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See what Esquire, Harper’s, and other longstanding publications paid writers in 1938

In the last years of the Great Depression, The New Yorker and Vogue paid "good" rates, Sunset paid "moderate," and The Atlantic just paid "according to value of material"...whatever that means.

See what Esquire, Harper's, and other longstanding publications paid writers in 1938
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One of the best things about working on a magazine that’s been around since 1887 is paging through the old archives from years past. One of the oldest volumes in our collection is from 1938, and it’s in impressive shape for a book that’s been around for eight decades.

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Every month The Writer publishes pages of market listings, where scribes can find agents, magazines, publishers, and other avenues to submit their writing to – and 1938 was no exception. Here’s a look at what publications offered freelancers in the pre-WWII years:

The Atlantic Monthly (Now The Atlantic)

“Articles on varied topics. High literary standard. Payment according to value of material; on acceptance.”



Better Homes & Gardens

“Articles on how to plan, build, furnish, and care for a home, and how to care for a garden. Length, 1500 to 1800 words. No fiction, fashions, or beauty aids. NO poetry except for special purposes, such as a frontispiece or special article. Pays 2c a word and up, on acceptance.”



“Articles, 1500 to 2500 words. Material should be of interest to adult audiences. Pays from $75.00 up, on acceptance.”



Foreign Affairs

“Articles dealing with the political, financial, and economic aspects of American foreign relations; 4000 to 5000 words. Pays $100 an article.”


Harper’s Magazine

“Humorous, satirical, or serious essays and sketches for ‘The Lion’s Mouth’ Department. Length, 500 to 2000 words. Pays about 5c a word, on acceptance.”