Quick Facts

  • Contains over 17,000 fiction and non-fiction articles and stories
  • Includes the complete 26-year run
  • Scanned in full color
  • Coming Soon to Gale NewsVault

GEOGRAPHY COVERED:

TIME PERIOD: 1924–1950

 

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Related Subject Areas
American History
American Literature
American Studies
Art & Architecture
Communications
Cultural Studies
Fine Arts
Journalism
Labor and Social Welfare
Literary History
Literature
Nazi Germany
Religion
Theatre
Women/Gender

Related Areas of Interest
American Social History
Social History
Sociology
World War II

Liberty: A Weekly for Everybody was founded in 1924 by Joseph Patterson, publisher of the New York Daily News and Robert McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and often regarded as the world’s greatest publisher. From its inception, they set out to make the magazine more topical, daring and exciting than any competitors. Information was presented in a style heavily influenced by the emerging motion picture industry and focused on the most sensational and popular issues.

The magazine flourished when illustrated magazines were the most important form of mass entertainment. This was an era of unique creativity and growing involvement in world affairs.  During the following 26 years the magazine charted the moods, attitudes, lifestyles, fads, and fortunes of middle America through its three most significant decades.

The magazine’s ongoing circulation of more than 3 million weekly was founded on the high quality and originality of its art, stories, and other features.  Its prominence and willingness to pay for the best attracted original contributions from the greatest artists, writers, celebrities and statesmen of the age.

Liberty cover, October 7, 1939

Summary:  Liberty Magazine Historical Archive, 1924-1950 provides users engaged in research of the 20th century a delightful range of art, stories, articles and advertisements offering valuable insight into Depression Era and World War II America.  It offers a rich perspective of the everyday lives of working-class and middle-class America that no other resource can match.

Coming soon to Gale NewsVault, this collection combined with Gale's other 20th century newspaper resources (Picture Post, Illustrated London News, The Listener, The Times, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Times, and more) will provide students with a wealth of materials and perspectives that cannot be found anywhere else.

Significance: Liberty played host to some of the most famous artists, authors, writers, celebrities, and political figures of its time period.  Chief among them were:

Artists: James Montgomery Flagg, McClelland Barclay, Neysa McMein, Peter Arno, Arthur William Brown, Wallace Morgan, Robert Edgren, Ralph Barton, W.T. Benda, Cesare, John T. McCutcheon, Willy Pogany, Herb Roth, Robin Kirby, Addison Burbank, John Held, Jr., Harold Anderson, Leslie Thrasher, Walt Disney.

Writers: Robert Benchley, Paul Gallico, Irvin S. Cobb, John Galsworthy, Mackinlay Kantor, F. Hugh Herbert, Louis Bromfield, Dashiell Hammett, P.G. Wodehouse, George Bernard Shaw, Agatha Christie, Dr. Seuss, H.L. Mencken, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Celebrities/Statesmen: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mahatma Ghandi, Winston Churchill, W.C. Fields, H.G. Wells, Albert Einstein, Mary Pickford, Jean Harlow, Mae West, Greta Garbo, Leon Trotsky, Benito Mussolini, Al Capone, Babe Ruth.

Over the years as many as 120 of the literary properties were adapted for popular media. These include such major films as: Double Indemnity, Sergeant York, My Man Godfrey and the television series: Mr. Ed the Talking Horse. The long running story written and illustrated by Leslie Thrasher, For the Love o’ Lil, featured weekly on the cover for 6 years, was subsequently made into a radio series and a Columbia Pictures movie and is recognized as America’s first soap opera.

The title Liberty was originally chosen in a national competition that drew nearly 1.5 million entries. It now represents far more than the original ‘Weekly for Everybody” and a slice of Americana; it opens a unique and permanent perspective on a nation’s daily life, interests and values during a most vital and extraordinary period.

Very first cover of Liberty, May 10, 1924

Content from Liberty consist of 17,000 fiction and non-fiction copyrighted articles and features a wide range of materials, including:

  • Adventure stories: Over 900, covering Man against Man, Man against the Elements, Man against Animals, from 1,000 to 5,000 words.
  • Short-short stories: Approximately 1,000. This was one of Liberty’s most famous department. Known and unknown writers turned out crisp literary gems which have become classics for their tight editing and twist endings. Each story about 1,000 words.
  • Mystery, Suspense, and Spy stories: Nearly 1,500, from the masters of the mystery plot, both British and American, as well as in-depth probing of famous crime stories.
  • Human Interest stories: Nearly 1000, by and about great personalities in the arts, in government, and in society around the world.
  • Series “Continued Next Week” stories: Approximately 300, from 5000 to 90,000 words, primarily the work of top authors in fiction.
  • Western stories: 300, many written by the now acknowledged deans of American Western fiction on the old wild, wild West.
  • Biographies and Autobiographies: 150, fascinating insights into the lives of the rich and powerful, both famous and infamous.
  • Love stories: Over 1,000, for the women’s market, many in costume, written by the masters of romantic fiction.
  • World War I and II stories: Nearly 500, as well as guerrilla conflicts. Liberty was considered to be the greatest in war stories.
  • Humor stories: 340, many classics of the Robert Benchley, Groucho Marx schools of humor writing.
  • Articles: 10,000, by Albert Einstein and Greta Garbo to George Bernard Shaw, plus Christmas stories, animal stories, cartoons, and puzzles.
  • Art: Over 1,300 full color covers, by great American artists, such as Leslie Thrasher, over 10,000 one and two color illustrations representing the likes of John Held and James Montgomery Flagg, and thousands of ads of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.

Liberty cover, August 14, 1943

Source: Gale licensed the magazine’s content from the Liberty Library Corporation, owned by Robert Whiteman, who has collected and organized the content over many years.  For more information about Liberty content, please visit Liberty Library Corporation's website.

 

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