Ads from the Saturday Review of Literature

I had the chance to pick up an assorted lot of bound issues of the Saturday Review of Literature from the 1920s to the 1950s and have been going through them in search of well-regarded but since forgotten books.

However, just as interesting as the reviews have been the ads–particularly the personal ads, which became a regular feature of the magazine somewhere in the early 1930s. These are touchingly open and naive, amusingly pompous, cryptic, or–often–downright bizarre. Here are a few examples:

  • Correspondence invited concerning social patterns, individual reactions, one more script, the country, pox, or your favorites. By mature man. Box 520-D.
  • AMIABLE MALE wishes employment based not solely upon his 23 years. Some education (art), much erudition; deep love of music. Long fingers, but firm palms. Though no derring-doer, worn or untrod paths considered. Box P-973.
  • HEY GALS! Let’s swap hats! If your friends are tired of seeing you in that hat send it to us with $3.00 and we will send you a new-to-you sterilized hat. What can you lose? No junk, please. Hat-to-you, 816 Broad St., Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • TO JUNKETS—alone and palely loitering. Yes.—you were saying… .? SANS MERCI.

So, to share some of these wonderful snippets of past lives, I put together a Tumblr site that will offer up other samples once or twice a day:

There’s enough of a supply to keep this going for a year or so. Check it out.

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