This magazine is no Dummy

s-l1600 (3)Well before the Web, before Instagram and Facebook, and all the rest of the instant apps that now inundate you with thousands of pictures daily, there was LIFE.

Not an e-zine, but a real dead-tree magazine, LIFE brought the world to its millions of weekly readers, starting in November 1936. It was started by the same company that published TIME magazine, the hard-news heavy weekly that still exists, sort of, today. As does LIFE, sort of. They bring out special issues every once and a while, drawing on their massive archives for a look at some recently deceased movie star or politician.

But in 1936, the world was on the precipice of a huge face lift. Adolph Hitler was stomping his little feet in Europe, proclaiming how great Germany would be if they took s-l1600 (5)a little bit of Russia and a little bit of some other neighboring countries. Josef Stalin was also huffing and puffing for his own audience to the East.

Henry Luce, who had started TIME in 1923 with a fellow Yale grad, Briton Hadden, bought a small, illustrated magazine that had been published under the Life title since 1883. It was a smaller format, minimal color, with a bent toward light entertainment and beautiful art. Norman Rockwell was one of the contributors, as was Charles Dana Gibson, who eventually took over as owner and editor in 1918.

Which brings us to this item. It is the second of two test “dummy” issues Luce produced – about 15,000 copies each – to show advertisers and others to judge their acceptance of the large format which depended heavily on photographs.

This issue was published in September, the first issue was released in June.

It is in good+ condition with acceptable wear to the cover, a very slight split in the spine edge but otherwise is clean and without major problems.

The stories include several focused heavily on the European issues with Hitler and Stalin, as well as the situation in China, where Luce spent his early years. There are several color photo pages, including one nude, and a long photo spread telling the story of cotton production.

As with all of the older LIFE magazines, the advertisements are just as interesting as the stories and photos. They give an interesting look into the daily life of the readers.

This issue is priced at $125. If you would like to purchase it, please contact me directly at


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