Town Topics. The Journal of Society, magazine published in New York (1885-1937)

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Town Topics. The Journal of Society, magazine published in New York (1885-1937)


Gender Norms
Intimacy--As Source
Intimacy--As topic


Town Topics, published in New York, was "the preeminent
society gossip magazine in the 1880s and 1890s" (Knight 1055). When William d'Alton Mann took over, he "turned it into a scandal sheet of a brazenness never equaled since" (New York Times). He also developed a blackmail scheme that eventually ended the magazine.
The magazine included theater and literature reviews as well as a financial section. Its core component, however, was the muli-page column "Saunterings," in which a thinly vailed d'Alton shared intimate details about members of the high society of (mainly, but not exclusively) New York. "Saunterings" is marked by a narrative voice, which addresses their readers as personal acquaintances with whom the Saunterer shares opinions and judgments about people mutually known. At the same time, the Saunterer stresses the professionalism of the business modell behind his ability to share gossip about the rich and famous with his readers (correspondents in multiple cities etc).


New York Publich Library / "Everyday Life and Women in America, c.1800-1920" by Adam Matthew



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New York Public Library



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Secondary Texts: Comments

For an analysis of the magazine's address of its readers at the intersection of public and private, see Katrin Horn, "The Public Gossip of Town Topics: The Journal of Society (1885-1937)." For a comparison of the magazines financial pages and its society papges, see Peter Knight "Reading the Market: Abstraction, Personification and the Financial Column of Town Topics Magazine."
For more on the blackmail lawsuit brought by Edwin Post (husband of Emily Post, author of Etiquette) against Town Topics, see Andy Logan's 1965-feature in The New Yorker.

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“Town Topics. The Journal of Society, magazine published in New York (1885-1937),” Archival Gossip Collection, accessed March 4, 2024,

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