Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wednesday primary source #18 - True Crime!


POLICE-MAGAZINE. Paris. Complete run: No. 1 (Dec. 1, 1930) through No. 450 (1939); bound in annual volumes.
At the end of the summer, Stanford was fortunate to acquire a complete run of the French illustrated "true crime" magazine from the 1930s, Police-Magazine.
Police-Magazine was part of a genre whose most well-known titles were D├ętective (published by Gallimard during the same years), and the earlier Le Petit Parisien, and L’Illustration, the latter two focusing less on criminal sensationalism. We have microfilm runs of the latter two; this is now the only set of Police-Magazine in North America. This periodical, aimed at a working class audience, is heavily illustrated, and serves as a valuable addition to SULAIR’s holdings on the turbulent 1930s in France. In addition to the journals above, it complements holdings in graphic novels and comics, our collection of the French crime fiction series Masque, and other works of interwar French fiction, politics, and crime. Paging through, I was struck by the number of female authors. While many of the contributors are now forgotten, this magazine contained at least one early serialized story Georges Simenon, and also probably provided him with ample inspiration for his novels.

From the vendor's notes: "Police-Magazine reported on a mix of organized crime, political and social scandal, titillating sexual and romantic misdeeds, urban vices such as gambling and prostitution, daring thefts from the rich, and grand guignol acts of violence -- all enhanced with photos (frequently retouched to increase the shock value) and with sleazy illustrations. For much of the run, the photo editors also went out of their way to publish pictures of young and strikingly good-looking criminals of both sexes -- often with nothing more than a caption noting that the individual had committed some petty misdemeanor.
The mix of articles is weighted toward coverage of Paris and the Paris region, but also includes reports on crimes in other French cities and towns and in rural areas of France, as well as in other European countries, the United States and elsewhere."

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brought to you by...
Sarah Sussman, curator of French and Italian Collections