THE BROWN BOOK OF BOSTON Magazine Profile

The BROWN BOOK OF BOSTON began publishing with the May, 1900 issue, and ran monthly for five years; its last issue was May, 1905. At the end it merged into MODERN WOMEN, a similar-appearing magazine from the same publisher that flourished at least between 1904 and 1906-7. A hundred years later, it is one of the more obscure women's magazines of the last century. It had fairly typical content for a women's magazine of the period, with items on homemaking, needlework, cooking, kitchens, fashions and clothing, jewelry, furniture, households, babies and children, sewing, cleaning, and crafts, with some fiction included. You can click here to go directly to the gallery of cover images.

The magazine itself was in large format, with pages slightly bigger than 11" x 14" (similar to SATURDAY EVENING POST of that era) using good, but not great paper. The covers of early issues seem to have been printed with uncommon inks. For example, February 1901 used brown, black, and white ink instead of three-color or four-color screen overlays, and the November issue that year seems to have used brown and blue, with perhaps a red or red-brown ink. Some issues of this magazine have been indexed at the FictionMags Index site.

Published monthly by the Bernard-Richards Company, Ltd., 100 Broad St., Boston, Massachusetts. Single copies ten cents; subscription one dollar a year in advance. This magazine ran circulation-building contests on the back pages, offering a prize of $15,000 (a huge sum for 1901) to the agent who sold the most subscriptions. Though it claimed a circulation in the 400,000 range, it seems to have vanished from our cultural memory.

Library of Congress cataloging information tells us little about the magazine, but indicates that publishing and editorial staff included Edwin C. Drew and Arthur Winslow Tarbell [b. 1872]. For MODERN WOMEN it mentions Grace Atwood Pope. LC has a complete run of the magazine. Our Gallery pages include a number of scans from the inventory of Vicky Cirner, one scan courtesy of the Ellis Parker Butler web site, and a number from eBay sellers; the remainder are from photographs we took of the copyright set at LC.


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Update history:

  • 11 January 2007: New version of this document, for new website version.
  • 2 February 2005: Added one new and one greatly improved image, courtesy of the Ellis Parker Butler web site. Butler's famous for Pigs is Pigs.
  • 1 February 2005: Created web pages for BROWN BOOK OF BOSTON, beginning with 10 cover images