Editor's Introduction

This site examines The New Yorker magazine from a number of different angles. The section on the 'Cosmopolitan Appeal and House Style' of the magazine examines the disctinctive brand of humor that came to be known as the New Yorker style. It also explores the interesting issue of the appeal of a highly local city magazine to a wider national audience. What was it about The New Yorker that attracted readers from all over? How did the magazine carve out such a unique niche for itself?

The segment on The New Yorker staff examines the people who defined New Yorker humor in its early days and drove the magazine's success. Harold Ross, the founder of the magazine who edited it for it's first 25 years, is highlighted, since it was he who conceived of the idea and it was his vision that shaped the direction of the magazine in the 1930s. How did these individuals help define the magazine's humor, and how did their backgrounds and attitudes shape the developement of The New Yorker?

The section on 'Advertisements & Audience' discusses the elitist advertising policy of the magazine, which reinforced the upper class focus of the magazine as a whole, as well as the target audience of the magazine.This section seeks to understand how the magazine's advertisements functioned as part of its overall theme. In order to better place the magazine within the literary and professional context of the time, the section on 'Contemporary Magazines' explores the competing visions of the country offered by three other prominent journals.

The next two sections examine in detail the magazine's covers, which were the public face that was put forward week after week. The segment entitled 'Contextualizing the Covers' attempts to place specific covers within their larger historical context. In the section called 'Covering the War,' the stylistic elements of the covers are examined to show how the magazine's presentation of WWII was influenced by prevailing upper class attitudes about the conflict. These two sections thus attempt to examine the covers from two different, yet complementary perspectives.

Through the use of this site, we hope the viewer will assemble the tools necessary to development a comprehensive and informed perspective on The New Yorker magazine in its early days in the 1930s.


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Contextualizing
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