What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Retro Snark:



judge 9 Judge was a weekly satirical magazine published in the U.S. from 1881 to the mid forties. Its covers have long been avidly sought by collectors for their gorgeous, lush illustrations and witty content. Started by a group of disgruntled former Puck Magazine writers and artists, it served as the launching pad for quite a few notable careers, including Harold Ross, who used his experience on Judge to start The New Yorker in 1925. The New Yorker eventually became its main competitor, and Judge finally lost the circulation wars in 1947.

You can read entire digitized Judge Magazines here, courtesy of The New York City Public Library. WARNING: they are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and so are basically filled from cover to cover with sexist, racist humor. In case you’d rather skip directly to the art, here are a few of the magazine’s more beautiful (and less offensive) covers. In case you can’t read the captions, I’ve included them below each cover.




judge 8

“The Magnet”

judge 7

“Thou Swell”

My beautiful picture

“Turkey, with very little dressing”

judge 3

“A Dried-Beef Sandwich”

Judge Magazine

judge 1

Haven’t you a size smaller?”

judge 4

“The greatest puzzle of them all”




Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

7 thoughts on “Retro Snark:

  1. Oh, these are just awesome. I know exactly what you mean about sexist and racist. I think I’ve mentioned before the wonderful little vintage book of New Yorker cartoons I found which has some cringe-worthy cartoons. Funny but oh so politically incorrect. My favorites of these might be the “dried beef sandwich” and the envious mermaid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m just fascinated by how the “ideal” female form has changed from then. Any of those beautiful women would be berated to drop anywhere from fifteen to forty pounds and get breast implants if they tried to get on a magazine cover today. They were far healthier then.


  3. I’m loving just the art alone. I’ll pass on the sexism and racism, for now, I get enough of that in my daily life. Although, it would be interesting to see what were and how have the thoughts of the time.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the mermaid too!

    I think it’s good to remember what the “good” old days were like. My son’s girlfriend was pining for a kind of June Cleaver life and it took a bit for me to get thru to her that most women did not live on the “Leave it to Beaver” set and were much more at the mercy of their husband’s rights over them as wives that she thought about. I have also had my older son come to me shocked after watching one of the older James Bond. 007 movies. OH and someone came to me after watching Mad Men to ask if it really was that bad. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    I do love the art tho.


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