|Map by Richard Edes Harrison for Fortune (March 1938)|
Last month I went to Steven Heller's moving sale in NYC with Scott Klein, Eric Sagara, and Kaiser Fung. I was not planning to buy anything but, unfortunately (for my wallet), Heller was selling several issues of Fortune magazine from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I walked out with 12 under my arm. That wasn't a trivial feat, as each old Fortune is as big as a tabloid newspaper and as thick and heavy as a hardcover book. Good workout!
It's impossible to talk about the history of news graphics and visualization without mentioning Fortune. A simple Google search ("fortune infographics”) will reveal several posts and articles that collect beautiful examples: 1, 2, 3, 4. However, let me assure you that it's not the same to see those graphics on a computer screen than to hold them on your hands, printed on high-quality paper. They are glorious.
It's taking me hours to go over each of the issues I got, so for now I'll just show you a few pictures from the March 1938 one.
The cover, which illustrates the main story in the magazine, about the U.S Navy:
The magazine is full of amazing artwork. This is a lithograph by Rockwell Kent:
If you're an executive, you can buy a framed reproduction —if you aren't, don't even think about it!:
The map at the beginning of this post, by Richard Edes Harrison. Articles about his work: 1, 2, 3.
A couple of detail photos:
An interesting table:
First page of a story about the New Deal:
And the charts in that story (100 is the base):
A story that was probably very relevant to Fortune's average reader. We're running out of servants!
The story is illustrated with captivating pictograms
And here are the reasons. These workers are too damn lazy and entitled!
Finally, a story illustrated just with paintings and illustrations.