Covers of the Saturday Evening Post: Seventy Years of Outstanding Illustration from America's Favorite Magazine

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Covers of the Saturday Evening Post: Seventy Years of Outstanding Illustration from America's Favorite Magazine. New York: Viking Studio Books, 1995. 298 pp. $60.00. ISBN 0-670-84962-6.

Each made to serve for a week, the covers of the Saturday Evening Post have come to represent for several lifetimes the epoch of a popular American magazine from 1899 through 1969. This book is a marvelous and estimable visual record, here recorded in fairly reliable color images from the Curtis Publishing Company archives. While the best-known illustrators of the Saturday Evening Post covers J.C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell, this history provides us with other illustrators as varied as Harrison Fisher and N.C. Wyeth and inevitably the triumph of the camera in the 1960s. Most images in the volume are presented in seriatim, 16 to a page, in full color. A few images are reproduced one or four to a page. The sweep of history is fascinating. If we observe the trends, we watch the religious covers and secular icons of the early years of the century meld into the anecdotes of the 1950s and 1960s. Each decade is introduced by an intelligent, serviceable essay by Cohn, speaking to the art of the cover and to the content of the issues. Every personal and professional library of twentieth-century America should have this book or have ready access to it.

The single reservation I have regarding this volume is its medium, curiously old-fashioned. …