's issues, you'll probably be disappointed--Cosmopolitan, or Heart's International Combined with Cosmopolitan, as it was called from the mid-20s to the 50s, was originally a literary magazine.  Publishing short stories, novel excerpts, serials, and nonfiction, Cosmopolitan's roots explain its sophisticated title. Starting in the 1950s, the magazine published less fiction, and gradually became the sex-oriented Cosmo we know and have mixed feelings about today.

One of the biggest factors that attracted me to this particular issue is its cover, which features a U.S. War Savings Bond.



The Series E bonds, essentially small loans to the government that accrued interest, helped finance the war, and in this wartime issue, they're plugged on nearly every single page. Even advertisements include small text supporting the sale of bonds--an ad for Roma Wine says, "BUT-- BEFORE YOU BUY WINES, BUY WAR BONDS AND STAMPS."

Yowza.
The war is, of course, a constant theme throughout the writings and ads in this issue.  Much has been said about the drastic cultural difference between World War II and today--how during World War II, the war was a daily concern of the whole nation, while today it's a burden carried by just 10% of its citizens.  This issue, published 14 months before the war's end, tells this story throughout.

"BUY WAR BONDS! SPEED THE DAY!"

"DON'T WASTE SOAP! Soap uses vital materials needed to win the war!"
"Debutante...
1944 style... she stays
sweeter with NEET"

"DON'T WASTE SOAP: It's patriotic to help save soap.  Use only what you need. Don't let your cake of Lux Toilet Soap stand in water. After using, place it in a dry soap dish. Moisten last sliver and press against new cake."
Sometimes the war theme takes an unexpected turn:


Say what?
Sometimes it's a tribute, plain and simple:

"Every American is pledged to do his or her part toward the attainment of victory and peace. Those in the service are doing more than their share. We salute the men and women of our armed forces. Let those of us who have supporting roles to play so conduct ourselves that on their return they will be as proud of us as we are of them.

And because you can't have a World War II mag without some pinups:

"SIGHTED SUBDEBS--- SUNK!
SUBJECT: MINOR ENGAGEMENT
TO: OFFICER OF THE NIGHT
FROM: SEAMAN 1ST CLASS JOE SANDERS

HIT BUNK 0230, HEAVEN 0231
SIGHTED SUBDEB WITH A BEVY OF DESTROYERS. VERY TRIM LINES.
CONTACT MADE WITH ENEMY ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.
SURROUNDED AND OUTNUMBERED SO SURRENDERED.
PRISONER OF WAR 0235."
I wonder what story today's magazine ads will tell in 70 years?

Thanks to Etsy seller The Cherry Chic!

6 comments :

  1. I love your mag! I love vintage magazines in general-you can learn sooooo much from them! I want to get more but I also want to figure out how to preserve them. You have a great issue on your hands. Thank you for sharing it! xox www.avintagenerd.com

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    1. I'm not sure the best way to preserve them either-- please be sure and let me know if you come across a guide or a good method! I'd also like to figure out which are the best to collect for what. The ads in this one are good, but it's definitely literature-centered, whereas my Delineator showed a lot more fashion. Anyway, I'm always happy to share what I've found here, it makes it that much cooler!

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  2. Oh dear god, I hate Cosmopolitan with a passion. Never have I seen such garbage accumulated in one source. It's "sex columns" read like stereo instructions composed by hard up fourteen year-old virgins. I wish it had stayed just as you've shown here. I guess that's why I enjoy collecting the Weldon's Ladies Journal, its too old to be trashy.

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    1. That is the most hilarious description of Cosmo I've ever heard!

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  3. This is so great! I've been reading a book that is a collection of letters between a husband and wife in Australia in the war times of the 40's and they mention buying war bonds an awful lot!
    I love vintage magazines. With my sewing ones I've been slowly working through and scanning all the pages onto my computer so I can have a digital copy of them, but as for the actual physical copies I just have them stored in a folder.. I'm sure theres some fancy special way of preserving them.. one day I'll google that.

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  4. Thank you for sharing these fantastic mid-40s magazine images with us. It certainly is interesting to see the stark differences between Cosmo then and Cosmo now (I'll take the vintage version any day, thank you very much).

    ♥ Jessica

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