THE response to our request for votes and comments on the 24 covers we carried during 1948 proved so generous, varied and cogent that we have been able to reach the following conclusions and make them a major plank of our editorial platform for 1949:
(a) Some people like our covers, (b) Some people don’t.
We’d be fools not to add at this juncture, however, that with 1,184 letters in, the ayes outnumbered the nays by approximately seven to one. To come right out with it, the enthusiasm for our show-window art exceeded our wildest dreams. And even the readers who had beefs to lodge entered them more in sorrow than in anger. As for instance, Alex F. Clarke of Vancouver, who noted: “I have
been a subscriber to Maclean’s from away back and it is my favorite magazine. Regarding your covers, very few of them irritate me—which is something in a twice-monthly publication.” And even though Mrs. Arvid Elliott of Aylesbury, Sask., dealt us such a blow that we were left for dead, it was clear that she meant it for our own good. “Never mind,” Mrs. Elliott wrote, “your Chatelaine covers make up for any beauty lacking in your Maclean’s covers.”
•The formal balloting, which was so close it became downright exciting before the end, indicated that the three most popular covers we carried in 1948 were, in order: Franklin Arbuckle’s Dec. 15 painting of Santa Claus in mufti smuggling a dog through a doorway; the Feb. 1 color photograph of Barbara Ann Scott by Rice and Bell of Toronto; W. A. Winter’s Dec. 1 torture scene of a small hoy being prepared for a Christmas pageant.
When it came time to select the prize-winning letters, the mixture of brimming praise and kindly chastisement to which we had been subjected went completely to our heads, and we decided to award six prizes instead of the four we had promised. These go to Leslie Stuart, 82 Broadway Avenue, Toronto; Mrs. M. E. Child, Durban, Man.; Mrs. Joan Robinson, 19 Mount Pleasant Avenue,
Ottawa; J. C. Lewis, 445 Grant Street, Montreal; Ida N. Vyse, Langley Prairie, B.C.; and Katharina Sherwood Fox, 270 Regent Street, London, Ont. Mr. Stuart gets $25, each of the others $10.
•It’s impossible, unfortunately, to print the winning letters, but all of them showed—either through the pat on the back or the sor-
rowful rebuke-—an understanding of what we’re groping for. In one form or another they all said what Mr. Stuart said: “Your best cover choices for Canada’s national magazine are those which combine genuine human interest with something distinctively Canadian.” If we had to pin down our cover policy to a few words, those would come as close as any—although we hasten to add that we’d be reluctant to adopt any exact formula which would automatically exclude any kind of cover that seems attractive and interesting.
Which winds up this Saturnalia of self-approbation, leaving us only a few brief seconds to throw the spotlight back on the people who should have been under it all the time—the painters and photographers who execute our covers. We congratulate them on their efforts in 1948and hope that in spite of our fussy meddling they will manage to do even better in 1949.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.