Argosy (magazine)

Argosy, later titled The Argosy and Argosy All-Story Weekly, was an American pulp magazine from 1882[1] through 1978,[2] published by Frank Munsey. It is the first American pulp magazine.[3] The magazine began as a children's weekly story–paper entitled The Golden Argosy. In the era before the Second World War, Argosy was regarded as one of the "Big Four" pulp magazines, (along with Blue Book, Adventure and Short Stories)- the most prestigious publications in the pulp market, that many pulp magazine writers aspired to publish in. [4] [5] John Clute, discussing the American pulp magazines in the first two decades of the twentieth century, has described The Argosy and its companion All-Story as "the most important pulps of their era." [6]

CategoriesPulp magazine
FounderFrank Munsey
Year founded1882
Final issueNovember 1978
CompanyFrank A. Munsey Company (1882–1942)
Popular Publications (1942–1978)
CountryUnited States
Based inNew York City

Launch of The Golden Argosy

Argosy 1906 04
The Argosy, April 1906

In late September 1882, Frank Munsey had moved to New York City to start Argosy, having arranged a partnership with a friend already in New York and working in the publishing industry, and with a stockbroker from Augusta, Maine, Munsey's previous home. Munsey put most of his money, around $500, into purchasing stories for the magazine.

Once he was in New York, the stockbroker backed out, and Munsey decided to release his New York friend from involvement, since they were now hopelessly underfunded. Munsey then pitched the magazine to a New York publisher, and managed to convince him to publish the magazine and hire Munsey as editor.[7]

The first issue was published on December 2, 1882 (dated December 9, 1882,[8] a common practice at the time), and came out weekly. The first issue was eight pages, cost five cents,[9] and included the first installments of serialized stories by Horatio Alger, Jr.,[10] and Edward S. Ellis.[9]

Other authors associated with Argosy 's early days include Annie Ashmoore, W. H. W. Campbell, Harry Castlemon, Frank H. Converse, George H. Coomer, Mary A. Denison, Malcolm Douglas, Colonel A. B. Ellis, J. L. Harbour, D. O. S. Lowell, Oliver Optic, Richard Handfield Titherington, Edgar L. Warren and Matthew White, Jr. White would become the Argosy 's editor from 1886 to 1928.[11]

Five months after the first issue, the publisher went bankrupt and entered receivership.[12] By placing a claim for his unpaid salary, Munsey managed to assume control of the magazine. It was a very unlikely financial proposition; subscriptions had been sold that had to be fulfilled, but Munsey had almost no money and credit from printers and other suppliers was impossible to come by. Munsey borrowed $300 from a friend in Maine, and managed to scrape along as he learned the fundamentals of the publishing industry.

Munsey found that targeting children had been a mistake, as they did not stay subscribed for any length of time, since they grew out of reading the magazine. Additionally, children did not have much money to spend, which limited the number of advertisers interested in reaching them.

Shift towards pulp fiction

In December 1888 the title was changed to The Argosy. Publication switched from weekly to monthly in April 1894, at which time the magazine began its shift towards pulp fiction. It eventually published its first all-fiction issue in 1896.[9] The all-fiction Argosy launched a new genre of magazines, and is considered the pioneer among pulp magazines.[13]

The magazine switched back to a weekly publication schedule in October 1917. In January 1919, The Argosy merged with Railroad Man's Magazine,[12] and was briefly known as Argosy and Railroad Man's Magazine.

Prior to World War One, The Argosy had several notable writers, including Upton Sinclair, Zane Grey, Albert Payson Terhune, Gertrude Barrows Bennett (under the pseudonym Francis Stevens), and former dime novelist William Wallace Cook.[4]

The All-Story

The All-Story (June 1912), containing part five of six of Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Under the Moons of Mars"

The All-Story Magazine magazine was another Munsey pulp. Debuting in January 1905 (the word "Magazine" was dropped from the title in 1908), this pulp was published monthly until March 1914. Effective March 7, 1914, it changed to a weekly schedule and the title All-Story Weekly. In May 1914, All-Story Weekly was merged with another story pulp, The Cavalier, and used the title All-Story Cavalier Weekly for one year. Editors of All-Story included Newell Metcalf and Robert H. Davis.[14]

The All-Story is the magazine that first published Edgar Rice Burroughs, beginning with "Under the Moons of Mars", a serialized novel eventually published in book form as A Princess of Mars, and later The Gods of Mars.[14] Other All-Story writers included Rex Stout, later a famed mystery writer, and mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart,[4] Western writers Max Brand and Raymond S. Spears, and horror and fantasy writers Tod Robbins, Abraham Merritt, Perley Poore Sheehan and Charles B. Stilson.[4] All-Story also published poetry. One notable writer who published poems in the All-Story was Djuna Barnes. [15]

In 2006, a copy of the October 1912 issue of All-Story Magazine, featuring the first appearance of the character Tarzan in any medium, sold for $59,750 in an auction held by Heritage Auctions of Dallas.[16]

Argosy All-Story Weekly

Metal monster sharp
Argosy All-Story Weekly cover for the story "The Metal Monster" by A. Merritt (August 7, 1920)

In 1920, All-Story Weekly was merged into The Argosy, resulting in a new title, Argosy All-Story Weekly, which published works in a number of literary genres, including science fiction and Westerns. Edgar Rice Burroughs published some of his Tarzan and John Carter of Mars stories in the magazine; other science fiction writers included Ralph Milne Farley, Ray Cummings, Otis Adelbert Kline and A. Merritt.[11]

In 1922 Argosy missed a chance to launch the career of E. E. Smith. Bob Davis, then editor of Argosy, rejected the manuscript of The Skylark of Space, writing to Smith that he liked the novel personally, but that it was "too far out" for his readers.[17] This "encouraging rejection letter" did encourage Smith to try further, finally getting his novel published in Amazing Stories.

Argosy published a number of adventure stories by Johnston McCulley (including the Zorro stories), C. S. Forester (adventures at sea), Theodore Roscoe (French Foreign Legion stories), L. Patrick Greene, (who specialized in narratives about Africa),[4] and George F. Worts' tales about Peter the Brazen, an American radio operator who has adventures in China.[18][5] H. Bedford-Jones wrote a series of historical swashbuckler stories for Argosy about an Irish soldier, Denis Burke.[19] Borden Chase appeared in Argosy with crime fiction.[20] Two humorous mystery-adventure serials by Lester Dent appeared in Argosy's pages.[21] More serious mystery stories were represented by Cornell Woolrich, Norbert Davis, and Fred MacIsaac.[4]

Max Brand, Clarence E. Mulford, Walt Coburn, Charles Alden Seltzer[22] and Tom Curry[23] wrote Western fiction for the magazine. Other authors who appeared in the original run included Ellis Parker Butler, Hugh Pendexter, Robert E. Howard, Gordon MacCreagh[24] and Harry Stephen Keeler. Brand's character Dr. Kildare first appeared in 1938.[25]

Argosy's covers were drawn by several noted magazine illustrators, including Edgar Franklin Wittmack, Modest Stein and Robert A. Graef.[4]

In November 1941 the magazine switched to biweekly publication, then monthly publication in July 1942. The most significant change occurred in September 1943 when the magazine not only changed from pulp to slick paper but began to shift away from its all-fiction content. Over the next few years the fiction content grew smaller (though still with the occasional short-story writer of stature, such as P. G. Wodehouse), and the "men's magazine" material expanded. By the late 1940s, it had become associated with the men's adventure pulp genre of "true" stories of conflict with wild animals or wartime combat.[5]

For most of its publishing lifespan, Argosy was "never terribly successful",[26] but in the late 1940s and 1950s it experienced a significant boost in sales when it began running a new true crime column, The Court of Last Resort.[26] Lawyer-turned-author Erle Stanley Gardner (later the creator of Perry Mason) enlisted assistance from police, private detectives, and other professional experts to examine the cases of dozens of convicts who maintained their innocence long after their appeals were exhausted. The popular column appeared in Argosy from September 1948 until October 1958, and was adapted for television as a 26-episode series by NBC.[26]

By the 1970s, it was racy enough to be considered a softcore men's magazine. The final issue of the original magazine was published in November 1978.


The magazine was revived briefly from 1990 to 1994 by Richard Kyle. Kyle had intended to revive the publication in the mid 1980s, but his financing collapsed. He had, however commissioned Jack Kirby to create a strip based on his early life in New York. Although Kyle was unable to secure fresh financing, he pushed ahead with publication in 1990. Issue 2 of the revived magazine saw the publication of Kirby's "Street Code", shot as intended from the finished pencils.[27] Kyle's revival lasted only five issues, published sporadically. A quarterly published slick revival began in 2004. It briefly went on hiatus before resuming publication in 2005 as Argosy Quarterly, edited by James A. Owen. The focus of that version was on new, original fiction. It was only published into 2006. Starting December 2013, the Argosy name has been revived again as a digital and print-on-demand publication, with the emphasis on pulp fiction by modern writers.[28] In 2016, Altus Press revived Argosy.[29]

See also

  • Works originally published in Argosy


  1. ^ Kathryn Schulz (January 25, 2016). "Dead Certainty". The New Yorker. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  2. ^ Daniel Niemeyer (2013). 1950s American Style: A Reference Guide. p. 248. ISBN 978-1-304-20165-2. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Ed Hulse. "The Big Four (Plus One)" in The Blood 'n' Thunder Guide to Collecting Pulps. Morris Plains, NJ: Murania Press. pp. 19–29. ISBN 0-9795955-0-9.
  5. ^ a b c Lee Server, Danger Is My Business: an illustrated history of the Fabulous Pulp Magazines. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. (1993) (pp. 22-6, 50) ISBN 978-0-8118-0112-6
  6. ^ John Clute, Science Fiction :The Illustrated Encyclopedia. London, Dorling Kindersley. 1995. ISBN 0-7513-0202-3 (p.43)
  7. ^ "The Story of the Argosy (Reprinted from the October 2, 1932 issue)". Archived from the original on January 5, 2005. Retrieved August 10, 2006.
  8. ^ Ashley, Michael (2000). The History of the Science Fiction Magazine, Volume 1, p. 21. Liverpool University Press.
  9. ^ a b c Sampson, Robert (1991). Yesterday's Faces, Volume 5: Dangerous Horizons, pp. 10-11. Bowling Green State University Popular Press.
  10. ^ Schneirov, Matthew (1994). The Dream of a New Social Order: Popular Magazines in America, 1893–1914, p. 117. Columbia University Press. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  11. ^ a b Eggeling, John. "Argosy, The" in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute and Peter Nicholls. London, Orbit,1994. ISBN 1-85723-124-4 (p. 50).
  12. ^ a b Locke, John. "Lost at Sea: The Story of 'The Ocean'". In Locke, John, ed. (2008). The Ocean: 100th Anniversary Collection, pp. 5-7. Off-Trail Publications.
  13. ^ Sumner, David E. (2010). The Magazine Century: American Magazines Since 1900, p. 23. Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.
  14. ^ a b Porges, Irwin (1975). Edgar Rice Burroughs. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press. pp. 143, 213–14. ISBN 0-8425-0079-0.
  15. ^ "Djuna Barnes published poetry in All-Story, The Cavalier, and Pearson's next to pulp authors like Max Brand and Edgar Rice Burroughs...". David M. Earle, Re-Covering Modernism : Pulps, Paperbacks, and the Prejudice of Form. London ; New York : Routledge, 2016. ISBN 9781315604077 (p.65)
  16. ^ "Rare Pulp Brings Record Price at Heritage! Price of $59,750 Triples Previous Auction Record for any Pulp Magazine". Heritage Auctions. September 2006. The old record was set at Sotheby's in 1998," said Ed Jaster, Vice-President for Heritage, "when a different copy of this same pulp sold for the then-impressive price of $17,000. The $59,750 that this beautiful copy achieved sets a new high watermark for the world of pulp collectors.
  17. ^ Sanders p. 9, Moskowitz p. 15.
  18. ^ Nick Carr, Ron Hanna and Ver Curtiss (2008). The Pulp Hero: Deluxe Edition. Wild Cat Books. pp. 160, 234–5.
  19. ^ "The Pulp Swordsmen:Denis Burke" at REHupa Website, Archived from the original on 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  20. ^ Lee Server (2002). Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers. New York: Infobase Publishing. pp. 58–59. ISBN 0-8160-4577-1.
  21. ^ Lee Server (2002). Encyclopedia of Pulp Fiction Writers. New York: Infobase Publishing. pp. 80–84. ISBN 0-8160-4577-1.
  22. ^ "The Men who Make The Argosy: Charles Alden Seltzer". Archived from the original on 2005-01-10. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  23. ^ "The Men Who Make The Argosy : Tom Curry". Archived from the original on 2005-01-01. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  24. ^ "The Men Who Make The Argosy : Gordon MacCreagh". Archived from the original on 2005-01-10. Retrieved 2010-09-13.
  25. ^ Nolan, William F., Max Brand, western giant: the life and times of Frederick Schiller Faust, Popular Press, 1985 ISBN 978-0-87972-291-3 (p. 137)
  26. ^ a b c Schulz, Kathryn (January 25, 2016). "Dead Certainty". The New Yorker. Condé Nast: 60. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  27. ^ Morrow, John, ed. (19 February 2004). Collected Jack Kirby Collector. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 129. ISBN 1893905004.
  28. ^ "Argosy Magazine Website". Welcome. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  29. ^ moring (2016-10-05). "Argosy, Black Mask, and Famous Fantastic Mysteries Return". Altus Press. Retrieved 2018-05-28.

External links

1945 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans

The consensus 1945 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Helms Athletic Foundation, Converse, The Sporting News, and Argosy Magazine.

Gentlemen, Be Seated!

"Gentlemen, Be Seated" is a science fiction short story by American writer Robert A. Heinlein. It was first published in the May 1948 issue of Argosy magazine. It was later included in two of Heinlein's collections, The Green Hills of Earth (1951), and The Past Through Tomorrow (1967).

Lost on Venus

Lost On Venus is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the second book in the Venus series (sometimes called the "Carson Napier of Venus series"). It was first serialized in the magazine Argosy in 1933 and published in book form two years later.

Pellucidar (novel)

Pellucidar is a 1915 fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the second in his series about the fictional "Hollow Earth" land of Pellucidar. It first appeared as a five-part serial in All-Story Weekly from May 1 to 29, 1915. It was first published in book form in hardcover by A. C. McClurg in September, 1923. A map by Burroughs of the Empire of Pellucidar accompanied both the magazine and book versions.

Street Code

Street Code is both the short, ten page autobiographical comic story and the 2009 mini-comic by American writer-artist Jack Kirby. Both Bill Sienkiewicz and Jeff Zapata consider it among Kirby's greatest works, and it supplanted all other works in the minds of Jack and wife Roz. Roz appreciated it so much she framed the two page spread from the story and gave it pride of place on her wall. It was commissioned by Richard Kyle in 1983 but did not see print until 1990 in Argosy vol.3 #2, with lettering by Bill Spicer. The story was shot from Kirby's pencils. Kyle intended to print it with a colored tone behind it, which Kirby requested not be too colorful, but rather drab to suit the times. Kyle said "I was troubled by the production errors in "Street Code", ... I should have served Jack better. But, although a hundred comic editors could have asked for this story (or one like it) at any time in Jack's career, they never did. "Street Code" lives because of Argosy, and will be remembered because of Jack Kirby - and because it says what the graphic story could have been and may still become."

The strip has been printed on four occasions:

Argosy vol.3 #2 (Richard Kyle Publications) (1990) with lettering by Bill Spicer

Streetwise (TwoMorrows Publishing) (2000) with lettering by Ken Bruzenak

Kirby: King of Comics (Abrams Books) (2008) with lettering by Bill Spicer

Street Code (Kirby Museum) (2009) with lettering by Jack Kirby

Synthetic Men of Mars

Synthetic Men of Mars is a science fantasy novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the ninth of his Barsoom series. It was first published in the magazine Argosy Weekly in six parts in early 1939. The first complete edition of the novel was published in 1940 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.

Despite a successful career stretching back more than two decades, Burroughs had trouble finding a publisher for the serialized version of the novel. Both Liberty and Blue Book turned him down; Argosy was his third choice. He received US$1200 for the magazine rights.

Tarzan and the Ant Men

Tarzan and the Ant Men is a novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the tenth book in his series about the jungle hero Tarzan. It was first published as a seven-part serial in the magazine Argosy All-Story Weekly for February 2, 9, 16 and 23 and March 1, 8 and 15, 1924. It was first published in book form in hardcover by A. C. McClurg in September 1924. The story was also adapted for Gold Key Comics in Tarzan #174-175 (1968).

In the book Master of Adventure: The Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Richard A. Lupoff places Tarzan and the Ant Men in his list of essential Burroughs novels and states that it represents Burroughs at the peak of his creative powers.

Tarzan and the City of Gold

Tarzan and the City of Gold is a novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the sixteenth in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. The novel was originally serialized in the magazine Argosy from March through April 1932.

Tarzan the Magnificent (novel)

Tarzan the Magnificent is a book by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the twenty-first in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was originally published as two separate stories serialized in different pulp magazines; "Tarzan and the Magic Men" in Argosy from September to October, 1936, and "Tarzan and the Elephant Men" in Blue Book from November 1937 to January 1938. The two stories were combined under the title Tarzan the Magnificent in the first book edition, published in 1939 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. In order of writing, the book follows Tarzan's Quest and precedes Tarzan and the Forbidden City. In order of book publication it falls between the latter and Tarzan and the Foreign Legion. The novel's plot bears no relation to that of the 1960 film of the same title.

Tarzan the Terrible

Tarzan the Terrible is a novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the eighth in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was first published as a serial in the pulp magazine Argosy All-Story Weekly in the issues for February 12, 19, and 26 and March 5, 12, 19, and 26, 1921; the first book edition was published in June 1921 by A. C. McClurg. Its setting, Pal-ul-don, is one of the more thoroughly realized "lost civilizations" in Burroughs' Tarzan stories. The novel contains a map of the place as well as a glossary of its inhabitants' language.

The Bandit of Hell's Bend

The Bandit of Hell's Bend is a Western fiction novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Bandit of Hell's Bend was published by "Argosy All-Story Weekly" in September and October 1924. The book version was first published by A. C. McClurg on 1925-06-04.This is one of four Westerns that Burroughs wrote. He had two working titles for it: "The Black Coyote" and "Diana of the Bar Y."

The Beasts of Tarzan

The Beasts of Tarzan is a novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the third in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. Originally serialized in All-Story Cavalier magazine in 1914, the novel was first published in book form by A. C. McClurg in 1916.

The Deep Range

The Deep Range is a 1957 science fiction novel by British writer Arthur C. Clarke, concerning a future sub-mariner who works in the field of aquaculture, farming the seas. The story includes the capture of a sea monster similar to a kraken.

It is based on a short story of the same name that was published in April 1954, in Argosy magazine. The short story was later featured in Tales from Planet Earth and Frederik Pohl's Star Science Fiction No.3.

The Efficiency Expert (novel)

The Efficiency Expert is a 1921 short novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of a small number of Burroughs' novels set in contemporary America as opposed to a fantasy universe, The Efficiency Expert follows the adventures of Jimmy Torrance as he attempts to make a career for himself in 1921 Chicago. The book is remarkable for the criminal livelihoods of the hero's friends. It was also admitted to be a fictionalization of Burroughs' own difficulties in finding a job prior to becoming a best-selling writer. Though written in 1919, it was first published in the October 1921 edition of the All-Story Weekly magazine. The first book publication was by House of Greystoke in 1966.

The Eternal Lover

The Eternal Lover is a fantasy-adventure novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs. The story was begun in November 1913 under the working title Nu of the Niocene. It was first run serially in two parts by All-Story Weekly. The first part, released March 7, 1914 was titled "The Eternal Lover" and the second part, released in four installments from January 23, 1915 to February 13, 1915 was titled "Sweetheart Primeval". The book version was first published by A. C. McClurg on October 3, 1925. In 1963, Ace Paperback published a version under the title The Eternal Savage. An E-Text edition has been published by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. and is available online.

The Mad King

The Mad King is a Ruritanian romance by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, originally published in two parts as "The Mad King" and "Barney Custer of Beatrice" in All-Story Weekly, in 1914 and 1915, respectively. These were combined for the book edition, first published in hardcover by A. C. McClurg in 1926.

The Oakdale Affair and The Rider

The Oakdale Affair and The Rider is a collection of two short novels by American writers Edgar Rice Burroughs. "The Oakdale Affair", a contemporary tale, was written in 1917 under the working title of "Bridge and the Oskaloosa Kid", and is a partial sequel to The Mucker (1914/1916), as Bridge, the protagonist, had been a secondary character in the earlier work. It was first published in Blue Book Magazine in March 1918. "The Rider", a Ruritanian romance, was written in 1915 and first published as "H.R.H. the Rider" as a serial in All-Story Weekly from December 14–18, 1918. The first book publication of the two stories brought them together in one volume as The Oakdale Affair and The Rider, issued by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc. in February 1937; the book was reprinted by Grosset & Dunlap in 1937, 1938 and 1940. Both works have since been published separately.

The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw

"The Resurrection of Jimber-Jaw" is a 1937 short story by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, about an unfrozen 50,000-year-old caveman.

The story was originally printed in Argosy magazine, and later reprinted as one of three stories in the collection, Tales of Three Planets (Canaveral, 1964, 1974). The Argosy text, used for all versions published under this title, contained significant alterations by the magazine editor of Burroughs' original text. Burroughs' original version, "Elmer", was published in Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder (Guidry & Adkins, 2001).

The Son of Tarzan

The Son of Tarzan is a novel by American writer Edgar Rice Burroughs, the fourth in his series of books about the title character Tarzan. It was written between January 21 and May 11, 1915, and first published in the magazine All-Story Weekly as a six-part serial from December 4, 1915 to January 8, 1916. It was first published in book form by A. C. McClurg & Co. in March 1917 and has been reprinted numerous times since by various publishers.


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