Files in this item

FilesDescriptionFormat

application/pdf

application/pdfD'Arpa-ALISE2014.pdf (12MB)
(no description provided)PDF

Description

Title:The Corporate Development of Middlebrow Reading: The Peoples Book Club of the Sears, Roebuck Mail-Order Catalog, 1943-1959
Author(s):D'Arpa, Christine
Subject(s):Books, Printing, Publishing Industry, Reading
Abstract:The Sears, Roebuck and Co. mail-order catalog brought a full service department store to more than 12 million homes in the United States by the middle of the twentieth century. More than one third of those households were rural, and the primary purchasers of mail-order items were women. This paper examines the history and the economic and cultural impact of the decision by Sears, Roebuck and Co. to establish a mail-order book club -- the Peoples Book Club (PBC) -- in 1943. The introduction of the PBC in the July 1943 issue of the mail-order catalog marked a significant change in how the company offered books to its customers. The announcement came as a full-page color advertisement that included a self-addressed, postage-paid card. The infrastructure behind the project was equally elaborate. Sears established a publishing house in Chicago that designed and printed the book club editions and the club’s monthly catalog. The PBC had 350,000 members at its peak, but there are surprisingly few references to it in any of the scholarly literature on book clubs, libraries, women’s reading, and American “middlebrow” reading during the mid-twentieth century. The PBC represents an opportunity to more deeply understand and situate the evolution mass culture in post-World War II America.
Issue Date:2014
Publisher:unpublished
Citation Info:D'Arpa, C. (2014). The Corporate Development of Middlebrow Reading: The Peoples Book Club of the Sears, Roebuck Mail-Order Catalog, 1943-1959. Poster presented at ALISE annual conference, Philadelphia (PA).
Genre:Conference Poster
Type:Other
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/50334
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics