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magazine cover: Asia (May, 1929), with an image of two white monkeys against a blue background

Asia Magazine

June 2019

Our June exhibit on the public floor of the New York State Library featured back issues of Asia magazine, which started off in 1898 under the title Journal of the American Asiatic Society and went out with a whimper in 1946. This periodical changed owners and editors over the years, but reached its zenith in the 1930s and early '40s under the editorship of Richard J. Walsh and his wife, Pearl S. Buck. From Wikipedia, "He announced that the magazine would no longer be a tourist handbook, and despite objections from some readers, [Asia] was shifted from advertising luxury goods, travel and promotion of American commerce in the Orient to discussion of international affairs and current Asian culture and literature."

exhibit: Asia magazine, case 1

Asia adapted a pro-independence, anti-racist philosophy which covered a wide range of countries and topics and attracted talented contributors such as Hu Shih (one of the leaders of China's New Culture Movement), Indian independence activist Jawaharlal Nehru, and many others. Buck, as America's most influential writer on Asia, was deeply involved, penning articles, reviewing books, and eventually assuming the editorship herself.


exhibit: Asia magazine, case 2

Another standout feature of this periodical were the stunning Art Deco cover designs of Frank McIntosh, a leading illustrator of the day, though Asia went to pictorial covers in the 1940s as so many other magazines did.


exhibit: Asia magazine, case 3

Asia covers in the three larger cases, interesting contents of same in the long narrow ones, on display through June.


two Asia magazine covers, showing pearl divers (January 1928) and giraffes (October 1929)

Exhibit curated by Shawn Purcell

Last Updated: November 2, 2021