Open main menu

Joseph Shaw (editor)

Joseph T. "Cap" Shaw (1874–1952) was the editor of Black Mask magazine from 1926 to 1936. Prior to becoming Black Mask editor, Shaw had worked as a newspaper reporter and as a soldier in World War I, attaining the rank of captain (Shaw's friends gave him the nickname "Cap"). [1] Shaw was also a professional fencer, and even won an Olympic medal for his fencing ability.[1][2] Under his editorship, Black Mask published many works of crime fiction now recognised as classics of the genre, by authors such as Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Erle Stanley Gardner.[2][3][4]

Chandler greatly admired Shaw's ability to encourage Black Mask writers, claiming in a letter, "We wrote better for him than we could have written for anybody else".[1]

Despite Black Mask's critical and commercial popularity, Shaw was eventually fired from the magazine. Shaw then worked as a literary agent, though without notable success.[5] He died in Manhattan aged 77.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Danger is My Business: an illustrated history of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines by Lee Server. Chronicle Books, 1993, ISBN 0-8118-0355-4 (pp. 68-70).
  2. ^ a b Hired Pens : Professional Writers in America's Golden Age of print by Ronald Weber. Ohio University Press, 1997 ISBN 0-8214-1204-3 (p. 98)
  3. ^ Black Mask magazine Archived 2008-12-28 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Pulps" by Robert Sampson, in Encyclopedia Mysteriosa, edited by William L. DeAndrea. MacMillan, 1994, ISBN 0-02-861678-2 (p.287-9)
  5. ^ Selected Letters of Raymond Chandler, Frank MacShane, ed., Columba University Press, 1981, ISBN 0-231-05080-1 (pp. 5-8).