Sunday, March 27, 2011

An Interesting Find

     I am finally moving on from speaking about Frank Munsey, and have a large slew of topics I intend to post. First however, I have just a small bit, a recent example as to why I continuously find twentieth century escapism, and the pulps in particular, to be fascinating.
     Not too long ago, I purchased a copy of Detective Fiction Weekly (formally baring the Flynn's banner), issued the ninth of January, 1932. I ordered this issue specifically for the Sidney Herschel Small cover-story "Fireflies of Death." Stories of tong violence, the gang wars between rival Chinese secret societies in Chinatowns throughout the country during the earliest years of the last century, factor heavily into my current historiographical research, and make up a great bulk of my pulp purchases, as of late.
     Upon receiving the issue, and opening its pages, a folded and somewhat yellowed newsprint clipping fell from between the cover and the first page of the periodical. It was from the Detroit Free Press, dated August 4, 1971.
Detroit Free Press - Page 8-A - Wednesday, August 4, 1971.
     The clipping speaks of a resurgence in tong-related violence in San Fransisco, where the majority of tong stories in dime novels and pulp magazines did indeed take place, after a respite in conflicts which had lasted over fifty years.
     I found it immensely fascinating that a newspaper clipping, obviously removed from the rest of the paper with care, should be stuck between the pages of a nearly eighty-year old pulp, which featured a tong story on its cover, no less. Such placement produces a list of possible scenarios and reasons as to why it was there; questions that get to the very heart of  my love of history and popular ephemera such as the pulps.
     Was it placed by a secondary, or even tertiary owner of this magazine in later years, for some reason? Was it placed by a recent owner, to give a little mystery to the issue, and to create such thoughts and mental wanderings as I elucidate in type now? Or was it (what I like to believe is the case) that the original owner of this magazine, a boy or young man when it was first released, cut out this story and placed it within those pages decades later, as a kind of remembrance of the tales he marveled at in his youth?
     It is, obviously, impossible to know the truth, and that is precisely what I find the most interesting. It is such speculation, concerning the past, that popular literature of bygone days provides for its posterity, the idea that you hold something that, monetary values aside, meant a great deal to someone, for one reason or another, in the past and, for whatever purpose, meant something to them over forty-years later. It is a tie to the past that no textbook, no recorded media, and certainly no "app" can provide: tangible, physical memories of someone, albeit however anonymous, and however ambiguous. To most, such a discovery would mean little; to the historian (and romantic, I can freely admit), however, such ephemera is invaluable.
     Such things are but a few, of the many reasons, I care for the pulps; out of curiosity, would anyone else like to share their reasons, or have similar instances of wondering about a pulp's history, aside from its physical existence?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Frank A. Munsey - V - Munsey; or, The Periodicals' Voice of Progressivism - III and Conclusion

     In the previous installment, detail was given concerning Munsey's support of  Theodore Roosevelt during his 1912 bid for the Presidency, in the form of published articles and editorials. Aside from support in print, Munsey was one of The Colonel's most important sources of campaign capital; it is not an exaggeration in the least if one were to say that Munsey had just as much at stake as did The Colonel himself. During testimony in 1913 before a Senate committee, regarding campaign finances, Roosevelt stated "I think I could not get off on a trip until Mr. Munsey and Mr. [George] Perkins underwrote it . . " Such dependence on Roosevelt's part is demonstrated by an event that occurred during the Bull Moose campaign, when the party's credit was not allowed to be used in lieu of cash, in purchasing much needed tickets for The Colonel at New York's Grand Central Station. It was only after Munsey had been contacted personally, and a cash payment of nearly $2,000 was delivered, that Roosevelt was allowed to leave.

Munsey, in 1896
Munsey, 1910
Munsey, ca. 1915 (probably later)

Even before the Republican convention, Munsey had donated nearly $70,000 to the campaign, and was nearly single-handedly responsible, in terms of both manpower and capital, for providing Roosevelt with the delegates of the New Jersey Republican primary. The cash flow continued after Roosevelt had moved camp to the Progressives; $111,250 was the amount Munsey gave to the new party immediately following its formation, and the support continued in following months. Munsey was also among a small group of advisers that helped decide where and when the candidate would go on the stump trail.
     The extent to which Roosevelt and Munsey were personal friends is uncertain; Munsey is never mentioned in Roosevelt's 1913 Autobiography, although it is well-known that the two had met long before 1912 (on the other hand, Munsey's friendship with George Perkins, lasting decades, has been well-documented). Stories abound concerning trips the two, with others, took during the campaign, and of one incident in particular, wherein a jovial, boyish Roosevelt talked the squeamish Munsey into feeling his ribs, where a bullet had been lodged, and left, after a recent assassin's attempt to murder the candidate (this was the famous instance in which, after being shot, Roosevelt sought medical attention only after having finished the speech he had started before the assailant attacked). "Poor dear Frank" Roosevelt called Munsey quite often, either a jab at the reserved, un-warrior-like appearance and somewhat dull demeanor Munsey displayed, or perhaps even a sign of Roosevelt's appreciation for Munsey's financial support, which he drew on heavily throughout the 1912 election season. Munsey, judging from eyewitness accounts, seems to have been a member of a close-knit group of like-minded associates, and perhaps friends. Henry L. Stoddard, friend to both Munsey and Roosevelt reported in his work, As I Knew Them,  that following the loss of the Republican nomination to Taft, Munsey had emotionally offered his full support to Roosevelt, in what Stoddard believed to be a heartfelt promise of friendship.

     No matter the level of personal, financial, or propagandist support that Munsey offered, the election of 1912 did not go in Roosevelt's favor, with Woodrow Wilson taking advantage of the cleft in the Republican Party brought about by the Taft/Roosevelt rivalry. With Roosevelt's defeat, Munsey retreated from politics for the most part, although his dislike of Taft's successor, Woodrow Wilson, would show itself in editorials blasting the president for both a lack of nationalism, and a tendency towards cowardice: "When all this was happening [referring to the sinking of the Lusitania in 1915], accounts that wring the soul of all humanity save that of German blood, the President went off to the country for a day at golf. . . Great God! . . . Has there been such a spectacle as this since Nero fiddled at the burning of Rome?" Munsey continued his assault on Wilson, being one of the most vocal published attackers of The League of Nations proposal, and, more or less, of anything Wilson did during the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919. His outspoken dislike for Wilson's Democratic policies was so virulent that, when Republicans returned to the White House in the form of Warren G. Harding, many, including Munsey himself, assumed he would be offered a post in the new administration, Secretary of the Navy and U.S. ambassador to Great Britain being among the assumed rewards; much to Munsey's chagrin, however, no such presidential offer arrived, and his full attention returned once again to his papers.
Munsey's Magazine, from March 1901 - displaying typical Munsey, using the cover of his publication itself, to brandish his sales, and more importantly success, to both his patrons as well as his competitors.
     As the years passed, Munsey, who had accumulated wealth not out of a desire for material possessions, but more so out of the drive, the need, to succeed in an Alger-like fashion, constantly inquired to friends and associates just what he should do with his enormous fortune. He had no family, no heirs (not marrying and fathering children being one of the greatest of his regrets), and but a handful of relatives. "To-day I have forty million dollars, but what has it brought me?" Munsey queried to a friend near the end of his life. "Where can I leave it? I have made up my mind to leave it where I made it - in New York City, and where I can get its equivalent in value." After setting amounts aside to make close friends, employees and relatives comfortable after his passing, Munsey donated the bulk of his fortune to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York.
     After a terrible amount of suffering over the course of ten days, brought about by both appendicitis and related operations, Frank Andrew Munsey died on the 22nd of December, 1925 at the age of 71. His newspapers, per his orders, were all sold, and the Argosy was eventually sold to Popular Publications in 1942, sixty years after the ambitious, young telegraph operator from Maine had arrived in New York and began publishing the title that would place him among the richest entrepreneurs of his generation.

What was probably (with issues being released at least a week prior to the cover date) the last issue of Argosy published and distributed before Munsey's death
     Below are several more booklets Munsey wrote and published during his life, only a handful of a larger whole. While most focus primarily on business and economics, even within those are valuable insight into the man's sense of ethics, and purpose. To claim he had no great cares, other than for money and circulation statistics, is to underestimate Munsey, and speaks only of the simplicity of the accuser, rather than of the accused. I hope that the preceding introduction to Munsey's life and career offered some amount of new information to longtime Munsey followers, as well as a wealth of previously unknown information to those new to the pulps and related media.

As always, I am sincerely grateful for your time, and I thank you.

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Britt, George. Forty Years – Forty Millions : The Career of Frank A. Munsey. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1972.

Stoddard, Henry L. As I Knew Them - Presidents and Politics From Grant To Coolidge. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1927.  

Photographs of Frank Munsey, courtesy of George Britt's biography (Munsey in 1896), and the Library of Congress, respectively.  

Thanks to Galactic Central's Pulp Magazine Cover Index for the image of Argosy 12/26/1925.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Frank A. Munsey - IV - Munsey; or The Periodicals' Voice of Progressivism - II

     Following the Republican nomination of William Howard Taft for President in 1912, his strongest rival, Theodore Roosevelt, accepted the nomination of the newly-formed Progressive Party. Frank Munsey, along with J.P Morgan associate George Perkins, became the principal financiers of the new party, its agenda of social and national reforms, and of its outspoken candidate. Such a decision on Munsey's part did not come lightly; Munsey's The Boston Journal was the only newspaper in the city that was not against Roosevelt, and such a stance undoubtedly cost Munsey a great deal in both circulation and advertising revenue; nonetheless, Munsey provided every resource of his publishing empire, and personal fortune, in support of Roosevelt.
The Munsey publishing house wasted no time in raining lavish praise upon the new candidate. Many such articles were written by Munsey himself , as was the case with an August 1912 editorial in Munsey's, explaining the history of the new Progressive Party, claiming that a rift among Republicans had not developed earlier due only to Roosevelt's ability to bring differing opinions together under consensus, something, it was charged, Taft was incapable of.
     Munsey was casting Roosevelt in a dual light, both as a Progressive, as well as a "reformer" Republican who was among the few that still held to the party's core ideals. "Roosevelt was then, as he is now, a progressive," Munsey wrote. "He spoke the language that the progressives understood and that the people of the country of progressive ideas understood." This dedication to progressivism was more than simply a rehashing of the party name, but rather held a meaning in and of itself.
     Amidst all of the radical changes occurring at the turn of the century, a sentiment that had been shared by many for well over one hundred years was that of human progress. Best articulated by philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, the notion that the story of mankind is geared towards a teleological end, that end being the constant betterment of mankind throughout history, was an extremely popular view at the time. This Hegelian dialectical understanding of history inspired many individuals, from philosophers to politicians, who believed that recent advances in technology and the arts were evidence of such progress. Unfortunately, European and American notions of imperialism, of "bettering" the other races of the world through colonialism and "Christianization," was also fueled by such a belief; nonetheless, the majority of those who envisioned this predetermined progress believed that radical social reform, such as what was being promised by Roosevelt, was the truest indication of man's future. This was still several years before The First World War, which, to a large extant, shattered many notions as to how far mankind had actually progressed. While it is doubtful Munsey shared such an existential understanding of Roosevelt's campaign (Munsey often prided himself on simply getting things done, as opposed to reading about how others had gotten things done), it was nevertheless imperative that Munsey appeal to both Progressives, as well as Republicans who were not satisfied with Taft.

     "The new Progressive Party will start with a clean slate, without prejudice for or against it in any section of the country, either in North or South, in East or West. It will start free from political bosses and political derelicts. It will be a party of the people and for the people. It will be a young man's party. It will stand for sane, sound progress everywhere and in everything, without slavish prejudice in favor of what is or what has been. It will be a party of to-day and of the future, not a party that lives on the traditions of its past."

With such statements, Munsey, carrying his salesmanship from periodicals to politics, extols the importance of the party, where it stands on several important issues of the day, and why it is superior to any and all parties that have come previously, as well as to any that may come after. Explaining the platform and purpose of the party was only half of Munsey's mission; he had also to "sell" the idea of Roosevelt, the man, to the undecided.

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     Complete with images of the candidate, from stirring and heroic speech-givings, to old-fashioned family portraits, Munsey's articles were intended to convey Roosevelt the man, Roosevelt your friend, in addition to Roosevelt the reformer. "If the call does come, he [Roosevelt] will buckle on his armor and go to it with all his old-time impetuosity and energy," Munsey wrote in a column that appeared in all newspapers under his ownership. To provide further coverage to his candidate of choice, Munsey purchased The New York Press in 1912, at a cost of $1,000,000. Utilization of newspapers and periodicals, however, was not the only way Munsey displayed his support for the "Bull Moose."

     With this post, I have included scans of the cover and several pages of a pamphlet Munsey published in 1912, in which can be found the manner of praise the author heaped upon Roosevelt during the campaign. The cover and a few pages of Munsey's The Panic of 1907 -  An Analysis of Its Cause (printed in 1908) are also provided; this work countered many of the accusations levels against then-President Roosevelt, concerning his handling of 1907's financial crisis, and displays Munsey's interest in politics a number of years before the 1912 election. Such pamphlets, as well as the many others he wrote (of which I will also provide scans, in my next, concluding post concerning Munsey's politics, and Munsey himself) speak to his interest in a variety of matters, both economical and political, an interest that, unfortunately, many writers of Munsey's life and career fail to notice.

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     Britt, George. Forty Years – Forty Millions : The Career of Frank A. Munsey. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1972.

     Munsey, Frank Andrew. "The New Progressive Party - What It Is and Why It Is," Munsey's Magazine. New York: Frank A. Munsey, Aug. 1912, 675, 677.
     Stoddard, Henry L. As I Knew Them - Presidents and Politics From Grant To Coolidge. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers, 1927. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Frank A. Munsey - III - Munsey; or, The Periodicals' Voice of Progressivism - I

     Frank Munsey's importance to both the history of the pulp magazine, as well as newspapers and periodicals in general, is often noted, and rightfully so. An aspect of his life, however, that is not given nearly enough attention is his involvement in politics and, specifically, his singular importance to the short-lived, but forward-looking, Progressive Party as it was led by Theodore Roosevelt. The two men, by all accounts, were friends to a certain degree, despite the obvious differences between the boisterous, energetic "Lion of Oyster Bay" and the more-subdued, lanky pulp publisher; indeed, biographer George Britt makes it quite clear that The Colonel found Munsey irritating most of the time, that "his warm temperament and Munsey's cold one were too far apart." Nonetheless, claims that Munsey "cared for no great causes" are undermined by a short review of his activities in Twentieth Century American politics.

     The era during which Munsey's wealth began to accumulate exponentially also heralded an unprecedented change in America itself; technology, society, philosophy: everything was in flux at the turn of the Twentieth Century. There was prosperity at home, and America was taking ever more strident steps in becoming a dominant world power, as shown by such international actions as its involvement in the quelling of the Boxer Rebellion (and subjugation, through treaties, of the Manchurian Qing dynasty) in far-off China.
     During the first two decades of the century, Munsey had already made his fortune, the Alger-story of his life had been transfigured into one of opulence and, more importantly, influence. Through both his periodical and newspaper ventures, Munsey's publications ended up in the hands of millions of Americans, and the highest offices in the land came to Munsey, asking for his assistance on a variety of matters. Munsey spurned President Warren G. Harding's attempts to gain the publisher's endorsement of America's entry into the World Court, just as, years earlier, he had argued, in print, against America's joining the League of Nations following the First World War; there was "no man more effective than himself, Frank Munsey, in turning the country against Wilson and his League. . ." Munsey had attended dinners with both presidents, as well as Taft and Coolidge, neither of which he agreed with or liked very much. It was Presidents William McKinley, and more so Theodore Roosevelt, with whom Munsey was to find political and societal allies.
Munsey's appreciation of Roosevelt began years before the latter's ascension to the Presidency; Munsey had followed his career, as early as 1895, and commissioned articles praising him in many of his publications, as demonstrated by the following excerpt from an 1899 issue of The Quaker, later re-titled The Junior Munsey:

     "One of the most picturesque figures of today. . . is Theodore Roosevelt. A brief outline of the positions this versatile man has held, and a mention of his accomplishments will show the ease with which he could face and overcome the wolf at the door. . . He has been a close student of law, as well as of nature. He has been a member of the New York State Legislature, the President of the Board of Police Commissioners, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Colonel of Volunteers, and fought with his famous Rough Riders on three battlefields. . . "

     While Munsey and Roosevelt's political views may have been at odds in earlier years (they were on opposing sides of the bitterly contested nomination of James G. Blaine as the Republican candidate for the 1884 presidential election), Roosevelt, for the most part, received Munsey's support following the 1901 assassination of McKinley by would-be anarchist Leon Czolgosz, an event which immediately placed the Rough Rider in the Oval Office. Following two terms that saw tremendous reforms in everything from foreign policy (The Roosevelt Corollary) to domestic conservation (establishment of the United States Forest Service), Roosevelt refused to run for a third term, and placed the hopes for further continuation of his policies in the hands of his chosen successor, William Howard Taft. Taft, however, had slumped in this duty (in Roosevelt's mind), and the former president sought to usurp the Republican presidential nomination of 1912 from his former friend. Eventually losing the nomination to Taft (through what many considered to be party politics rather than the voters' choice), Roosevelt placed his candidacy with that of the newly-formed Progressive Party.
     Munsey believed that Roosevelt had become a bit more conservative following his departure from the Presidency, and agreed with him on numerous issues, including, but not limited to, the establishment of a national minimum wage law and the regulation (as opposed to dismantling) of large businesses - a belief concurrent with Munsey's vision of a Carnegie-inspired "publication trust." It was, in fact, Munsey himself who was among the first to break the news of Roosevelt's joining with the Progressives:

     "Mr. Roosevelt will be nominated for President by a new party. He refuses to have anything to do more with the Republican Convention now in session in this city [Chicago]. He would not now take a nomination from that body if it were given to him. He regards it as a grossly illegal organization, formed by the force of men fraudulently seated. Taft will probably be nominated late tomorrow. It is now the earnest wish of Mr. Roosevelt and his friends that the nomination go to him. They regard him as the proper nominee of such a convention."

With that statement, Munsey not only made his political stance known during what was rapidly becoming a hotly-contested and divisive election, but also became one of, if not the most important and invaluable financial resource of Roosevelt's "Bull Moose" campaign.

At the risk of running too long on posts, the conclusion of Munsey's work in politics will appear in the next post rather shortly. I have also included here the conclusion of pages, written by Munsey himself, concerning the production of his periodicals. Once again, I would like to thank you sincerely for reading, and for your time.

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Britt, George. Forty Years – Forty Millions : The Career of Frank A. Munsey. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1972.

Chace, James. 1912 - Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft & Debs - The Election That Changed The Country. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004, 121.

Coman, Wynn. "If These Men Were Penniless?" The Quaker (The Junior Munsey), January, 1900, 217.

Crunden, Robert M. ed. Ministers of Reform - The Progressives' Achievement in American Civilization, 1889-1920. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1985, 207.

Donald, Aida D. Lion in the White House - A Life of Theodore Roosevelt. New York: Basic Books, 2007.

Tindall, George Brown. America - A Narrative History - Volume Two. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1988.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Frank A. Munsey - II - The Golden Argosy

     My apologies for the amount of time between posts; the works of Burroughs are certainly engrossing, and can take up much more of one's time than is readily apparent.
     Within this second entry focusing on Frank Andrew Munsey, I would like to go a bit more into the creation of his flagship title, The Golden Argosy (although, according to Munsey himself, he always considered Munsey's to be his most important publication). The primary sources I cite at the conclusion are of immense value in understanding the man; two, the viewpoints of  historians of the publishing industry, and the other, from the pen of Munsey himself. Once again, I would like to stress that the following, truncated version of events should not be taken alone, and I implore you to seek out the primary sources listed, as they do more justice than I ever could.-

     "And he began to tell me how he had carried on with the Golden Argosy . . . how he had swamped himself with debts for print paper, printing, illustrating and stories. . .  how he himself had written serials. . . "

Thus was the remembrance of Gilbert Patten, the man best known (under a pseudonym) for having created dime novel-staple Frank Merriwell, describing one of his encounters with Munsey at a journalistic club the two frequented. Munsey idolized Horatio Alger, Jr's stories of self-made men, and the creation of The Golden Argosy follows a formula that could have been lifted from any one of Alger's tales; fittingly enough, Munsey biographer George Britt titled the chapter of his work in which the creation of the first Munsey publication is chronicled "Alger Story."
     It was on September 23, 1882 that a twenty-eight year-old Frank Munsey, with only forty dollars in his pocket, first set foot in the bustling metropolis of New York City. Having left Augusta, Maine, with both promises of financial support and a determination to make his mark on the publishing industry, Munsey arrived in New York with very little to his name, and even less upon his person. With him was only a satchel containing, what he hoped, would be the foundations upon which to build his empire; several manuscripts, from a variety of authors, that he had bought using borrowed capital from various investors back home. "Do and Dare, or a Brave Boy's Fight for Fortune" was one of the stories Munsey had brought with him, penned by none other than Horatio Alger, Jr. himself. Despite financial setbacks, such as the unexpected removal of support from several promised backers (thus resulting in Munsey's only having forty dollars upon his arrival), the determined young man eventually sold the idea of his Golden Days imitation to one E.G. Rideout, a printer of small standing in the city and, on December 2, the first issue of The Golden Argosy was printed and distributed. Munsey himself, years later, wrote of the tribulations encountered by one attempting to craft an entire, ongoing periodical, more or less on his own:

     "In the winter of 1886 I wrote my second serial story for The Argosy, to which I gave the title 'Afloat in a Great City.' I have never worked harder on anything than I did on that story, to put into it elements of dramatic interest that would get a grip on the reader. I wrote and rewrote the early chapters many times. It was midnight toil - work done by candlelight, after long days of struggle at the office."

     Success was not immediate for Munsey, however, and several years of uncertain circulations and near-destructive financial setbacks threatened to sink the argosy to which Munsey had affixed his future. 1887 saw a sharp peak in sales, to be followed only by an equally steep decline. It was at this uncertain time, in 1893, between success and complete failure, that Munsey took a risk that not only forever changed the periodical industry, but also made him one of America's wealthiest men. The following is an excerpt from Munsey's eponymous title (the first issue of which was published in 1889), explaining this risk:

     "These are the times when it is well to get down to bed rock - to get away down to the very substratum of things. At ten cents per copy and at a dollar a year for subscriptions in advance, Munsey's will have reached that point, a point below which no good magazine will ever go, but to which all magazines of large circulation in America must eventually come. The present low price of paper and the perfecting of printing machinery make it possible to sell at a profit a magazine at these figures - as good a magazine as has ever been issued, providing it is not to heavily freighted with advertisements."

     It was in cutting the price of his publications to ten cents (in addition to his use of cheaper, pulpwood paper) that Munsey assured his success. Most magazines of the time sold for more, anywhere from fifteen to thirty-five cents; Munsey sought to publish a periodical that could be afforded by the working-class readers of America, a demographic largely untapped by the "more sophisticated," pricier "slicks" of the era. Munsey's was the first title to be lowered in price, followed by The Argosy.  
     The Argosy ("Golden" having been dropped some years earlier) was also undergoing fundamental changes; gone was the imitation of Golden Days, the boys and girls weekly, and in its place, by 1896, existed what is considered by most to be the first pulp magazine. "I wanted to get The Argosy wholly in a field by itself," Munsey later recalled, "So I worked out for it the plan of an all-fiction magazine, something brand-new - a type which it created, and which has since become one of the most successful in the magazine field." Munsey also decided to circumvent the major distributors of the day, companies that held something of a monopoly within the magazine industry. By selling The Argosy, Munsey's, and later publications directly to dealers and newsstands, Munsey was able to sell his magazines cheaply, yet still make more of a profit than he would have had he collaborated with the distributors. According to Munsey, it was only after the largest periodical distributor in the nation approached him and offered to carry his magazines at a price of his choosing, that at "that moment I knew I was a millionaire." And, he was absolutely correct; by 1906, Munsey's was selling 800,000 copies monthly, with The Argosy following with 500,000. These numbers, combined with the circulation of several other Munsey titles such as The Scrap Book and All-Story, placed the totality of Munsey publications in circulation, in 1906, at over 2 million. The "Alger story" was complete, with advertising revenue mounting with each successful spike in circulation. Munsey had become as wealthy and as influential as any of the boy heroes whose exploits he had published in the earliest days of The Argosy.

     It was then that Munsey set upon the activities that would define him in the eyes of many historians: the constant buying, selling, shutting down and merging of various newspapers and magazines. Even the pulp magazines he created were not immune, as titles such as All-Story Weekly and Cavalier were, eventually, both folded into The Argosy.
     It is something of a shame that Munsey is remembered more as a destroyer of titles than as the creator of a medium; by the same token, however, it is not surprising. The histories of the publishing industries (histories that largely ignored the pulps) were written by those who saw no literary or creative value in the pulps, and, to a large degree, even in Munsey himself. "Cheap, inconsequential magazines" the author of Munsey's entry in the Dictionary of American Biographies used in reference to The Argosy and other titles; an insult against the man who, intentionally or not, created a medium that many cared deeply about, and continue to today almost a century after his death. The fact that the author understood nearly nothing about the subject matter is made obvious by the statement that Munsey was not "deeply interested in any causes:" simply put, one does not donate the monetary and advertising resources, as Munsey did for Roosevelt's 1912  presidential campaign, if one is aloof from any causes of great import. It is apparent, by such statements and others, that a dislike for the medium directly resulted in a dislike for the man. Not that Munsey's constant buying of titles  (which often resulted in massive layoffs) did not play their part; rather, had it been a man not involved with what many deemed "trash" at the time (and, ignorantly, still do, to a large extent), it is likely that such harsh condemnations would not have been made. The vicious business practices he engaged in would not have been emphasized in later retellings, had the individual in question been someone other than Frank Andrew Munsey, the father of the pulp.
The next post will conclude this brief introduction to Frank Munsey, and will also contain the last few remaining scans concerning the "The Making and Marketing of Munsey's Magazine." As always, I sincerely thank you for reading, and for your time.

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     Britt, George. Forty Years – Forty Millions : The Career of Frank A. Munsey. Port Washington: Kennikat Press, 1972, 57, 81.

     Goulart, Ron. Cheap Thrills - An Informal History of the Pulp Magazines. New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1972, 9.

     Munsey, Frank Andrew. "The Story of the Founding of the Munsey Publishing-House," Munsey's Magazine. New York: Frank A. Munsey, Dec. 1907, 417- 423.