Friday 29 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part V

I have 40 of approximately 700 of The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday novel inserts. In that small sample there are 15 artists whose work is seen on the front cover and inside. One colour predominates, the images have a weighty look and, with five exceptions, the front cover art is not combined with text. This contrasts with the look of the Canadian Star Weekly novel inserts from those years. Well into the 1950s the Star Weekly covers looked like this example (artist William Book) regardless of the genre.

One of the artists is Miriam Troop (1917-?) whose work is also seen on two 1940 Saturday Evening Post covers at the young age of 23.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - June 27, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 7, 1943

The Philadelphia Inquirer - December 14, 1941

Star Weekly - May 8, 1943

Thursday 28 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part IV

Part III discussed my estimate of the surprising number of copies of novels that were published by The Philadelphia Inquirer as Sunday inserts over 14 years - 700 million. I use an estimate of 1,000,000 average circulation for the Sunday edition to arrive at that figure. This is based on actual figures that range from 1.035 million in 1938 to 1.093 million in 1947.

I have identified 430 of the estimated 700 Inquirer issues. There are 295 authors in that group with Georges Simenon first with 19 titles and Ben Ames Williams and Faith Baldwin second with five. How many of these authors are around (i.e. in print) today? Simenon certainly is - all 75 of his Maigret novels are  available from Penguin. Rex Stout, Stefan Zweig, Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby - May 23, 1937) are four more obvious ones. It takes some research to find others. I would guess a few dozen at most.

Here are three authors who are among the roughly 270 forgotten.

October 12, 1941 - Our Second Murder by Torrey Chanslor (Frederick A. Stokes, 1941)

May 11, 1941 - Little Hercules by Francis Wallace (M. S. Mill, 1939)

August 24 1941 - Hometown Angel by Reita Lambert (Macrae-Smith, 1940)

The Philadelphia Inquirer - October 12, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - May 11, 1941

The Philadelphia Inquirer - August 24, 1941

Monday 25 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part III

Continuing the story from part II here are three more weekly newspaper novel supplements from The Philadelphia Inquirer, all from August 1941.

The Inquirer (1829-), as far as I can tell, published the Gold Seal Novels on Sunday from May 1934 to September 1949 with no issues from May 1946 to April 1948 - approximately 700 issues. I have been able to identify 430 of them. During these years Sunday circulation was likely averaging close to a million copies per week, again, based on what I can find on line. This means around 700 million copies of the novels were sold by this one newspaper alone.

What was the impact of this on the publishing world? For example, what were the royalty terms for the publisher/author and what did booksellers think of this competition? I can find no answers to these and other questions.

August 3, 1941 - Sinfully Rich by Hulbert Footner (Harper and Brothers, 1940)

August 17, 1941 - A Face For a Clue by Georges Simenon (Artheme Fayard, 1931 as Le chien jaune)

August 31, 1941 - Mooney Moves Around by Kerry O'Neil (Reynal & Hitchcock, 1939)

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 3, 1941

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 17, 1941

Philadelphia Inquirer - August 31, 1941

Saturday 23 March 2024

Newspaper Novels Part II

In part I I introduced mid-century weekly novel newspaper inserts. I recently picked up 40 examples from The Philadelphia Inquirer who published around 700 from 1934 to 1949. Unlike some of their US competitors who used Canadian produced supplements the Inquirer's were unique. Here is one example - Georges Simenon's A Crime in Holland from November 30, 1941.

The insert is 20 pages (including front and back covers) with the cover and internal illustrations by Ben Dale (1889-1951) and an advertisement on the last page. The novel is quite short yet approximately 29% abridged for the insert. The dimensions are 27 1/2mm (10 7/8") x 36mm (14 1/4").

Simenon (1903-1989) was the most popular Inquirer author with at least 20 novels.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - November 30, 1941