Bradley, His Book
Date of Publication:
May 1896 – Aug. 1896; Nov. 1896 – Jan. 1897
Place(s) of Publication:
Frequency of Publication:
Monthly, suspended September and October of 1896.
The Wayside Press
5 1/8″ X 10 1/4″
10 cents per issue (first two issues)
25 cents per issue (last five issues
William H. Bradley
Libraries with Original Issues:
Occidental College, Middlebury College, Davidson College, The University of Kansas, and searchable PDFs of full collection through JSTOR
None. Various libraries hold re-prints of the commercial designs from Bradley’s magazines including the New York Public Library and Columbia University Libraries
In 1896 William H. Bradley, in his late twenties, began publishing Bradley, His Book out of the Wayside Press in Springfield, Massachusetts. He published literature and artwork produced by his peers (including Audrey Beardsley and William Morris), as well as several up-and-coming authors of his generation such as Percival Pollard, Maxfield Parrish, and Margaret Christine Whiting. The magazine emphasized art criticism, artist biographies, and arts and crafts techniques. Bradley, His Book also featured poetry and short stories from authors like Harriet Monroe and George W. Cable. Special editions of the magazine, like the July 1896 “Women’s Issue” and the December 1896 Christmas issue, highlighted experimentation in typeface and content. The magazine prioritized quality of visual design over literary quality.
The tall, narrow format of this little magazine mirrors the artwork that Bradley intended to sell. He designed posters and print works that were available for purchase through the Wayside Press. At the back of the magazine, Bradley inserted advertisements for other magazines, journals, or household items. The most common advertisements were for fine paper companies and printing. Many of these advertisements were printed on samples of the paper these companies intended to sell. Bradley designed many of these advertisements himself, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing, diverse, and effective advertising strategy. One could say these were the precursor to the “advertorial” found in almost every magazine today, luring the reader in with an appealing illustration attached to a well-worded advertising hook.
Though only seven issues were published, the quality of the artwork in its short run exemplifies a unique combination of the Art Nouveau style and the Arts and Crafts movement of the 1890s. As editor, printer, contributor, and owner of the magazine, Bradley was often overworked yet refused to pass on responsibilities to his employees. His inability to dole out tasks to others and bouts of sickness led to the magazine’s irregular publication from August 1896 to November of that year. Along with the magazine’s profits, Bradley’s health declined. He eventually sold Wayside Press in February 1897 resulting in the cancellation of the magazine.
Although Bradley, His Book never issued an explicit manifesto, the editor, William H. Bradley stipulated what art and advertising would do in the magazine in this prospectus piece:
William H. Bradley (Jul. 10, 1868 – Jan. 25, 1962)
Editor: May 1896 – Jan. 1897
William H. Bradley was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, Aaron Bradley, was a cartoonist for a local newspaper and “provided Will with his first exposure to the world of printing and the motivation to be an artist” (Bambace xiii). His mother, Sarah, was a seamstress. At the age of six, Bradley purchased a small printing press from an advertisement in Youth’s Companion for $3.50. He used this printing press to print cards for his friends. His parents recognized William’s artistic talents but art schooling was beyond his “family’s finances” (xiii). Instead, his father encouraged him to “learn wood engraving by working as an apprentice at a printing or publishing company” (xiii). When his father died in 1880, William and his mother moved to Michigan. He began his apprenticeship education in 1882 where he operated the printing press for a local newspaper and “designed and hung posters for local business concerns,” on the side (xiii). He also experimented with typefaces and print layout. Chicago printing firms began noticing his designs, and he moved there in 1888 to work for the Knight & Leonard printing firm. Throughout the 1890s, he established his own, small design studio while working for commercial enterprises as well as his own artistic ventures.
Heavily influenced by Art Nouveau style, especially by Audrey Beardsley’s work, William H. Bradley’s characteristic, colorful style was the product of these late-1900s aesthetics combined with a resurrection of colonial and medieval type fonts. Throughout his career Bradley designed hundreds of layouts, covers, and illustrations for magazines, including Vogue, The Echo, Harper’s Bazar, and The Ladies’ Home Journal. In many of these publications, he contributed written works about printmaking and design. An industrious artist, he illustrated and sold hundreds of high-quality posters while designing several covers for special edition prints of novels, such as Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle. After purchasing his own printing press in 1895, The Wayside Press in Springfield, Massachusetts, he funded the production of Bradley, His Book through heavy advertising from paper companies and other local printing presses. This little magazine, while not a profitable or enduring venture, allowed Bradley to experiment as an artist, editor, writer, and businessman.
By his death in 1962, William H. Bradley was one of the most well-respected and iconic type composers, layout designers, and illustrators in the United States.
“Philistinism In Art.”
August F. Jacacci
Illustration of “Rape of the Lock, Title Page”
Illustration of “A Page from Chaucer”
George W. Cable
“At the Edge of the Woods”
“Life and Death”
“Gossip About An Old House”
“The Life and Death of Jason”
“The Story of the Glittering Plain”
Madeline Yale Wynne
“In Nether Spaces”
Margaret Christine Whiting
“The City in Which I Died”
“The Philadelphia Horse Show”
“No Gentleman of France”
“After Many Days”
“In An Old Library”
“An Island Queen”
William H. Bradley
Multiple illustrations and written contributions in every issue
Bambace, Anthony.Will H. Bradley: His Work : A Bibliographical Guide. New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 1995. Print.
Bradley, His Book. Springfield, Massachusetts: The Wayside Press, 1896-1897. JSTOR collection.
Brooker, Peter and Andrew Thacker. The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Vol. 2. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Koch, Robert, 1918-2003. “Will Bradley and the Art Nouveau Poster.” Magazine Antiques 134 (1988): 812–821. Print.
“Bradley, His Book” complied by Hannah Grace Heartfelt (Davidson College, Class of ’16)