Ultimo aggiornamento:
02.10.2018 14.49
May 28, 2018

a collie on the front cover

by  Lucio Rocco


The use of pictures as a means of communication, dates back to the origin of man itself. As this means was not linked to writing, it had the advantage of being free from language constraints and, it represented, therefore, a “universal language” which, with time, became a means of expression and information. The front covers of the periodicals of the time, should, therefore, be observed under the same aspect. They have a fundamental function in directing and convincing the reader into buying a magazine. It largely depends on the capability of attracting a person into purchasing one magazine rather than another. The subjects represented become a means of disclosure. Thanks to the cover you are actually doing journalism. The picture itself becomes a headline.

This aspect of editorial publicity of periodicals, with all the artistic and graphic consequences that it involves, only came into shape in the U.S.A, in the second half of the 19th century, made easier by the perfecting of the typographical industry. Before that time, magazine covers were used only to anticipate the headlines of the news covered inside, or to give a preview of the most important articles reported inside.

The forefather of modern magazines is considered to be the German periodical Erbauliche Monaths Unterredungen, published in Hamburg, between 1663 and 1668. It dealt with philosophical issues and it was written by the theologian and poet Johann Rist.

The first periodical publication, written using the layout of future magazines was, The Review, published in London by Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe. The newspaper, which was on sale three times a week, was entirely written by Defoe himself, who published  it until 1713.

The word “magazine” was used for the first time in 1731,when Edward Cave published The Gentleman’s Magazine, the first to have an authentic popular printing.

The collie, has always had the honour of appearing on the front covers of magazines in all the world, even if the majority of them had no relationship with the animal world.

In 1821 the twice monthly American magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, started to be published. Cyprus Curtis, who bought the newspaper six years later, turned it into a weekly magazine. Famous writers such as, Agatha Christie, Francis Scott Fitzgerald and John Steinbeck, contributed to the success if the magazine, thanks to their stories. Quite often the collie appeared on the cover of this magazine, and  there will follow some examples of these publications between the years 1922 and 1964.










Luther Tucker, was the pioneer of agricultural journalism in the United States. Between 1831 and 1955, in Rochester, he published one of the first magazines dedicated to this topic, The Country Gentleman. From here onwards we have a series of covers dedicated to the collie, 1912 -1916.





Another magazine which dealt with the same topic was American Agriculturist, which started its publications in 1842. The first of the covers shown was published in 1893. It is the picture of the head of the son of the champion Christopher, Fordhook Eclipse, belonging to the Fordhook kennels of Philadelphia. The second, which was now in colour, was in 1920.



One of the most important American magazines of the 19th century, which informed people of what was happening during the civil war was Harper’s Weekly, published in New York by Harper and Brothers, from 1857 to 1916. The covers which we refer to, date back to 1907 and 1911.




One of the magazines entirely dedicated to women was the monthly magazine, Women’s Home Companion, printed in Springfield, Ohio, from 1873 to 1957. It met with a huge success, reaching well over 4 million copies being printed. Below we have three beautiful covers dedicated to collies.




Another female magazine of the same period, was, Holland’s, which was published by the Holland family between 1876 to 1953. It dealt with topics such as gardening, cooking, fashion and narrative. The cover we present here is from 1909.


Another American magazine, which was rich in practical information about agriculture and about breeding cattle was Farm Journal. It was published for the first time in March 1877 for American agriculturists, and fourteen issues a year are still published. Below you can see two very pretty covers from 1942 and 1945.



One of the most important magazines of the end the 18th century was Life, published in 1883 in the United States by Henry Robinson Luce. It continued to be published until 1936; it was a humoristic magazine, which then continued with different contents until 2007. Its services during the Second World War, and especially during the landing in Normandy, are those of the history of journalism. The cover that we show you below is one from 1923.


In 1885 Clark W. Bryan published Good Housekeeping, a new woman’s monthly magazine in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The success obtained forced the editor to publish a British edition in 1922. Here we can see a cover from 1912.


In 1888 the Irish editor Peter Fenelon Collier published the Collier’s Weekly magazine in the United States to, where he had moved, which was later called Collier, and subsequently, Collier’s. The publications continued without interruption until 1957. Here you can see two wonderful covers dedicated to collies, one from 1906 and the other from 1909.



Vogue is maybe one of the most famous monthly magazines in the world. Founded in New York by Arthur Baldwin Turner in 1892 it was aimed at women, for which it became a reference point for more than a century. Still today, it remains one of the most prestigious, and authoritative fashion magazines worldwide, with 18 national editions written in 14 different languages. Here we show two very elegant front covers from 1898 and 1903.



Having begun its life as Sunday supplement with the New York World, and the New York Journal, in 1890, The American Weekly became an independent magazine in 1896, and its issues continued to be published until 1966. The great success that the magazine obtained, allowed it to reach the printing of 50,000,000 copies, certainly due to the famous names that drew some of the covers. Among  these are artists like Howard Chandler Christy, the portraitist who painted the portrait of the First Lady, Grace Coolidge with her white collie, and artists such as, James Montgomery Flagg, the designer of the famous Uncle Sam, “I want YOU for the U.S Army” poster for the recruitment of soldiers, and the graphic designer Neil Brinkley, the Queen of Comics, who worked for the New York newspapers and periodicals for nearly forty years. His are the covers that follow, of which Neil narrated in episodes, the story of Golden Eye, and of his beloved faithful collie, Uncle Sam.





Another monthly woman’s magazine was The Farmer’s Wife, published for the first time in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1897, and which remained in publication until 1939. In its moment of major glory it had over one million subscribers in the whole of the United States. In 1939, it was sold to Farm Journal, under which it continued its publications until 1970. Below there is a cover from 1931.


Meanwhile, in France, Le Gaulois  Du Dimanche was being published, which was a weekly supplement to the newspaper Gaulois published in Paris from 1897 to 1929, the year in which it merged with Le Figaro. The elegant cover we present dates from 1910.


From 1899 to 1941 Sprague Publishing Co, Detroit, published a monthly magazine aimed at young American boys, The American Boy. It soon became the most popular boys’ magazine, with 3000.000 copies being printed, and, in 1929, it merged with the rival magazine Youth’s Companion. Here we present  two covers: one from  a nice cover dating 1908, and the other from 1936, on which a beautiful head of a collie is represented.



Among the magazines dedicated to dogs, we would like to mention one of the most interesting which was called Dogdom. This came into being in 1900 as an official organ of the Toy Spaniel Club of America and of the American Toy Dog Club. It was a monthly magazine, of about fifty pages, which remained in publication up until 1941. Here we show you only two of the numerous covers dedicated to collies. One is from 1930 and the other from 1941.



In the years of the start of the century, the periodical Star Weekly began to be published, every Sunday, in Canada. It was founded in Toronto by Joseph E. Atkinson. It was very successful, and continued to be published from 1910 to 1973. The cover we show is from 1948.


Better Homes and Gardens was an American periodical founded in 1922 by Edwin Meredith. It is still in publication today. The beautiful cover that is reproduced is from 1927.


The American periodical Child Life was instead dedicated to children. It was published for the first time in 1922. The cover presented here is from 1939.


Another monthly magazine published by the Meredith Corporation was Family Circle. It was aimed at families, and its first issues were handed out in supermarkets in 1932. The wonderful cover we produce is from 1952.



In 1953 TV Guide which was published twice a week in New York, met with an extraordinary success. It gave information about television programmes, together with all kinds of news regarding people from the world of television. Here we have three covers, from 1956, 1959 and 1960; they are all dedicated to one famous television character, Lassie.




We would l like to conclude our presentation of covers dedicated to collies with an Italian weekly sports magazine, which started out in Turin, in 1902 as an illustrated supplement to the daily newspaper, La Stampa. The magazine was called La Stampa Sportiva and it was dedicated both to the most traditional of sports, such as athletics, horse-racing, fencing, as to  the new sports, such as cycling, motorcycling, motoring and also football, which was beginning to spread in popularity at the time. The magazine stopped being printed in 1925. Below is an original cover from 1903.


If pictures have had a role and power in the spreading of ideas, then these magazines, along with their covers, have, also had their part in allowing people to get to know the collie, and in divulging culture in every corner of the world. We do not feel that  there are other breeds of dogs able to boast an ability of such capillary diffusion. However, this is the civilization of pictures, which firstly, has changed the face and the colours of the cities, and secondly, has entered our houses through the Internet, bringing information into everyone’s life in a capillary manner. We are now harassed, surrounded, bewitched and conditioned by it.