Friday, April 14, 2023

SEX, November 1926

Hi-Res Scan.  Sexy edits from McCoy: SEX (1926-11.Dawn)(Darwination-McCoy).cbr

or at the IA (can't believe they put an "inappropriate" label on this lmao) here.

So, SEX.  

There it is.  No more hiding it America, it's here to stay.  Boomers may like to talk about sexual revolution of the 60s, but compared to what happened in the 20s? C'mon, now. What a crazy sexquake hit society in the roaring 20s with bobbed hair, short skirts, fast cars, bootleg booze and loose behavior.  But in SEX, there's more at play than changing social conventions.  The frank title denotes open discussion and acceptance of sex as much as any lewder connotations.

SEX ran for at least 8 issues (perhaps more) from September of 1926 into late 1928 and was published by the Dawn Publishing Company who also published successful flagship magazine Dawn as well Edwin Bower Hesser's Arts Monthly Pictorial and a handful of other short lived art photo magazines.

I haven't exactly sussed out who the driving force behind Dawn publishing was, and there seems to be a little myth involved, but two names that pop up are Margaret Sanger and Henry Knight Miller.  Miller was a progressive Christian minister that would later appear in magazines like Psychology, and he writes an article in this magazine as well.  Margaret Sanger is much better known still today, even if she is name checked in tired abortion debates as much as anything.  Sanger, a birth control advocate and sex educator appeared frequently as a contributor in Bernarr MacFadden's Physical Culture magazines which might have been the tip of the spear in terms of breaking frank sex talk into the American mainstream.  Gerard Jones, in Men of Tomorrow, paints a vivid picture of Sanger's entanglements in the magazine industry including her ties to Eastern News who helped Sanger distribute feminist journals and spiritualist magazines.  Sanger also had as lover Harold Hersey who helped edit Sanger's The Woman Rebel.  By this time Hersey had already edited legendary pulp The Thrill Book at Street & Smith (where he was fired for writing too many stories under alias in order to pocket the authors' shares) and at Clayton Magazines.  The most intriguing entanglement Gerard Jones alludes to is the network of distribution at Eastern which allowed for physical items to be moved along side the magazines. Thusly, Sanger had a network for distribution of condoms, diaphragms, and feminine hygiene products.  Expanding this network was printer Harry Donenfeld whose mob connection and ties to the likes of Frank Costello allowed the movement of birth control through bootlegger routes away from the eyes of johnny law (or more likely in collusion with johnny law, prohibition was good for cops on the take, everybody gets paid and stays happy).

Anyways, conjecture, but an amazing confluence of activists, free thinkers, mobsters and magazine men (editors, writers, printers, distributors) at play in a sort of wild underground culture which moved wares to newstands, under the counter locations, speakeasies, and wherever someone might want to find a magazine or something as simple but necessary as a condom, eh? 

Is this very magazine, which a prude might quickly dismiss as filth, actually serving a broader community purpose? An artistic purpose? Even a higher, godly purpose?!  

Hell, maybe SEX is just fun :)

How much sense does every word on this page make?
Winnifred Cooley has had enough of the question of why do gentlemen prefer blondes. She asks instead about the will to self destruction of the playboy and callous temperament of the gold digger, fantastic.  (*cough* though I do prefer Blondes)

The Old Man's Darling Was His Slave is an interesting bit of "true fiction" in which a trophy wife and all involved get there comeuppance in the form of the woman's narrative very popular as far back as the blossoming of the novel but more contemporaneously in the 20s in magazines like True Story or True Confessions.  

Here are a couple of pages on matrimony, sound common sense advice among the sepia nudes.  When Husbands Are Easy to Live With by Rosita Forbes.

The Alchemy of Love by Henry Knight Miller.  We know God not thru musty books...but through unselfish and unstinted love.

And the sort of page a magazine researcher loves.  Next month, apparently SEX changes to a full magazine sized format.  Also, I now know Sex Stories  is an associated magazine. I would LOVE to get a scan of an issue of Sex Stories if there are any patrons of the scannerly art out there listening - I'll be gentle, I swear -

But, perhaps it's time for some beautiful photos, no doubt the reason many purchased the magazine if not for the articles 😏




1 comment:

Twobyfour said...

Gorgeous scan.... Miss seeing your work, welcome back :-)