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This gallery presents some of the rarest items in my collection: tabloid newspapers from a wave of mostly weekly (but occasionally monthly) publications that were published in American cities of the Eastern seabord between 1932 and 1934. This wave of tabloid newspapers had two commercial epicentres: one of these was the organization taking shape around the Annenberg family, later wealthy and respectable as publishers of TV Guide. In the early 1930s, and allegedly with mob connections, the Annenbergs launched a series of city tabloids like Baltimore Brevities, mirrored in other cities by tabloids bearing such names as Philadelphia Briefs, Chicago Hush or New York Hush. These tabloids, sleazy according to any definition of the term, trafficked in celebrity gossip (around such figures as Jean Harlow or Charles Lindbergh), stories of sexual traffic and sexual assault, and exposés of municipal vice.
In Manhattan, a series of tabloids like the New York Tattler or Broadway Tattler (the latter founded with Stephen G. Clow, formerly of Broadway Brevities as its editor) intersected with the various commercial ventures of Theodore Epstein, a distributor and publisher of the Daily Racing Tab, who was indicted in the mid 1930s for running a racing tip racket out of Saratoga Springs, New York. Stephen G. Clow, a prominent figure in these galleries, would remain in the orbit of Epstein, picking up bits of editorial and writing work, throughout the first half of the 1930s. In any event, power within the industry was shifting from editors to distributors and paper brokers, and the growth in influence of the latter brought with it close ties to organized crime.
Recent additions to this gallery are covers and some pages from two weekly tabloids – The Tabloid News and The Graphic News published in Philadelphia by a Walter Gold. All issues are from 1933. We have added, as well, covers of four issues of Washington Brevities, edited by Donald F. Tracy and published by C. C. Rumold in the Victor Building in Washington, D.C.
In some cases, the covers scanned here were from issues returned to distributors. Often, the title strips from the top were removed and sent as proof of non-sale. Issues missing the tops of the covers are a result of this practice.
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