Friday, February 22, 2013

LONDON LIFE Magazine 1930s

Prior to ever owning or even having seen a single copy of London Life the appeal of the magazine loomed large. Soon after entering the trade I met a few "serious" dealers and collectors who were sometimes overenthusiastic for books or magazines that they had very little, if any experience with. People spoke of London Life in legendary terms of its importance and influence.  My first question was "have you ever held it in your hands?" ...responding "Never seen it" is not the correct answer when evaluating the importance of anything! After some years of searching, one thing was certain, London Life was one of the "rare birds" in my area of specialty. 

Most of the stories about this large format magazine, especially the issues from the 1930s, did not directly involve its contents, but the influence it had on John Willie. I was finally able to judge for myself, when about twenty years ago, I bought about 100 issues at a paper show. All from the 1930s, in great condition and with wonderful covers. However after studying them over and over, the most I could find were a few photographs in one issue (see my John Willie post) and letters from readers and columns devoted to lingerie, corsets and boots. 

What London Life did turn out to be was a very good pop culture magazine with a special interest in American movies and movie stars as well as all other forms of popular entertainments plus occasional nudes and risque photographs. 

I sat on that stack of London Life for quite a few years until a collector insisted that they be part of the payment for the purchase of a significant part of his photographs collection. I was happy to oblige and the deal was done. Sadly, I made only these few scans prior to them going to their new home. 

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