With a circulation of 300,000 by 1923, the trend-setting publication remained a huge success through the 1920s and was a key title in Bernarr Macfadden's publishing empire of Physical Culture, True Detective, True Romances, Dream World, True Ghost Stories, Photoplay and the tabloid New York Graphic. It sprang from Physical Culture, stemming from the many letters written the magazine by women about their experiences. By 1929, the circulation of True Story was nearly two million.
True Story offered anecdotal experiences, and the articles it presented, rewritten by staffers, were purportedly true. However, by the mid-1920s, many stories were professional submissions from fiction writers or were staff-written by Macfadden's stable of writers, including Fulton Oursler and Lyon Mearson. The language was kept relentlessly simple; Mcfadden would test language on the elevator operator, and reject whatever he could not understand. Articles were illustrated with photographs of posed models, breaking away from the idealistic illustration common in magazines.
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