Collections > Master's Papers > School of Information and Library Science > "As Popular as Pin-Up Girls:" The Armed Services Editions and American Print Culture, 1943-1947
pdf

During the Second World War, the United States government collaborated with American publishers to provide servicemen with unprecedented access to reading material. Between 1943 and 1947, the Armed Services Editions project supplied 1,322 titles and nearly 123 million books in all genres, from classics to westerns. Using both primary and secondary sources, the following essay probes the interplay between culture and society, home front and theaters of war, as viewed through the lens of the Armed Services Editions. The project provides a case study, in short, through which to analyze what historians Carl Kaestle and Janice Radway call "print culture" between 1943 and 1947. The Armed Service Editions initiative reveals not only changes in modern book publishing and in modern book reading, but also documents larger trends in modern American culture, notably the ascendance of "middlebrow" culture during the second quarter of the twentieth century. Ultimately, the Armed Services Editions represent a valuable - yet often overlooked - chapter in American cultural history.