From the lost drawer: “La Lettura” magazine

Et Cetera

Searching among my papers and folders, I found a box full of printed materials from the 1930s and 1940s that belonged to my grandfather (and, gem among the gems, a couple of pages from a 1915 newspaper). One of the best preserved items is the February 1944 issue of La Lettura, an illustrated magazine published by the Corriere Della Sera from 1901 until 1952.

From the Italian Wikipedia entry (translation is mine):

In the early years of the century the magazine, following the principles of the positivist philosophy, aimed to be a magazine featuring comprehensive scientific information, thanks to the collaboration of distinguished academics and scholars. Later, under the direction of Renato Simoni (since 1906) and Mario Ferrigni (since 1923), the magazine became more journalistic and commercial in style, but always within the limits of decorum and keeping a decent cultural standard. One notable scoop was the publication of the photographs of the Battle of Liaoyang (Russo-Japanese War, 1904) taken by Luigi Barzini, Sr. This was the first photographic documentation ever of a battlefield, and copies of the magazine sold out in a few hours. Another scoop was the publication of the first Italian radio programme, the radio drama L’Anello di Teodosio (“The Ring of Theodosius”).

Illustration was a key strength of the magazine: published articles were always accompanied by photographs, and stories and serials by drawings; from 1906 onwards the cover, too, was illustrated in colour by the most famous illustrators of the time: from Enrico Sacchetti to the eminent Marcello Dudovich, from the fantastic style of Umberto Brunelleschi to the caricatural style of Sergio Tofano.

The issue I’ve unearthed is no different. First of all, I really love the cover, which I find surprisingly minimalistic and rather tasteful in the typeface department:

La lettura 1944

And here’s the back cover, with a lovely illustrated ad for a Italian liquor:

La Lettura 1944 back

(Translation: on the top right corner, “Let’s make up”. The tag line on the bottom reads “Cures the ache for foreign liquors”).

Other nice illustrations can be found inside, especially the following three, drawn by Carlo Della Zorza for the story Domanda di Matrimonio (“Marriage Proposal”) written by Milli Dandolo.

DDM illustr 1


DDM illustr 2


DDM illustr 3


That’s it for now. There’s more of this kind of stuff, of course, but the scanning process is slow, mostly due to the fragility of the materials. I also found lots of war-themed postcards my grandfather sent to my grandmother from the front in 1943–44, which I intend to scan and publish here at a later date.

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  1. Pingback: La lettura: ma non quella di oggi | inutile

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