New Masses Magazine (Volume 7, Number 7; December 1931)
New York: New Masses, Inc., 1931. Magazine. Stapled wraps, 11.75 x 8.75 inches, 31 pp. Toning to wrappers and leaves with minor creasing and wear, but otherwise very well-preserved. An exceptional example of this rare volume. Very good-plus. Item #106
Exceptional and bright edition of the December 1931 volume of New Masses magazine (Volume 7, Number 7), featuring original works by Whittaker Chambers (1901–1961) (“Death of the Communists: A Story”) and John Dos Passos (1896–1970) (“Wesley Everest”). New Masses was an American Marxist magazine published from 1926 to 1948 and was closely affiliated with the Communist Party USA. Throughout the Great Depression and into World War II the magazine served as a fount of Marxist intellectual thought in America, publishing fiction, poetry, book reviews, and think pieces from the country’s leading communist, progressive, and Left-leaning intellectuals. Throughout its influential run the magazine counted numerous leading lights among its editors and contributors, including Max Eastman, William Carlos Williams, Upton Sinclair, Theodore Dreiser, Richard Wright, Dorothy Parker, Ralph Ellison, and Ernest Hemingway. New Masses was ultimately merged into Masses and Mainstream in 1948, which continued as a monthly until it folded in 1963 after losing subscribers and readership during the McCarthy era. The magazine would host works by several Trotskyists and Marxist sympathizers who would later become public intellectual leaders of the burgeoning post-War American conservative movement. Two of these leading lights were Whittaker Chambers and John Dos Passos. Chambers, who would renounce Marxism and turn state’s witness against Alger Hiss in the famous 1948 Hiss perjury case, contributed an early work of fiction to this December 1931 volume titled “Death of the Communist: A Story,” while Dos Passos contributed a piece on Wesley Everest, an American World War I veteran and member of the Industrial Workers of the World who, in 1919, was lynched in connection with the Armistice Day Riot after his involvement in the death of Dale Hubbard. A beautifully illustrated and well-preserved volume of this classic Marxist magazine—and a rare publication of early works by Whittaker Chambers and John Dos Passos.