History of Esquire Magazine

Founded in 1933 as a men’s apparel trade magazine that wasdistributed solely throughhaberdashery stores, Esquire has come a long way to become the premier men’s magazine in the United States. The magazine has always been a platform for heralded writers, beginning in the 1930s with Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. And in the mid-1940s, J.D. Salinger introduced the character of Holden Caulfield in his second short story for Esquire, six years before he published The Catcher in the Rye. For our first edition of #ThrowbackThursday, let’s explore what the world looked like in 1953.

Esquire: The Magazine for Men

Norman Mailer, the American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, actor and political activist, wrote his first story for Esquire in April 1953, a short piece of fiction called “The Language of Men.” Mailer’s writings would soon be accompanied by other pioneers of ”New Journalism” such as Tom Wolfe and Guy Talese. Famous graphic designer Henry Wolf had his career take off as the art director for Esquire in 1953. He placed emphasis on white space and larger photos.

Consumers would soon face a tough purchasing decision, as Hugh Hefner – a former Esquire copywriter – released the first copy of Playboy magazine, famously featuring Marilyn Monroe, later that year. The cost for a 44 page copy of Playboy magazine? A whopping 50 cents.

Another famous backside came on the scene in 1953, with Coppertone’s first print ad featuring The Coppertone Girl. Although she has been created in many different variations over the years, the Coppertone Girl remains a well-recognized figure in advertising.

The December 1953 issue of Esquire had the first printed margarita recipe. The recipe called for an ounce of tequila, a dash of triple sec, and the juice from half of a lime or a lemon.

Around the World

ATHLETICSThe New York Yankees won the World Series. It was their 16th win, and the final in their record-breaking five win streak. Fun Fact: They broke their own record from the previous decade, and no team has broken it since.

ROYALTYIn 1953, Queen Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England. To recap: she rules the U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Union of South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, and is to date the longest lived British monarch.

INNOVATIONAlthough their gas-powered predecessors appeared in England in the 1880’s, New York City did not adopt three-colored electric traffic lights until 1953. Also at this time, the average cost of a new car was $1,650 and gas was 20 cents per gallon.