|Vintage Pulp||Mar 14 2012|
We have another great find for you today—an issue of Beautify Your Figure published during the summer of 1944. The magazine was one of several imprints owned by the Bonomo Culture Institute, which was the brainchild of Joe Bonomo. Bonomo’s art director was none other than George Quaintance, and that’s a Quaintance cover you’re looking at above, making its first appearance on the internet. We posted some pieces from Quaintance way back in 2009, but those were culled from online. This one is all ours, and we got it for five bucks. In addition to the cover, Quaintance also drew all the interior illustrations, which include the one posted just below, as well as the “Her Crowning Glory Goes to War” illustration in panel ten. He supplied art for Bonomo’s other magazines too, a roster that included Make-Up, Improve Your Dancing, Your Baby, and Building Body Power.
Beautify Your Figure is filled with amusingly anachronistic articles, such as the feature beginning in panel twelve that teaches housewives how to avoid arguments with their husbands. The magazine’s advice? Prettify yourself so you look your best when he comes home. He probably hates it when he returns from a long day of work and you’re in your apron scrubbing the wall. Seriously. Wall scrubbing was a standard chore in 1944, we gather. Elsewhere in the issue women are taught to stand on their heads to improve digestion, learn to swim by laying across a stool and sticking their heads in a bowl of water, and exercise their facial muscles by making a series of horrible expressions (but always in private, so as not to upset the hubby).
You’ll notice Beautify Your Figure is sprinkled with references to the war, and most pages carry a call to buy war bonds. We’ve hinted before—and Beauty Your Figure, of all magazines, reiterates—what clarity those times had. We weren’t there, but we’ve read about it, and listened to stories told by our relatives who lived it. Americans approached the war effort with near-total unity and upbeat determination. Belief in the war as unambiguously noble was so general that financial support could be demanded even in the pages of beauty magazines. Could you imagine that happening today? We have more gems from San Francisco upcoming.