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The Argosy & related magazines

These pages attempt to provide a checklist of The Argosy, generally regarded as the first pulp magazine, and all the other Munsey magazines with which it was connected in its long and glorious history.

It all started in December 1882 with a weekly magazine, in newspaper format, called The Golden Argosy.  In December 1888 the name changed to The Argosy, although format and content remained the same until April 1894 when it became a monthly, shifted to pulp format and started the whole pulp revolution.  In October 1917 it switched back to being a weekly, and often bore the title The Argosy Weekly on the cover, although the title on the masthead remained The Argosy. In January 1919 it merged with Railroad Man's Magazine and was briefly titled Argosy and Railroad Man's Magazine, and then, in 1920, merged with All-Story Weekly to become Argosy Allstory Weekly.

In October 1929, there was a rather strange "rationalisation of titles" by the publishers which saw the magazine being merged with Munsey's Magazine and then immediately split into two separate magazines. Argosy Allstory Weekly continued as a weekly, but was called just Argosy on the masthead (and Argosy Weekly on the cover) and concentrated on general/adventure fiction, while Munsey's Magazine became a fortnightly magazine called All-Story which concentrated on love stories (and was subsequently renamed All-Story Love Stories, All-Story Love Tales and just All-Story Love).

Argosy continued as a weekly until October 1941 (absorbing All-American Fiction) along the way, when the frequency slipped to (roughly) semi-monthly, and then, in July 1942, to monthly. The biggest change, however, came in September 1943 when the magazine stopped being an "all fiction" pulp magazine and shifted to a slick magazine with mixed content. Gradually over the following 35 years, the percentage of fiction decreased further and further and the magazine concentrated on becoming a "men's magazine".

The final issue of the main sequence of the magazine is "November -December 1978". It is Vol. 338, No. 3, a misnumbering since the
preceding two issues (September and October) bore the volume number of 388. This was followed by at least four issues in 1979 from a different publisher for which Argosy was subtitled "for a Greater America" and was focussed on articles attacking the government.

Since then the magazine has seen two further incarnations, a semi-professional version that ran for 5 issues in the 1990s and which contained a considerable amount of SF and a new version that started in 2004 and has so far produced three issues.

As the magazine saw over 2500 issues in its various incarnations, it is impractical to try to list them all on a single page, so the checklist has been split into 5 segments:

The story of the magazines related to Argosy is a rather complicated one which starts in the early 1900's with the founding of three new monthly pulp magazines in consecutive years - All-Story Magazine in 1905 (which became a weekly in 1914 under the name of All-Story Weekly), The Scrap Book in 1906 (which split into two sections in 1907, of which the second was devoted primarily to fiction) and The Ocean in 1907 (which was renamed to The Live Wire in early 1908).

In September 1908 life got complicated as The Live Wire was absorbed into The Scrap Book which, at the same time, spun off its second section as a separate magazine called The Cavalier. The first section continued under the name of The Scrap Book for another four years until it was absorbed into The Cavalier, which then went weekly as Cavalier Weekly, which lasted until May 1914 when it merged with All-Story Weekly to form All-Story-Cavalier Weekly.  The name didn't last long, though, as the magazine reverted to All-Story Weekly in 1915 and then, five years later, merged with The Argosy (as discussed above).

There are only two remaining pieces of the jigsaw.  First there is the short-lived All-American Fiction which started as a monthly in November 1937, went bi-monthly in early 1938 and was then combined with Argosy in September 1938.   The second is the venerable Munsey's Magazine which started as a weekly sometime in February 1889, went monthly in 1891 and then merged with The Argosy in 1929 (as discussed above) and immediately demerged as All Story which continued on a monthly schedule under a variety of similar titles until May 1955.