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Continuing Exhibition:
Periodic Pleasures: Collecting Vintage Magazines

Currently on display in the Alexander Library is the exhibition "Periodic Pleasures: Collecting Vintage Magazines." This exhibition showcases selections from the historic magazine collection of Todd Hunt, Professor Emeritus, Department of Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, and Chairman of the Retired Faculty Association. Items in the exhibition highlight the evolution of the most important magazine genres—news, ladies', children's, and, of course, pulp-as well as tracing themes such as the development of illustration, photography, advertising, and the impact of changes in the media on magazine publishing.

Professor Hunt has been an avid reader and collector of magazines since the age of ten, when he published his first article in a national magazine. Soon after he arrived at Rutgers in 1968 to teach journalism, his articles were appearing in The Atlantic Monthly, McCall's, House Beautiful, GQ and other magazines. Hunt's collection began as a teaching tool for his Rutgers' classes. Rather than collecting complete runs of magazines, Hunt sought examples of specific genres.

The exhibition includes an example of the first publication in history to be called a "magazine," from the French magasin, meaning "storehouse." Founded in 1731 in London and printed on Fleet Street, The Gentleman's Magazine used the same printing forms as were used for books. The eclectic contents included weather, poetry, letters and current events. Also of interest are examples of early women's magazines like Peterson's and The Ladies' Home Journal.

The exhibition also includes examples of the scurrilous pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. One of the most notorious, Bernarr Macfadden's much-imitated True Detective, was published in Dunellen, New Jersey. The magazine is full of crime-scene pictures, some showing the body of the victim or a bloodstained sidewalk. Law enforcement officers and key witnesses also are portrayed in abundance. After World War II, pulp magazines faced serious competition from the twenty-five-cent paperback book.

The exhibition is curated by Todd Hunt and Fernanda Perrone of Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries. It will be on display in Gallery '50, on the first floor of the Alexander Library, until March 15, 2005. Gallery hours are 9:00 to 5:00 Monday through Friday and 1:00 to 5:00 on Saturday. For more information, please call Fernanda Perrone at 732/932-7006 x363 or send her email at

Posted January 18, 2004