American Legion Magazine, 1951

A couple of weeks ago my friend Steve Scott sent me an email:

"I purchased a lot of old American Legion magazines, as one of them contained a John D MacDonald story I was looking for. I now own all twelve issues from 1951, plus a few more, and noticed several familiar names -- familiar to me now thanks to following Today's Inspiration. I thought I would send them along to you for your collection."


What a great surprise! These covers are priceless. Not only are many of them by some of my favourite mid-century illustrators (like this one directly below by James R. Bingham)...


... but I also love their portrayal of American society of that era.



Often that portrayal is not dissimilar from what one might find on the covers of The Saturday Evening Post or Collier's...



... but sometimes there is a distinctly right-of-center editorial message that I suppose must have seemed perfectly appropriate to American Legion subscribers (and probably a significant portion of the broader American population).


This was, after all, the beginning of the Cold War era. Communists were everywhere!


Here's my favourite cover of the year. I love the tag line on that subhead: "Parents can rid campuses of communists who cloak themselves in "academic freedom." As Steve wrote in his note, "a typical left-wing college professor poisoning the minds of his students. I think the bow tie says it all." Yes. Yes it does.



Steve sent quite a few more American Legion covers, which we'll look at on another day. For now, to all our American friends, Happy President's Day!

* Visit Steve Scott's blog, which celebrates the work of author John D MacDonald and offers many great examples of mid-century art! Thanks again, Steve!

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