Thursday, September 16, 2010

"They Kissed While the World Outside the Window Burned With Unearthly Flame"

It's funny how as soon as I publicly admitted that I was recovering from vintage burnout, and that you shouldn't expect any blog posts from me for a while - I found myself full of ideas and eager to post again!  Isn't that the way it always goes...

Anyway, this morning I was in the mood to catch up on my blog reading - but didn't get very far because I got caught up in the Baroness von Vintage's fun contest: write the best caption for a 1930's fashion illustration of imaginary social scenarios - and get $25 off on any item in her Etsy shop.  What a deal! 

I was determined to offer at least one entry in the contest so I opened up my September 1934 and April 1936 Good Housekeeping magazines and started reading some of the short stories inside for inspiration.

I didn't get very far with my reading. Most of the stories were overly dramatic and sappy - as you can see by the titles and captions below.  Of course, that over-the-top 1930's drama is precisely what makes them so charming.  It just takes a bit of getting used to, I guess.

The story illustrations, on the other hand, are delightfully charming in every way.  I've included examples from several illustrators.  My favorite, I think, is McClelland Barclay.  The last three are his. 

Well...I've babbled enough.  I'll just keep my mouth shut, and let you have a peek!  Let me know which illustrations / captions / titles you like best...


The Warming Fire
A Suburban Mother Goose Story
About a Girl who Tried her Best to be Cold
By Margaret E. Sangster
Illustrated by James and Charlotte Billmeyer
Ann asked him: "Why are you so nasty? I haven't done anything
to make you hate me."  "I don't hate you," he said at last.
"It's your background.  It keeps getting between me and you.

Not on Christmas
But It Couldn't Have Been a Sweeter Story If It Had Happened Then
by Elsie Singmaster
Illustrated by John Polgreen
"We'll start at four tomorrow," planned Jim,
resisting an implulse to kiss Hallie -- afraid he
would cry, his heart was so full.

The Doctor
With All his High Hopes Of Curing Others,
He Could Not Mend His Own Hurt Heart
by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Illustrated by Pruett Carter
"It can hurt nobody now for us to be honest," said Chris.
"I have always loved you, Beverly. I suppose I always shall." 
She was very quiet.  "No," she said slowly.
"It can hurt nobody now for me to know that."

Men and Angels
A Novel Inspired by Youth's Enchanted Hour
by Fanny Heaslip Lea
Illustrated by Tom Webb
They kissed while the world outside the window burned with unearthly flame,
the earth shook with sound.  Angelica said, "I must be mad..."
"Both mad," said Jarvis.

Seventh Summer
Some People Say, Is A Testing Time For Marriage
by Phyllis Duganne
Illustrated by McClelland Barclay
Anne struggled as Gray's arms closed about her,
jerking her head to try to draw away from the insistence
of his kisses.  Finally she freed one arm and slapped him hard.

Your wife!" cried Nell, springing away from Johnny in
mock terror as Anne arrived.  "Discovered!" he agreed,
and hid his face in his hands.

The Beach
A Short Novel complete in September [1934] Cosmopolitan
by Charles G. Norris
Illustrated by McClelland Barclay
Vacation love is one thing...true love is is the story
of a girl who found the difference -- in time!


  1. I know what you mean about these stories in 30s magazines....but aren't the illustrations FANTASTIC?!?

  2. "Discovered!" he agreed, and hid his face in his hands.

    Oh. My. Shameful!

  3. Love love love these! As well the texts as the illustrations. I have a couple of French magazine/romance like these, but they smell awful!

  4. Those are wonderful, Susan. What you wrote is the best (even if you are burnt out...the pictures are also outstanding!)

    I think I told you were are in Prague right now. I must come and nab one of these photos (and give you some credit!) They are fabulous!


  5. Haha! These are great! Thanks for making me smile.

  6. Baroness, Addison, Lili, Suz, Nancy, Kim - Thanks for stopping by. Glad these made you smile!

    I've decided I have a new favorite illustration. I realized that, for some reason, Ann with her pets Mittens and Micky reminds me of Dorothy with Toto in Wizard of Oz (my fave movie), missing Kansas and Auntie Em and wanting to go home...

  7. I love the Mittens and Micky one! Ha-ha!

    Every once in a while I get a hankering for one of Grace Livingston Hill's old novels. Totally sappy and full of 30s slang! ♥

  8. Holly - how nice to get your visit! I was smitten with your oh-so-feminine blog...


I love all of your comments - it's what makes blogging fun! C'mon, let's get a conversation going...

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