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Liberty Magazine

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By the late Forties, the magazine seems to have lost some of its pizzazz. Not surprisingly in the McCarthy era, there were a good many articles with titles like “From Moscow and the Lips of Lenin: What Communists Plan for You.” Beyond that, the editors’ ideas of significant subjects seemed more and more often to be things like “Is the Golf Snob on the Way Out?” and “How to Buy a Television Set.” Though they introduced various format changes, they didn’t seem to be able to find a formula relevant to the new cold war-obsessed, tract-house-owning, TV-watching world. The real death knell, however, was that, like its competitors, Liberty began losing its advertisers to television. Floyd Odlum, the magazine’s new owner, turned it into a biweekly, then a monthly. But it kept losing money, and 1950 marked its end.

Or at least the end of its first life. Today, Robert Whiteman is keeping Liberty’s wealth of material in circulation in a variety of ways, including a series of greeting cards featuring Liberty illustrations, the “Liberty Calendar” that has appeared for the last twenty-one years, and the release of some of the more famous articles for syndication: “Why I Will Not Marry,” by the late Greta Garbo (the only piece ever published under her byline), and Leon Trotsky’s “Did Stalin Poison Lenin?”

If you missed these, don’t worry: There’s plenty more where they came from.

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