About Us; About This Website
Magazines shaped our lives, and the rest is history.
The great illustrators of the period 1850-1950 had a tremendous influence on us and the rest of the world. One of the most popular ways they presented their work was as the cover art for the mass and specialist magazines that were published under thousands of titles and in millions and millions of copies. We know today of Norman Rockwell and Maxfield Parrish, but there were hundreds and thousands of other artists whose work is now forgotten except by collectors and specialists. Some have been honored by art books about their work, but most are now simply unknown to the general public.
One reason for this undeserved obscurity is that their work is quite difficult to find. Bound volumes of these magazines, both in libraries and in the hands of private collectors, usually do not include the covers, for reasons we today find hard to imagine. You must look for individual copies of these magazines, sold as collector's items and available in variable condition. Old magazines turn up regularly on eBay and in shops, but they are expensive, and it is difficult to find, analyze, and store them in one's home. Hence MagazineArt.org.
We scan and photograph magazine covers from this era: as many as we can find, of whatever subject matter. The only requirement is that the issue must -have- a cover design. We prefer the ones that change from issue to issue, but we'll record them even if they simply list the contents of the magazine. We've had images donated, and we've picked them up where we can. At this time we have thousands of them, many of them suitable for display but all requiring some processing in Photoshop before they are presentable.
We've started to put them up here on the web, on our website www.MagazineArt.org. This will take a long time, since it's not funded by the MacArthur foundation or the Pew Charitable Trust; or, for that matter, anyone but ourselves.
At the present time there are several gigabytes of cover images on this site, linked from the homepage and the pages linked to it. We also have information about magazines, their publishers, editors, artists, and publishing companies. More to come. Go take a look!
We are located in San Jose, California. You can
send us e-mail or write to us:
The telephone number is (408) 298-3269.
What's My Old Magazine Worth?
We don't know. We don't buy or sell them. Your best bet is to look for completed auctions at eBay, and see what similar magazines went for. Only pay attention to the ones that actually sold; people seem to put wishful prices on a lot of things there.
Rights and Copyrights
Magazine illustrations from issues published prior to 1925 are in the public domain in accordance with the copyright laws of the United States, and are presented here with the best quality we can find. Illustrations published in 1923 and after may be covered by original and/or renewed copyright, and will be presented here only in 650-pixel-wide (or smaller) images, solely for educational purposes, under the doctrine of "fair use." We always strive to give credit to the current owner of copyright; if you are the owner of the copyright on illustrations appearing in these pages, and feel that their presentation here violates your rights, contact us and we will immediately remove them. However, before you write us: We'll be very happy to include your copyright notice, and a link to you so that someone wanting to license the images can get in touch with you directlyconsider the value to you of their presence here before calling your attorneys.
As far as we know we have the right to look at these cover images, and to present them to you for your education and illumination. See "Copyrights," above. If you disagree, contact us and we'll fix whatever's wrong.
Nothing on this website gives us any rights over you, and likewise nothing gives you any rights over us. If you think we've done something we shouldn't have done, let us know and we'll attempt to put things right.
To the best of our knowledge all of the cover images presented here are rated "G" and may be viewed by participants of all ages. Similarly, our histories of magazine publication, artist's lives, and editors and publishers are presented with the best of intentions and do not intentionally incorrectly denigrate, deprecate, or libel any persons, living or dead. If we have erred we will endeavor to correct our errors as assiduously as possible.
Let us reiterate: we're doing our best to provide information, and conflict is not our thing; what we really want to do is provide the best information we can about as much of this field as possible.
We'll never tell anyone anything about you, unless you tell us we should. If you do us a favor (like sending us cover scans or letting us photograph your magazines) we'll publicly thank you on our "Thanks To..." page, but only if you want us to. Likewise, we'll include a link to your sales catalog or eBay inventory, if you want us to. Otherwise, no.
However, if you follow links from this website to some other website (one of our advertisers, or one of the information links that we put up because we think you might find them interesting) you're on your own. We can't vouch for any of them and what they do with their information about you is between you and them.
Personally, if someone misuses my private information I will take extreme offense at it, and I'm sure you feel the same way. So we promise to do what we say here.
Help the Website
Send Us Cover Images
We work hard to find, scan, photograph, and process (in Photoshop) magazine cover images for our files. We can't do it all ourselves. If you collect old magazines and would like to help us find more good material to share with the world write us. We can use scans you already have, or make scans or digital photographs. We'll be happy to give you a copy of the scan after we've cleaned it up in Photoshop. We'll give you credit in the "Source" note on the image page. Plus, your name will be listed on our Thanks! page, if you want it to be.
Nobody's getting paid for this, and we volunteer our time and traveland the webhosting costs. If you're the MacArthur Foundation or the Pew Charitable Trust, or would like advice on how to become just like them, please send us mail.
Michael Ward, Publisher, MagazineArt.org
Update history: This page originally created 22 April 2003; latest revision 17 August 2020.