Wait... Can you see what is not quite right here?
|Two copies of Picture Post, Hulton's National Weekly, 1938, Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (CH5/2/8/1 and 2)|
Which brings us to this curious case of our not-quite-first edition here in the Charles Hasler collection. On closer inspection it is clear that one of the magazines is in fact the dummy run. It was used to promote Picture Post to potential investors (companies who would buy advertising space).
The opening page contains a note by Lorant casting the vision for what Picture Post will be:
PICTURE POST will have a definite attitude to the problems of to-day – but it will choose its pictures first for their picture-value and their freshness… The drama of great achievement or calamities ; the private lives and interests of famous men and women ; the high-lights of sport ; the astonishing range of expression on the human face ; the natural grace of children ; the improbable and sometimes terrifying, ways of animals and insects… from this vast field PICTURE POST will take picture-records and picture-stories to entertain and interest its readers week by week.
On the other side, it is down to business: setting out the cost of advertising space, with the enticing special introductory offer of a twenty percent discount.
|Page 1 of a dummy run of Picture Post, Hulton's National Weekly, 1 September 1938, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (CH5/2/8/1)|
It is fascinating comparing the dummy run to the first edition to see who purchased advertising space and which photographs were used or replaced. Take for example Page 8 and 9. The dummy run advertises a full spread on page 8 for £120 and on page 9, four cameramen snap away at a swim-suited beauty up a pole with a caption that explains that 'Picture Post photographers cover the world... Picture Post will portray world events more fully than has ever been done before.'
|Page 8 and 9 of a dummy run of Picture Post, Hulton's National Weekly, 1 September 1938, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (CH5/2/8/1)|
|Page 8 and 9 of Picture Post, Hulton Press Ltd. 1st October 1938, Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture (CH5/2/8/2)|
In his opening note in the dummy run, Lorant speculates that the magazine would have a national circulation of hundreds of thousands. In fact the first edition's print run of 750,000 copies sold out by noon and within six months the magazine's circulation was over 1.6 million. By the Second World War it is thought that up to 80% of the country was reading the weekly publication.
When one factors in the high readership of the magazine and the significant period of history that it covered (the lead up to, the experience of and aftermath of World War Two) it is no surprise that we prize Picture Post as one of the more significant magazines in our collection. MoDA holds editions of the magazine from 1938 to 1957. I would thoroughly recommend it to researchers for it's visual representation of social, political and cultural matters impacting the UK during this time. To get a sneak peak inside the magazine, check out this online exhibition from Getty and this magazine article about one of Picture Post's prominent photographers, Thurston Hopkins.
Now, I will get back to auditing. In regards to the dummy run of the first edition of Picture Post, please do get in touch if you have any thoughts, information or ideas about this special find.