Saturday, November 15, 2014

Happy Birthday to the Second Incarnation of Weird Tales

Ninety years ago this month, in November 1924, Weird Tales began its second incarnation. The magazine was never on sound footing. That trend appears to be continuing to this day. But in 1924, it very nearly folded. Weird Tales began in March 1923 under the editorship of Edwin M. Baird. Subtitled "The Unique Magazine," it ran for an unlucky thirteen issues until the triple-sized May/June/July issue of 1924. By then Weird Tales was in trouble. That summer, the publisher, Jacob Clark Henneberger, sold his interest in his other publishing ventures to keep his brainchild, Weird Tales, going. Baird was out as editor. In casting about for someone to take his place, Henneberger offered the position to H.P. Lovecraft. We can all wonder how history would have been different if Lovecraft had accepted the position. Instead, Henneberger found Farnsworth Wright, a Chicago writer and music critic, to assume the role of editor. Weird Tales went back into print in November 1924 after a gap of four months. Also new in that issue, Andrew Brosnatch came on as artist, and readers could submit correspondence to "The Eyrie," a new letters column. Weird Tales carried on until September 1954. I wonder if Edwin M. Baird, who died that same month, saw the last issue of a magazine he helped bring into the world.

Weird Tales, November 1924, with cover art by Andrew Brosnatch.
Text copyright 2014 Terence E. Hanley

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