Queen of the Pulps

The Reign of Daisy Bacon and Love Story Magazine


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About the Book

Daisy Bacon, the opinionated, autocratic and complex editor of Love Story Magazine from 1928 to 1947, chose the stories that would be read by hundreds of thousands of readers each week. The first weekly periodical devoted to romance fiction and the biggest-selling pulp fiction magazine in the early days of the Great Depression, Love Story sparked a wave of imitators that dominated newsstands for more than twenty years. Disparaged as a “love pulp,” the magazine actually championed the “modern girl,” bringing its heroines out of the shadows of Victorian poverty and into the 20th century. With Love Story’s success, Bacon became a national spokesperson, declaring that the modern woman could have it all—in love, in marriage and in the business world. Yet Bacon herself struggled to achieve that ideal, especially in her own romantic life, built around a long-term affair with a married man. Drawing on exclusive access to her personal papers, this first-ever biography tells the story behind the woman who influenced millions of others to pursue independence in their careers and in their relationships.

About the Author(s)

Laurie Powers is the granddaughter of pulp fiction author Paul S. Powers and has authored several articles on pulp fiction history. She lives in Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Laurie Powers

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 217
Bibliographic Info: 82 photos (5 in color), notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2019
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7396-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3694-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Holding Court 9
2. French Novels 13
3. City of Promise 23
4. The Greatest Publishing House in the World 32
5. “They Are Our Shakespeares” 40
6. First Days 46
7. Think of Me as Zayda 53
8. Modern Girl 59
9. The Golden Age 68
10. Correspondence School 77
11. Forsaking All Others 89
12. What Do You Know About Love? 103
13. Codes and Symbols 115
14. Harbinger of Change 124
15. Soft Rain at Botts 133
16. Cobbler’s Child 139
17. The Last Real Year 145
18. Hanging On 152
19. Between the Lines 157
20. Saving the Superheroes 162
21. Small Tributes 169
22. Good Enough 175
Epilogue 181
Chapter Notes 189
Bibliography 195
Index 201

Book Reviews & Awards

  • •“This biography provides some welcome balance to the numerous studies of the era’s high-testosterone adventure pulps such as Doc Savage and The Shadow—both of which Bacon briefly edited. As Love Story aimed to show, women can do it all.”—The Washington Post
  • “This book breaks new ground and stresses original research on the love and romance magazines. The book is a real beauty and very impressive looking. It is very obvious that this is a labor of love…excellent…full of fascinating details and stories about Daisy…a must…highest recommendation”—Mystery File