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A Brief History of Time

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Not a scientific look into the universe, but popular culture does provide a glimpse into mankind, the evolution of our ideas, and how we have come to be where we are.

I've always loved books. In fact, I studied journalism in college because it was the closest thing I could think of that would allow me to work while continuing to dream about being published someday.

Life has its own plans, and if we are not persistent... well, life changes. Not to say it might not still happen some day!

I lived in England for a few years after college, enamored by the idea of being in Shakespeare's country, disenchanted by the cold, lonely and grey days.

In one of my early expeditions, when the value of vintage was still an abstract idea to me, I browsed a little used book store and found a tatty looking, badly printed copy of an unedited Swedish publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence. This "Unexpurgated Only Original Edition" by Sweden Lotus Press was published in the 1940s when it was still banned in many countries.

We've truly come a long way, baby! And hence another Obsessed collection.

Books and magazines show us a piece of history, how far social acceptance, class, and behaviors can change, and how it can also influence change.

I did also find some strange Victorian books obsessed with taboo subjects that I won't delve on here, but what was surprising was that we could have come from Victorian times when these taboo books were being published to the 40s when the subject of female sexuality, class and status caused such a commotion, thus banning Lady Chatterley's Lover on the pretext of obscenity.

Last week I came across a May 1919 edition of The People's Home Journal. In its colorful pages, filled with advertisements ranging from Palmolive Soap to Campbell's soup, it is clear what a "lady's" job was.

The People's Home Journal was a general interest magazine that ran from 1885 to 1929. It was directed toward women, housewives and families

featuring recipes, household tips, entertaining and informative tidbits, along with short stories.

At one point they had one of the highest circulations nationwide.

This particular edition that I acquired is 44 pages long in total (front and back) with ads from Karo, Palmolive, Bissel, Campbell's Soup, Coca Cola, Carnation and Borden's among others. Featured stories include a fashion article, short stories, and a "news in picture" section.

It really is quite fascinating to look at history through the eyes of mass media.

Just as it is today with magazines and popular TV, it is through ads that we get a better idea of what is happening socially and around the world. If you have recently looked at a Vogue, Glamour, or Elle you will notice that really not much has changed (underneath it all). We all want good hair, fair skin and to make our family happy, whether it be by making the best pancakes or making the windows shine!

The year is 1919 and the 1st war is over. Not much about politics or current affairs is present. There's a feature about army nurses and a couple of ads that point a bit to current affairs, if you read closely.

I looked everywhere trying to figure out who was the artist responsible for the cover, but have been unsuccessful. It looks like the same drawing was used as the cover for the sheet music of "I'm Always Falling in Love With The Other Fellow's Girl," by Elliot Shaw.

If you can trace the artist, please share. Not attributing art to the artist nowadays would be unheard of and a sure lawsuit :-)

More on history and popular culture to come.

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