Forgotten Fifties: The ‘Look’ Archives

Photo by Bob Sandberg, 1952

So many photo books with a Marilyn connection are coming out lately. It takes a lot of willpower not to buy them all! The Forgotten Fifties: America’s Decade from the Archives of Look Magazine, by James Conaway and Alan Brinkley, will soon be published by Rizzoli (but is already available from The Book Depository.) The photos are sourced from the Library of Congress in Washington, where there will be a book signing event on September 23. You can preview it here.

Marilyn by Milton Greene

Forgotten Fifties is also the subject of an article in NY Magazine today:

“From its founding in 1937 until the early ’70s, Life Magazine — the first American weekly picture magazine — was the most popular rag in the country. But it was not without its competitors: 1937 also marked the founding of Look Magazine, run by Des Moines Tribune editors and brothers Gardner and John Cowles.

Derided as ‘barber shop reading’ in the ’40s, Look — known for its large-scale photographs and very short articles — lacked the high aspirations and self-seriousness of Life. At the time of its launch, Time described the magazine as having ‘reader interest for yourself, for your private secretary, for your office boy — a magazine mostly for the middle class and for ordinary lives.’

Look had sold 3.7 million issues by the mid 1950s, but the biweekly went out of print in 1971 (a year before Life) and largely faded from historical consciousness.”

Marilyn and Her Feline Friend

A rare photo of Marilyn – with Siamese pal – has been published by King Rose Archives. It was taken by Robert Vose in Marilyn’s dressing room, during filming of Let’s Make Love in 1960. She is wearing the dress from the restaurant scene with Yves Montand.

Another shot, taken on the set while Marilyn sang ‘My Heart Belongs to Daddy’, has also emerged. A photo of Marilyn with Arthur Miller is also credited to Vose (although I’ve previously seen it attributed to John Bryson.)

The photos are part of the Look collection in the US Library of Congress.