Top Dog

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 11.29.29 AMNow that I have your attention (at least the dog lovers anyway; and yes, there is a dog-related item if you read on), it is worth mentioning that the Feb. 20, 1926 issue of The New Yorker marked the first anniversary of the magazine, and in what would become an annual tradition, the magazine reprinted the original Rea Irvin cover from its first issue.

The magazine nearly went belly up during the summer of 1925, but a new marketing campaign, along with noticeably better content, put the magazine firmly in the black as it looked to its second year.

In “The Talk of the Town,” the editors couldn’t help but boast about their prosperity, albeit in a winking manner:

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Jimmy the Ink (James Daugherty) marked the anniversary with this drawing…

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…and Corey Ford, who contributed more than twenty satirical house ads for the magazine under the title, “The Making of the Magazine,” returned to form in this issue with a recollection of the magazine’s imagined past (a device The Onion employs to great effect):

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The magazine’s prosperity was evident not only in its talented stable of writers and illustrators, but also in its pages crammed with advertising. As I’ve noted before, much of the advertising is directed at the Anglo- and Franco-phile tastes of the magazine’s readers. For example, this ad from Studebaker suggesting a connection to British royalty:

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Continuing on the theme of royalty, none other than Her Royal Highness, “La Princesse Genevieve” gave her nod to Produits Bertie skin cream (joining the ranks of other royal and society women who hawked moisturizers, cold creams and even cigarettes in those days…)

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Royal endorsements were not limited to France and England, as none other than the Maharajah de Kapurthala put his seal of approval on Melachrino cigarettes in an ad featured on the inside back cover…

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The issue was filled with car ads, appearing in the wake of January’s 26th Annual National Automobile Show at the Grand Central Palace. But the latest spectacle was the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at the new Madison Square Garden, with the Terrier Group once again taking the top prize. The “Talk” editors offered this observation on Westminster:

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BEST IN SHOW 1926…Signal Circuit of Halleston was a Wire Fox Terrier and winner of the the 50th Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1926. The fourth Fox Terrier to win best in show, Signal Circuit was one of 200 Fox Terriers present at the 1926 Westminster show. He was handled by Percy Roberts, who had imported the dog from England and had just stepped off the boat before the show. The dog was described as having “phenominal length of head and sound movement.” (WKC)
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The New Yorker’s Helen Hokinson offered this illustration to mark the event.

An advertisement from Bonwit Teller even got into the spirit of the thing…

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From my How Times Have Changed department, this ad from Guaranty Trust:

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And finally, a detail from a center-page illustration by Rea Irvin depicting the result of a blizzard that blanketed the city in February 1926:

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Next Time: A Fine Mess…

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Published by

David O

I read and write about history from the perspective that history is not some artifact from the past but a living, breathing condition we inhabit every moment of our lives, or as William Faulkner once observed, "The past is never dead. It's not even past." I read original source materials, such as every issue of The New Yorker, not only as a way to understand a time from a particular perspective, but to also use the source as an aggregator of various historic events. I welcome comments, criticisms, corrections and insights as I stumble along through the century.

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