English, Department of

 

Date of this Version

2011

Citation

Every Week Essays (2011) [no. 2]. Available at: http://everyweek.unl.edu/view?docId=TheContentsofEveryWeek.html. Produced by the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Comments

Copyright 2011, the author. Used by permission.

Abstract

Every Week Magazine, published from 1915-1918, was a significant magazine phenomenon of its day, with a weekly circulation of 600,000 copies. The contents provide a rich cultural resource for those interested in the World War I home front, popular fiction, advertising, and constructions of race and gender during this period. Until the development of this digital edition, the magazine could be accessed by scholars and readers only with great difficulty due to its embrittled condition and rarity. Magazines provided courtesy of the University of Wisconsin.

Regular contributors of advice and commentary included Albert W. Atwood and Burton J. Hendrick. Atwood, who had written for the muckraking McClure’s Magazine (where Managing Editor Edith Lewis had worked), wrote a regular financial advice column. Hendrick, who left a position as a contributing editor at McClure’s in 1913 to become associate editor of The World’s Work, regularly contributed articles analyzing politics, world affairs, economics, and business. Of the editorial staff, Bruce Barton, the Editor in Chief, was the most visible contributor of signed commentary. His editorials were unsigned in 1915, but when he began signing them in 1916, their provocative titles and prominent placement made Barton the public face of the magazine. Fifty of these editorials, which combined Christian moralizing with patriotism, capitalist boosterism, and self-improvement advice, were published in book form in 1917 under the title More Power to You. As Barton proclaimed in his editorial commemorating the magazine’s first anniversary, it sought readers who “as Lincoln did, win their education through their reading. We stand with him—and them—for thrift, for a better national health, for more outdoor living, for better homes, clean amusement, for progress through self-help, for devotion to an ideal” (8 May 1916). He explicitly disavowed any connection to organized movements for reform, however, proclaiming in his editorial marking the magazine’s second anniversary that it sought to “help each reader to institute his own individual millennium in his own life, by making the most of himself” (30 April 1917).

At least one, and sometimes two, lavishly illustrated serial novels ran in each issue, as well as one or more short stories. Every Weekfiction leaned heavily towards popular genres, such as Westerns, mysteries, and romances. Most of the contributors were stalwarts of magazine fiction, now forgotten, such as Sewell Ford, Gertrude Brooke Hamilton, Grace Sartwell Mason, Holworthy Hall, Frederick Orin Bartlett, James Oliver Curwood, and Arthur Summers Roche. Ford had been a regular contributor to the Associated Sunday Magazines, and he continued as a regular contributor to Every Week, with his comic tales of the adventures of working-class New York hero “Torchy” appearing in nearly every issue for three years. Every Week also occasionally published fiction by writers whose names continue to appear in literary history, such as Susan Glaspell, Conrad Richter, Sinclair Lewis, Edna Ferber, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Zona Gale, and Christopher Morley. Perhaps the most significant literary work published in Every Week was Glaspell’s story “A Jury of Her Peers” (1917), adapted from her one act play Trifles (1916), about an Iowa farm wife suspected of murdering her husband and the two women who come to understand her motive for the crime while male legal authorities remain baffled.