75 Years Ago in Time

Time magazine, that is.

Below is a collection of covers from Time magazine from the year 1938. Some of the folks on the covers are “household names” to this day, some are at least familiar to many people from their high school history books.

For me, there was at least one that had me scratching my head… “Claude WHO?” Actually, I remembered hearing the name over the years, but hadn’t a clue what Claude was famous for. His heyday was during my early childhood, when I wasn’t politically aware. Some of his story is a real hoot. If you want to know more, see the Claude Pepper entry on Wikipedia. Which includes this cute tidbit about the 1948 election, when US Senator Pepper was running against George Smathers…

Part of American political lore is the Smathers “redneck speech,” which Smathers reportedly delivered to a poorly educated audience. The “speech” was never given; it was a hoax dreamed up by one reporter. Time Magazine, during the campaign, falsely claimed that Smathers said this:

“Are you aware that Claude Pepper is known all over Washington as a shameless extrovert? Not only that, but this man is reliably reported to practice nepotism with his sister-in-law, he has a brother who is a known homo sapiens, and he has a sister who was once a thespian in wicked New York. Worst of all, it is an established fact that Mr. Pepper, before his marriage, habitually practiced celibacy.”

The Smathers campaign denied his having made the speech, as did the reporters who covered his campaign, but the hoax followed Smathers to his death.

time3805 claude peppertime3810 chamberlain peace in our timeIgnominious British Prime Minister “Peace in our time” Chamberlain

time3809 john j pershing

John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing, head of the WWI American Expeditionary Forces

time3808 chiang and wifeChiang Kai-Shek of China and wife

time3807 waltOK … this cover is from December 27, 1937.
But that’s close enough! Who doesn’t love Walt and his Little People?!

Snow White premiered December 21, 1937
and had its nationwide release February 4, 1938.

time3806 john l lewis

John L. Lewis, powerful union leader, president of the United Mine Workers
from 1920-1960, founder of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO)

time3804 rodgers and hart(Richard) Rodgers & (Lorenz) Hart
Composer and Songwriter team who worked together
on 28 stage musicals and more than 500 songs,
including “Falling in Love With Love” and “My Funny Valentine.”


Architect Frank Lloyd Wright


Adolph Hitler named Man of the Year for 1938 by Time magazine.
(Edition published January 2, 1939)

From Time’s Archives: On January 2, 1939, Time Magazine published its annual Man of the Year issue. For the year 1938, Time had chosen Adolf Hitler as the man who “for better or worse” (as Time founder Henry Luce expressed it) had most influenced events of the preceding year.

The cover picture featured Hitler playing “his hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine’s wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on.” This picture was drawn by Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper, a German Catholic who had fled Hitler’s Germany.

Here is the beginning of the Time article

Greatest single news event of 1938 took place on September 29, when four statesmen met at the Führerhaus, in Munich, to redraw the map of Europe. The three visiting statesmen at that historic conference were Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain of Great Britain, Premier Edouard Daladier of France, and Dictator Benito Mussolini of Italy. But by all odds the dominating figure at Munich was the German host, Adolf Hitler.

Führer of the German people, Commander-in-Chief of the German Army, Navy & Air Force, Chancellor of the Third Reich, Herr Hitler reaped on that day at Munich the harvest of an audacious, defiant, ruthless foreign policy he had pursued for five and a half years. He had torn the Treaty of Versailles to shreds. He had rearmed Germany to the teeth— or as close to the teeth as he was able. He had stolen Austria before the eyes of a horrified and apparently impotent world. [from Time.com]

time3801Albert Einstein: 1929 and 1938

In both of these, Einstein — even then the world’s most famous physicist — is basically sitting around in what looks like his pajamas. He might be thinking deep thoughts, but they’re tagged as deeply irrelevant thoughts.

(One interesting discovery: the ESVA has a copy of the photograph that the painting from 1938 is based on. In the high-res version, you can see that he’s not wearing silk pajamas, as the cover somewhat implies. He’s actually wearing a strange leather outfit. Somewhat unexpected. My wife says, “It’s like a leather Mao jacket.”) [Source]


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