Adventure (magazine)

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Adventure v01 n01.jpg
Cover of the first issue, November 1910
Former editors Trumbull White (1910–1912)
Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (1912–1927)
Joseph Cox (1927)
Anthony Rud (1927–1930)
Albert A. Proctor (1930–1934)
William Corcoran (1934)
Howard V. L. Bloomfield (1934–1940)
Kenneth S. White (1941–1948)
Kendall Goodwyn (1949–1951)
Ejler Jakobsson (1951–1953)
Alden Norton (1954–1964)
Peter Gannett (1965–1970)
Carson Bingham (1970–1971)[1]
Categories Pulp magazine
Circulation 300,000[2]
First issue November 1910
Final issue
— Number
881 issues

Adventure was an American pulp magazine that was first published in November 1910[3] by the Ridgway company, an offshoot of the Butterick Publishing Company. Adventure went on to become one of the most profitable and critically acclaimed of all the American pulp magazines.[4] The magazine had 881 issues. The magazine's first editor was Trumbull White, he was succeeded in 1912 by Arthur Sullivant Hoffman (1876–1966), who would edit the magazine until 1927.[5][6]

The Hoffman Era

In its first decade, Adventure carried fiction from such notable writers as Rider Haggard, Rafael Sabatini, Baroness Orczy, Damon Runyon and William Hope Hodgson.[7] Subsequently the magazine cultivated its own group of authors (who Hoffman dubbed his "Writers' Brigade") including Talbot Mundy, T.S. Stribling, Arthur O. Friel, brothers Patrick & Terence Casey, J. Allan Dunn, Harold Lamb, Hapsburg Liebe, Gordon Young,[8] Arthur D. Howden Smith, H. Bedford-Jones, W.C. Tuttle, Gordon MacCreagh,[9] Henry S. Whitehead, Hugh Pendexter, Robert J. Pearsall, and L. Patrick Greene.

In 1912, Hoffman and his assistant,the novelist Sinclair Lewis created a popular identity card with a serial number for readers. If the bearer were killed, someone finding the card would notify the magazine who would in turn notify the next of kin of the hapless adventurer. The popularity of the card amongst travelers led to the formation of the Adventurers Club of New York.[3] The original New York Adventurers Club led to similar clubs in Chicago (1913), Los Angeles (1921), Copenhagen (1937) and Honolulu (1955).[10]

Hoffman also was secretary of an organization named the "Legion" that had Theodore Roosevelt Jr. as one of its vice presidents. Membership cards of the organization included member's skills and specialties that were forwarded to the War Department when the United States entered World War I, the information being eventually used to create two regiments of aviation mechanics.[3] Hoffman's group would later provide a model for the organisation of the American Legion after the war.[11]

Adventure's letters page, The Camp-Fire featured Hoffman's editorials,background by the authors to their stories and discussions by the readers. At Hoffman's suggestion, a number of Camp-Fire Stations - locations where other readers of Adventure could meet up - were established. Robert Kenneth Jones notes that Adventure readers "..often wrote in to report on meeting new friends through these stations." By 1924, there were Camp-Fire Stations established across the US and in several other countries, including Britain, Australia, Egypt and Cuba. Adventure also offered Camp-Fire buttons which readers wore. [12] Adventure featured several other notable columns, including:

Hoffman encouraged the details of his writers' fiction to be as factually accurate as possible-mistakes would frequently be pointed out and criticised by the magazine's readers.[14]

In 1915 the publishers attempted to reach women readers with a new title (Stories of Life, Love, and Adventure), but it went back to its male readership and original title in 1917.[15]

In addition, Adventure under Hoffman also showcased the work of several famous artists, including Rockwell Kent, John R. Neill (who illustrated several Harold Lamb stories), Charles Livingston Bull, H.C. Murphy and Edgar Franklin Wittmack.[16] By 1924, Adventure was regarded, in the words of Richard Bleiler, as " without question the most important "pulp" magazine in the world."[5]

Later years

After Hoffman's departure, his successors usually followed the template for the magazine that he had set down. In 1934, Adventure was bought by Popular Publications.[5] Throughout the 1930s, Adventure included fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner, Donald Barr Chidsey,[16] Raymond S. Spears, Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, Luke Short, and Major George Fielding Eliot. Adventure continued to publish factual pieces by noted figures, including future film producer Val Lewton[17] and Venezuelan military writer Rafael de Nogales. [18] During Adventure's 25th anniversary in 1935, TIME Magazine praised Adventure as being "the No. 1 "pulp"".[4] and Newsweek lauded Adventure as "Dean of the pulps".[19]

During the 1940s, the magazine carried numerous fiction and articles concerned with the ongoing Second World War; writers who contributed to Adventure in this period included E. Hoffmann Price, DeWitt Newbury,[20] Jim Kjelgaard and Fredric Brown. Artists on the publication during the 1930s and 1940s included Walter M. Baumhofer, Hubert Rogers, Rafael De Soto, Lawrence Sterne Stevens and Norman Saunders.[16] The magazine's main editor in the 1940s was Kenneth S. White, the son of the magazine's first editor Trumbull White.[5] In April 1953, the pulp changed its format to that of a men's adventure magazine that lasted until the magazine folded in 1971.[21] This final incarnation of Adventure tends not to be highly regarded among magazine historians, with Robert Weinberg referring to it as "a rather mundane slick magazine"[22] and Richard Bleiler stating that by 1960 Adventure had become ''...a dying embarrassment, printing grainy black and white photos of semi-nude women".[5] Nevertheless, this version of Adventure did sometimes publish fiction by noted authors, including a story by Norman Mailer, "The Paper House" in the December 1958 issue.


General anthologies from Adventure:

Single author/team collections from Adventure:

Doubleday, Doran & company, inc. (1929). Reprinted in 1977 by Dover Publications.


  1. Sampson,Robert. Yesterday's Faces:Dangerous Horizons. Popular Press, 1991, (p.182).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Robinson, Frank M. & Davidson, Lawrence Pulp Culture - The Art of Fiction Magazines Collectors Press Inc 2007 (p.33-48).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 No. 1 Pulp - Time
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Bleiler, Richard. "A History of Adventure Magazine", in The Index to Adventure Magazine,Borgo Press, 1990 (p. 1-38).
  6. "Hoffman, Arthur Sullivant" in Who Was Who In America: VI. Maquis, 1968 (p. 195).
  7. Ellis, Peter Beresford. The Last Adventurer: the Life of Talbot Mundy, 1879-1940. Donald M. Grant, 1984 (p.75).
  8. Sampson, Robert. Yesterday's Faces:Dangerous Horizons Popular Press, 1991, (p. 18).
  9. Server,Lee. Danger is My Business: an illustrated history of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines. Chronicle Books, 1993.
  10. Fielding's DangerFinder - Adventure Clubs
  11. Moley, Raymond. The American Legion Story, Greenwood Press, 1975. ISBN 978-0-8371-7194-4 (p.58).
  12. 12.0 12.1 Jones, Robert Kenneth. The Lure of Adventure. Starmont House,1989 (p.9-11)
  13. Brunvand, Jan Harold. American Folklore: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis, 1998 (p.337).
  14. Sampson, 1991 (p. 27-8)
  15. Adventure Magazine Profile
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Ashley,Mike "Adventure", in Cult Magazines: A to Z edited by Earl Kemp and Luis Ortiz. NonStop Press, 2009 (pp. 9-12).
  17. Ashley lists Lewton's Adventure articles as "Kavkar, Grandaddy of Polo", (February 1st, 1930), and "Gauntlet Swords" (June 1st, 1931).
  18. FictionMags Index:"Adventure"
  19. "Adventure: Dean of the pulps celebrates its Silver Jubilee". Newsweek, October 26, 1935.
  20. REHupa Blog
  21. Adventure Magazine Profile
  22. Weinberg, Robert. "Introduction" to Swords from the West by Harold Lamb.Bison Books, 2009. (p. xiii).

External links