On Holiday
November 3, 2014 3:57 PM   Subscribe

Holiday’s urbane, martini-loving editor, Ted Patrick, and visionary art director, Frank Zachary, gave postwar America a passport to the glamour of travel, packing the magazine with big-name talent: Hemingway, Steinbeck, Kerouac, Cartier-Bresson, Steichen, et al. But, in 1964, tragedy would ground their flight.
"The magazine, in effect, sold an ideal of travel as enrichment, a literal path to intellectual and spiritual betterment. What Vogue did for fashion, Holiday did for destinations. Plus, the editorial formula was irresistible for those vagabonds providing all the words and pictures.

The concept was basically to get famous authors who had maybe one or two weeks in between their books or projects to go and travel and write glorious pieces,” says John Lewis Stage, a photographer who circled the globe taking pictures for Holiday. “So you’d have James Michener sent off to the South Pacific, for example. It was an intriguing way to put together a magazine. It was an oddball publication that used photographs to tell stories.”

And, oh, the stories they told. “What amazed me about it, other than how beautifully designed it was, [were] the huge names that wrote for Holiday: Cheever, Hemingway, O’Hara,” says Josh Lieberman, a Brooklyn archivist who in 2011 looked back on Holiday in an impassioned online appreciation for the Paris Review Daily. “For a lot of them, these articles don’t exist anywhere else. So there is this trove of literature that has rarely been read by modern readers.”
Best Holiday Covers (Vanity Fair)
Holiday Covers (tumblr)
Holiday, previously: 1, 2
posted by Room 641-A (7 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

I wonder if the "even more brusque editor" was Alfred Bester, who, according to legend, left the magazine to return to science fiction writing rather than agree to move to Indianapolis when the company did.
posted by enf at 5:13 PM on November 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

Great story. Vanity fair looks great on iOS too.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:47 PM on November 3, 2014

"The magazine, in effect, sold an ideal of travel as enrichment, a literal path to intellectual and spiritual betterment."
Which leads to the maxim that no matter where you live, to somebody, somewhere, it's a destination.
posted by TDavis at 10:36 PM on November 3, 2014

I hate to hear about people with so much talent and ability drinking themselves to death. The dark side of the Mad Men-era glamour.
posted by thelonius at 3:36 AM on November 4, 2014

> The magazine’s starry roster was no gimmick but rather its backbone, along with its luscious photography and imposing trim size—a bountiful 11 by 133 ¾ inches.

Our backbones were so much longer then, too.
posted by ardgedee at 4:57 AM on November 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

We found a binder with all the Jan-June 1959 issues in a thrift shop. Picked it up for $20.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:20 AM on November 4, 2014

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