Vanity Fair, edited by Frank Crowninshield, was published by Condé Nast in the years 1914-1936. According to legend, it was a brilliant and witty magazine—a compendium of the newest and best in American and European culture, and an intellectual showcase of sorts. With the new Vanity Fair coming this month, it may be worth looking back to see what the original magazine was really like.

It was certainly glittery and seductive, and it still dazzles. It was large, too, the size of the old Life, but more substantial, printed on thick paper with color covers by artists like Raoul Dufy and a caricaturist named Fish. Even the advertisements—for jewels from Tiffany’s, for Packards, Daimlers and Pierce-Arrows, spats and suspenders, the French Line, the Cunard Line, the United States Line, Spud cigarettes and Lucky Strikes—retain their air of glamour half a century later....


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