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Read All About It: 1903

New York circa 1903. "A characteristic sidewalk newsstand." Who can help us date these period periodicals? Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.

New York circa 1903. "A characteristic sidewalk newsstand." Who can help us date these period periodicals? Detroit Publishing glass negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
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Harper's Weekly

The issue of HARPER'S WEEKLY shown is the January 10 1903 issue.

Re: Elevated

Anonymous Tipster, you are indeed fortunate to own the Martin Lewis print, "Snow on the 'El'" (1931). Here is what the book, "The Prints of Martin Lewis, A Catalogue Raisonne", by Paul McCarron, has to say about the location of the "El" in your print: "The location depicted in this print is Twenty-third Street and Sixth Avenue." (p. 174) The previous comment made by jsmakbkr is therefore correct in its identification of the location in the photo. It would appear that the "El" in your print and the "El" in the photo are one and the same. How neat.

Is this the place?

"Olde New York" at 00:21 in the clip.

Rye Whiskey Rye Whiskey, Rye Whiskey I Crave

At one time Baltimore or Maryland Rye Whiskey was the choice of many, especially before Prohibition.

     As a Marylander I did my civic duty and had my share of Pikesville Rye and I knew I became a man two days after my 21st birthday when I had the traditional shot of Pikesville Rye with my extended family on Christmas Day.

I still keep a pint around the house for my Christmas shot and use as a cold remedy.

Family lore has it that my grandfather kept all well during the 1918 Influenza Pandemic by administering ample shots to anyone with a sniffle then making them go to bed while being covered with many many many blankets. This caused the patient to sweat out the bug and thus break the fever.

I tried this a few times myself and used it when traditional medicine failed. You wake in the morning feeling weak but the bug is usually gone.

History of Maryland Rye.


Christmas 1902.

Magazine of Mystery

Just to the lower right of the Boer War art print is the "Magazine of Mysteries", which covered topics from pragmatic vegetarianism to divine emanations. A 1901 ad for the magazine reads:

Remember the Name
A Large Magazine, Beautifully Illustrated, Containing Special Articles by Adept Writers, Mystics, Astrologers and Yogis, explaining the
of Dreams and their Meanings, Glorified Visions, Occult Powers, Astrology, Hypnotism, Psychology, Telepathy, Psychometry, Magnetism, Soul Charming, Clairvoyance, Graphology, Palmistry, Hidden Powers, Spiritualism, etc.

THE ONLY MAGAZINE OF THE KIND PUBLISHED IN THE WHOLE WORLD. THE MOST PHENOMENAL SUCCESS OF THE 20TH CENTURY. ALL are delighted with it, because it tells ALL how to get Occult or Psychic power and force, which make for Health, Wealth and Happiness. $1.00 A YEAR, 3 MONTHS FOR 25 CENTS; SINGLE COPIES, 10 CENTS. For sale at news stands, bookstores, hotels, and on the railroad trains, or mailed direct by the publishers. Address
22 North William St., New York City.

On the purely physical plane, the editors recommended chewing your food 40 times before swallowing. And I always thought that was just an "I Love Lucy" gag.

Thank you, everyone

I have nothing to add except to note my good fortune and gratitude at finding this site.

The photos are, of course, brilliant. But the background research of the commenters is both amazing and entertaining. As soon as I saw the array of magazine covers, I knew that a deluge of crowd source detail was going to flood in. I'm rarely disappointed.

Thanks, everyone. I'm off to Google Street view to check out the neighborhood mentioned by jsmakbkr.

Delightful details

Thanks Shorpy, I love this photo.. from the randomness of the social interactions and expressions of folks on the street, to the wonderful display of all those old magazines and that cute little Tutti-Frutti dispenser. Great clarity and detail.

Santa Claus

What's the magazine with Santa Claus on the cover?

[It's the "Juvenile Number" of The Housekeeper. Right next to Toilette. - Dave]

Peel Me an Adjective

One has to wonder if prosy (meaning dull, ordinary, the root word for the now-common prosaic) was a common word 110 or so years ago, or if the copywriters were educated to the level that they didn't care if the general public really understood their advertising slogans.

Obviously there are fads and trends in language. Humbug, for instance, was a common 19th century word, which only survives in contemporary use as part of "A Christmas Carol".

Still, "changes a prosy dinner into a poem" has to be one of the worst advertising slogans ever, even by 1903 standards. Who the heck wants to EAT poetry? The Knox ad people were reading too much of it.

The location

appears to be 23rd Street just east of Sixth Avenue, facing south and looking toward the "new" (i.e. after 1896) location of drygoods company James McCreery & Co., at 64 West 23rd Street (less than a block west of the not-yet-completed Flatiron building). It looks like there is still a newsstand there, next to the subway entrance. The McCreery building, however, is gone.

Florodora Cigars

Do you think that is Evelyn Nesbit pictured on the cigar sign? The timing would be right as she was a sought-after model as well as a "Florodora Girl."


As soon as I saw this photo, I thought of a Martin Lewis print from the early 1930's that I have hanging on my living room wall. I wonder if it's the same station? In any case, both are great images.

Racy Cover

Was a bit surprised at the provocative pose on the cover of Vanity Fair. I figured a more conservative display given the times.

"Figaro Illustré"

Above the guy with the hands in his pockets to the right, "Figaro Illustré" is the December 1902 issue.

Tastes Good Because It Is Good

An adman in 1903 had a damn easy job.


I know that Aram identified the Harper's Magazine as being dated Oct. 4, 1902. But I found the same cover dated Jan. 3, 1903.

[Harper's used the Statue of Liberty cover a number of times. - Dave]


is the November 1902 issue.


The Argosy on the lower right (below "Success") is the January 1903 issue.


The Harper's with the Statue of Liberty is the October 4, 1902, issue.

Scientific American

The two Scientific Americans are the Dec. 13 and Dec. 20, 1902, issues.

The Art of War

The art print in the center is of British soldiers fighting in the Boer War.

Poetic gelatin

I don't have anything to share about the magazines, except to marvel at the variety available. I would like to know how Knox Gelatine can turn a "prosy" dinner into a poem. Because everything tastes better when it's gelatinous?


The January 1903 issue.

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