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March 16, 2021

Photoplay: One of the First American Film Fan Magazines

Founded in 1911 in Chicago, the same year that J. Stuart Blackton founded Motion Picture Story, Photoplay began as a short fiction magazine concerned mostly with the plots and characters of films at the time and was used as a promotional tool for those films.

Photoplay covers in the 1910s

In 1915, Julian Johnson and James R. Quirk became the editors (though Quirk had been vice president of the magazine since its inception), and together they created a format which would set a precedent for almost all celebrity magazines that followed.

By 1918, the circulation exceeded 200,000, with the popularity of the magazine fueled by the public’s increasing interest in the private lives of celebrities.

For most of its run, Photoplay was published by Macfadden Publications. In 1921, Photoplay established what is considered the first significant annual movie award. The magazine ceased publication in 1980.

A set of amazing photos that shows early Photoplay covers featuring classic beauties in the 1910s.

Billie Burke, December 1911

    Florence Lawrence, November 1914

Lilian and Dorothy Gish, December 1914

Beatriz Michelena, February 1915

Beverly Bayne, October 1915

Blanche Sweet, April 1915

Clara Kimball Young, May 1915

Mae Marsh, July 1915

Mary Fuller, June 1915

Mary Pickford, November 1915

Theda Bara, September 1915

Winifred Kingston, January 1915

Edna Mayo, April 1916

Hazel Dawn, October 1916

Marguerite Clark, March 1916

Marguerite Courtot, February 1916

Elsie Ferguson, April 1918

Mabel Normand, August 1918

Olive Tell, June 1918

Lillian Gish, November 1919

Marie Doro, January 1919

Marjorie Rambeau, April 1919


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