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Blue Book (magazine)

Blue Book was a popular 20th-century American magazine with a lengthy 70-year run under various titles from 1905 to 1975.[1] It was a sibling magazine to Redbook and The Green Book Magazine.

Blue Book
CategoriesPulp magazine, Men's magazine
Year founded1905
Final issue1975
CountryUnited States

Launched as The Monthly Story Magazine, it was published under that title from May 1905 to August 1906 with a change to The Monthly Story Blue Book Magazine for issues from September 1906 to April 1907. In its early days, Blue Book also carried a supplement on theatre actors called "Stageland". The magazine was aimed at both male and female readers.[1]

For the next 45 years (May 1907 to January 1952), it was known as The Blue Book Magazine, Blue Book Magazine, Blue Book,[2] and Blue Book of Fiction and Adventure. The title was shortened with the February 1952 issue to simply Bluebook, continuing until May 1956. With a more exploitative angle, the magazine was revived with an October 1960 issue as Bluebook for Men, and the title again became Bluebook for the final run from 1967 to 1975.

In its 1920s heyday, Blue Book was regarded as one of the "Big Four" pulp magazines (the best-selling, highest-paying and most critically acclaimed pulps), along with Adventure, Argosy and Short Stories.[3]


Publishers and editorsEdit

The early publishers were Story-Press Corporation and Consolidated Magazines, followed in 1929 by McCall. After H.S. Publications took over the reins in October 1960, Hanro (Sterling) was the publisher from August 1964 until March 1966 and then the QMG Magazine Corporation, beginning April 1967.

The succession of editors included Karl Edward Harriman, Donald Kennicott (1929 to January 1952), [4] Maxwell Hamilton (February 1952 through the mid-1950s) and Andre Fontaine in the mid-1950s, followed by Frederick A. Birmingham. Maxwell Hamilton returned for the 1960 revival, followed by B. R. Ampolsk in 1967.

Illustrators and writersEdit

Cover artists during the 1930s included Dean Cornwell, Joseph Chenoweth,[5] Henry J. Soulen and Herbert Morton Stoops, who continued as the cover artist during the 1940s.

The first Blue Book contributors included science-fiction authors George Allan England and William Hope Hodgson,[4] as well as the "Freelances in Diplomacy" (1910) series by Clarence H. New (1862–1933) a series of early spy stories.[6] Rider Haggard and Albert Payson Terhune also published work in Blue Book. Leland Gustavson (1894-1966) was an illustrator for "Blue Book"

In the 1920s, Blue Book's roster of authors included two of the world's most famous writers of popular fiction: Edgar Rice Burroughs and Agatha Christie.[3] In addition to Tarzan, Burroughts published material about "Nyoka, the Jungle Girl" in Blue Book. Nyoka first appeared in "The Land of Hidden Men," a 1929 Blue Book short story by Burroughs.[7] The characters of Sax Rohmer, James Oliver Curwood, and Zane Grey appeared in Blue Book. Adventure fiction was a staple of Blue Book; in addition to Burroughs, P. C. Wren, H. Bedford-Jones, Achmed Abdullah, George F. Worts, Lemuel De Bra (who specialized in "Chinatown" thrillers) and William L. Chester (with his Burroughs-influenced "Hawk of the Wilderness", about a white boy adopted by Native Americans) all published in the magazine.[3] Sea stories were also popular in Blue Book, and George Fielding Eliot, Captain A. E. Dingle and Albert Richard Wetjen were some of the publication's authors known for this subgenre.[8]

Writers during the 1940s included Nelson S. Bond, Max Brand, Gelett Burgess, Eustace Cockrell, Irvin S. Cobb, Robert A. Heinlein, MacKinlay Kantor, Willy Ley, Theodore Pratt. Ivan Sanderson, Luke Short (pseudonym of Frederick D. Glidden, 1908–1975), Booth Tarkington, Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Philip Wylie and Dornford Yates. Blue Book managed to attract fiction from a number of authors who did not normally publish in pulp magazines, including Georges Simenon, Shelby Foote and William Lindsay Gresham.[1]

An anthology of stories from the magazine is Best Sea Stories from Bluebook.[8]

Pulp historian Ed Hulse has stated that between the 1910s and the 1950s Blue Book "achieved and sustained a level of excellence reached by few other magazines".[3]


  1. ^ a b c "Blue Book—The Slick in Pulp Clothing", by Mike Ashley. Pulp Vault Magazine, No. 14. Barrington Hills, IL: Tattered Pages Press, 2011: pp. 210–53.
  2. ^ Cover, Blue Book April 1935
  3. ^ a b c d "The Big Four (Plus One)" in The Blood 'n' Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps by Ed Hulse. Murania Press, 2009, ISBN 0-9795955-0-9 (pp. 19–47).
  4. ^ a b "Blue Book Magazine, The" in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. Orbit Books, 1993 (p. 139).
  5. ^ Bio of Blue Book cover artist Joseph C. Chenoweth, accessed on October 19, 2012
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Mysteriosa, edited by William L. DeAndrea. MacMillan, 1994 (p. 287).
  7. ^ In 1932, Burroughs expanded the story into his novel, The Jungle Girl, which was adapted into a movie serial in 1941, followed by another serial, The Perils of Nyoka (1942). The second serial was edited into a 1966 TV movie. Fawcett published a Jungle Girl comic book in 1942.Violet Books Archived May 3, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ a b Best Sea Stories from Bluebook, edited by Horace Vondys, introduced by Donald Kennicott. New York: The McBride Company, 1954.


  • An Index to Blue Book Magazine, compiled by Mike Ashley, Victor A. Berch and Peter Ruber, was completed in 2004 but has yet to be published.

External linksEdit