Saturday, October 23, 2010

Deconstructing Old Ads: Six Decades of Field & Stream Covers

Six Decades of Field & Stream Covers

The first cover here is from June 1903 and is one of my favorites. The longer you look at it the more things you see. All covers during this period featured the buffalo skull logo.

The second cover shown here is from May 1915. Issues from this period featured the fancy border and attractive paintings of outdoor scenes. As the cover states, the magazine was 20 years old this month.

The 1920s were a time of great prosperity. The magazine was now 25 cents and features loads of ads in its 190 pages. This May 1923 issue also announces $3500 in cash prizes for their thirteenth annual fishing contest.

The June 1937 issue reflects the realities of the Depression. The price of the magazine is now 15 cents. The prizes for the fishing contest have been reduced by $500 and the 120 page issue features far more modest ads that those from the 1920's.

This June 1945 issue reflects the reality of World War II. It features a patriotic cover and is printed in a smaller format as well as on obviously cheaper paper. A large majority of the advertising is from larger companies and most say something to the effect that they are presently engaged in the War effort but will be back in the outdoor equipment business as soon as peace arrives.

My final example comes from the decade of the 1950s. This January 1958 issue is the first copy of Field & Stream that I ever purchased off the news stand. The cover sold me and still captivates my eye. When I was growing up in northwestern Ohio in the 1950's hunting was very popular with high school age boys. I fact if one brought a note from home, you could be excused for a half-day of school on the opening day of squirrel season and Rabbit season. There were no deer, no turkeys and as we had no water nearby, no ducks or geese. I was 18 when I saw my first Canada Goose, a single bird flying over the corn field I was standing in. Today that corn field is part of a College campus, covered with grass, ponds and Canada Geese. For me this cover has always captured the thrill of hunting cottontails on the snow.

-- Bill Sonnett

1 comment:

Cofisher said...

Old ads just thrill me, as do old catalogs. I love what you're doing. I'll be following along. Thanks!