Contemporary Magazines:

Competing Visions of America

"What The New Yorker did not want was the sort of material that could appear in Life or Judge or the Saturday Evening Post." Its impulses toward gravity, art, and significance and its cosmopolitan style separated The New Yorker from its competitors. The urbane, witty magazine offered a vision of America that was distinctly different than the one produced by popular weeklies such as Collier's or The Saturday Evening Post. It situated itself as a local metropolitan publication, an elite magazine directed at a singular segment of the population. The magazine never claimed to be representative of America. Instead it distinguished itself as a reflection of New York high culture. And to America and the world "New York" was the epitome of sophistication, wealth, and the new. For many The New Yorker provided a means of accessing metropolitan elite culture that was otherwise out of their reach. For a select few it mirrored their yearnings, visions, and values. Vanity Fair, a chic monthly with a literary-artistic emphasis, flourished in the 1920s. This magazine shared an audience of similar demographic composition, but its wider geographic circulation and its interest in music, fine art, and highbrow literature separated it from The New Yorker.


Vanity Fair

Saturday Evening Post

Collier's



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