LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and its Romantic Sisters

Jun 14, 2016 by

Love Story 37-05-29Although the Munsey group published the first specialized pulp magazines — beginning with THE RAILROAD MAN’S MAGAZINE in 1906, followed by THE OCEAN in 1907 — both pulps were a mixture of fact and fiction. It would be up to Street & Smith to originate the specialized pulp fiction magazine in the fall of 1915 when it introduced DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE to the reading public.

Originally published twice a month, DETECTIVE STORY became a weekly before the end of its second year of publication. Despite its great success, the new pulp did not immediately inspire many imitators. It would be up to Street & Smith itself to develop the trend: WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE arrived in 1919, followed by LOVE STORY in 1921, SEA STORIES in 1922, and SPORT STORY MAGAZINE in 1923. It was not until 1924 that the single-genre fiction pulp would start to take off as other publishers began to release their own specialty pulps. Many more specialty pulps would follow in the ensuing years, culminating in single-character magazines such as THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE.

When Street & Smith’s LOVE STORY MAGAZINE was launched in 1921, the pulp fiction magazine industry was changed forever. During the Roaring TwentiesLOVE STORY’s circulation would grow until it hit 600,000 in the early 1930s, a record that would never be broken by any other pulp magazine. The romance genre, along with the western, would become the best-selling pulp fiction genres through the Depression and World War II. Almost every pulp publisher, at one point or another, would attempt to break into the “love pulp” field. Sometimes their attempts would be successful, other times their magazines would fade after a few issues. And never would they be able to topple the circulation record set by LOVE STORY MAGAZINE.

In her talk, “LOVE STORY MAGAZINE and the Romance Pulp Phenomenon,” Laurie Powers will discuss the magazine, its famous editor Daisy Bacon, and the romance pulps that followed in its footsteps. Accompanied by many rare photos and artifacts, Laurie will tell how LOVE STORY began, what made it so popular, and how Daisy Bacon influenced its success. In addition, she will discuss LOVE STORY’s competition, including the long-running ALL-STORY LOVE STORIES — a pulp that was managed by LOVE STORY’s original editor and Daisy’s rival, Amita Fairgrieve — and the longest-running pulp fiction magazine, RANCH ROMANCES, a pulp that would spearhead a brand new genre, the romance western. Laurie’s look at LOVE STORY and its romantic “sisters” will take place at 9:40 PM on Friday, July 22 in the Union Rooms on the second floor of the Hyatt Regency.

Laurie Power’s interest in pulp fiction began in 1999 when she discovered that her paternal grandfather, Paul S. Powers, (1905–1971) had been a successful writer of stories that appeared in magazines such as WEIRD TALES, WILD WEST WEEKLY, WESTERN STORY MAGAZINE, REAL DETECTIVE TALES, and many more.  During her research, she discovered her grandfather’s unpublished manuscript, PULP WRITER: TWENTY YEARS IN THE AMERICAN GRUB STREET, which was published by the University of Nebraska in 2007. Since then, Laurie has been very active in the community of pulp magazine historians and collectors. In recent years she has been writing a biography of Daisy Bacon, editor of LOVE STORY MAGAZINE. Laurie also publishes Laurie’s Wild West, an Internet blog site that has become a favorite destination for those interested in the pulps.

Join “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con” as we salute a century of the specialty pulp from July 21 through July 24 in the Columbus, Ohio Arena district at the Hyatt Regency hotel and the city’s spacious convention center. You’ll have a LOVEly time. Please remember that the Hyatt Regency Columbus is sold out of rooms for July 21 through July 23. At www.columbusconventions.com/thearea.php, you’ll find a list of area hotels courtesy of the Greater Columbus Convention CenterAlternately, you can search for a room at tripadvisor or a similar website to find a hotel near the convention. Thanks so much to everyone who has reserved a room at our host hotel. By staying at the Hyatt Regency, you’ve helped to ensure the convention’s success.

(Modest Stein began contributing covers to the pulp market in 1910, selling to both the Munsey and Street & Smith chains. By the twenties, he was largely employed by the latter, painting covers for ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, CLUES, CRIME BUSTERS, DOC SAVAGE, FAR WEST ILLUSTRATED, LOVE STORY MAGAZINE — including the May 29, 1937 issue — ROMANTIC RANGE, THE SHADOW, UNKNOWN, and other Street & Smith titles. Following the publisher’s 1949 exit from the pulp field, Stein worked predominantly as a portrait artist. He died in 1958.)

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