ADVENTURE Magazine Profile

This was the canonical "Adventure" pulp; click here to go directly to the gallery of cover images. Begun in 1910 as a way for publisher Ridgway to tap into a new market, it specialized in stories of danger and thrills. At this time other pulp and popular magazines contained a wide variety of stories ranging from danger to romance (even when these are not the same thing). Its creation was a logical response to the success of pulps like ARGOSY, which by 1910 were selling hundreds of thousands of copies of each issue; but the focus on adventure was something new.

ADVENTURE was about Adventure, the chance that something unusual might happen even to you, or at least to someone you could read about. The covers reflected this. It was bought by men. However, in early 1915 ADVENTURE changed its cover designs, which had been filled with red-blooded, dangerous men and animals, often in life-threatening situations, to showing exclusively pretty women in everyday or romantic poses. At the same time they adopted a new cover slogan: "Stories of Life, Love, and ADVENTURE." Clearly they were trying to appeal to women as well as men. This did not seem to work; in February 1917 they returned to the original approach, and kept things this way until the magazine changed to a "men's adventure" magazine in April 1953. This final incarnation of the magazine lasted until 1971, sometimes emphasizing girls and sometimes carrying new or reprint fiction. In its last hurrah in 1970-1, the magazine (now in digest format) returned to its original title logo and and claimed to be "The Number 1 Fiction Magazine for Men."


Phil Stephensen-Payne's Galactic Central provides the following summary of ADVENTURE'S publishing history, compiled from sources including The Adventure House Guide to the Pulps, Tim Cotrill's Ultimate Guide to the Pulps and It's a Man's World : Men's Adventure Magazines:

Total Issues: 878 (of which 753 were pulp or pulp-digest, and the remainder in the larger, "men's magazine" format)

Publishers:
Nov-1910 - 23-Sep-1926: The Ridgway Co.
8-Oct-1926 - Jun-1934: Butterick Publishing
Jul-1934 - Apr-1971: Popular Publications

Editors:
Nov-1910 - Jan-1912?: Trumbull White
Feb-1912 - 15-Jun-1927: Arthur S. Hoffman
1-Jul-1927 - 1-Oct-1927: Joseph Cox
15-Oct-1927 - 15-Feb-1930: Anthony M. Rud
1-Mar-1930 - Feb-1934: Albert A. Proctor
Mar-1934 - Aug-1934: William Corcoran
1-Sep-1934 - Dec-1940: Harold Bloomfield
Dec-1940 - Dec-1948: Ken White
Jan-1949 - Sep-1951: Kendall Goodwyn
Nov-1951 - Mar-1953: Ejler Jacobsson
Apr-1953 - Jun-1953: Jerry Mason
Aug-1953 - Jun-1954: James O'Connell
Aug-1954 - Aug-1964: Alden H. Norton
Oct-1964 - Aug-1965: Gil Paust
Oct-1965 - Oct-1970: Peter H. Gannett
Dec-1970 - Apr-1971: Bruce Cassiday

Formats:
Nov-1910 - Sep-1926: pulp
Oct-1926 - Jul-1927: slick paper
Aug-1927 - Dec-1950: pulp
Jan-1951 - May-1951: digest
Jun-1951 - May-1953: pulp
Jun-1953 - Oct-1970: quarto ("letter" 8.5" x 11")
Dec-1970 - Apr-1971: digest

Prices:
initially 15 cents
[more to be added]

Pagecounts:
192pp (rising to 224pp)
[more to be added]

Frequency:
Nov-1910 - Aug-1917: monthly
1-Sep-1917 - 15-Sep-1921: twice-monthly
10-Oct-1921 - 30-Mar-1926: thrice-monthly
8-Apr-1926 - 23-Nov-1926: twice-monthly
8-Dec-1926 - 31-Dec-1926: thrice-monthly
1-Jan-1927 - 15-May-1933: twice-monthly
Jun-1933 - Aug-1934: monthly
1-Sep-1934 - 15-Oct-1935: twice-monthly
Nov-1935 - May-1951: monthly
Jul-1951 - Aug-1955: bimonthly
Sep-1955 - Apr-1958: monthly
Jun-1958 - Apr-1971: bimonthly


Another title originally from the same publisher was EVERYBODY'S MAGAZINE, a mass- circulation journal which carried fact articles, and fiction by famous writers. By the late 1920's EVERYBODY'S had become an all-fiction magazine (to all intents a pulp), and as sales were faltering it was combined in 1929 into Ridgway's pulp fiction magazine ROMANCE. In a way this closed the circle; for ADVENTURE had come about as an extension of the company into the pulp fiction area.

Ridgway's other magazine ROMANCE had been created in 1919 as a stablemate of ADVENTURE, and at first published fiction in the swashbuckling mold of heroic "romance" as the term was used in the 19th Century. It came out with a dozen monthly issues and stopped; in November 1928 it was revived and ran monthly until January 1930, combined with EVERYBODY'S beginning with the June 1929 issue. We have cover images of most of the issues online. Its attempt to attract women readers was clear from the beginning, but the 1929 covers always contain the specific word "love" somewhere in their descriptions of contents. (It may be the case that the 1919-20 version of the magazine published some of the material originally bought for ADVENTURE in the mid-teens during its "Life and Love" phase, but not published before the format changed back; this would be an interesting research project.)

The contents of ADVENTURE have been indexed, and the index includes cover artists. It's out of print, but used copies of the Index to ADVENTURE are available for those with plenty of money. LOCUS sells a CD-ROM version of it, with updates, for $29.95.

There is just a stub for thematic listings of covers and artists on our All-Title Artists Listing Page, and this is only updated on occasion; see the Reference Information fields for the magazine iself (where that information has been entered).

An interesting discussion of the magazine can be found on the U. of Western Florida's "eNewsstand" project.

If you have copies of these magazines, and can help us put better images up here on the web for everyone to see, please contact us.

Sources:

  • Steve Miller, collector and bibliographer
  • Rob Preston
  • Ed Hulse, publisher of BLOOD AND THUNDER
  • Our own files
  • Bob Correll, who sells these magazines and other items on eBay as pike1920
  • eBay sellers

 


Update history:

  • 9 May 2011: Added UWF link.
  • 13 December 2008: Corrected source error on attribution on data from Phil Stephensen-Payne.
  • 6 January 2007: New version of this document, for new website version
  • 27 April 2006: Added 20 new and three improved cover images 1917-20, including 17 scans done for us by Steve Miller.
  • 14 March 2006: Added publishing information from Kurt Shoemaker
  • 17 February 2006: Added 11 new cover images and many improved ones for the period 1910-15. Thanks to Steve Miller for these! Also added two new 1919 issues from Bob Correll. We now have an image (some beautiful, some not) for all of the first five years of publication.
  • 31 January 2006: Added fine new versions of the first two issues, the extremely rare November and December 1910 issues, from scans of Steve Miller's copies.
  • 28 January 2006: Added 7 new images from the earliest years, courtesy of Rob Preston and Ed Hulse, 4 improved early cover images, and 3 derived from the ad series 1919-20 run in the back pages of EVERYBODY'S MAGAZINE.
  • 15 September 2005: Added 12 new and 5 improved images from the earliest years 1911 to 1916, from scans by Steve Miller, Bob Correll, and other sources.
  • 21 June 2005: Added 7 new and improved images from high-resolution scans by Bob Correll
  • 15 November 2004: Updated format
  • 22 October 2000: Created this section. First images uploaded.