One of the cheeky mailers that got Ginzburg into trouble
A quarterly magazine on love and sex…in America…in 1962? Not a chance. Publisher Ralph Ginzburg got off to a flying start by sending out three million mailers to Americans of higher income and intelligence describing the contents of his new venture which more or less guaranteed it would get noticed. He probably got more than he bargained for because the postal authorities swung into action and accused him of sending filth through the mail.
Looking back the first issue seems pretty tame stuff but issue two had sixteen pages of replies to his mailers confirming, of course, that America was a deeply conservative nation and had no need for this particular publication.
Eros only ran for four issues and with Ginzburg facing criminal charges that was that. But what great issues they were thanks to Art Director Herb Lubalin. First off the size was impressive: thirteen inches deep by ten wide; stiff board covers (the first issue had a playing card stuck on the front) and several different papers inside; glossy for photos using 133, 150 and 175 screens for the letterpress and litho printing; text was on two kinds of matt art.
One of the striking things about the issue was no advertising (what company would want to be included anyway) and this certainly makes it seem like a lavishly produced book, though it does create some design problems for Mr Lubalin. Only printing 75,000 copies. Here’s the first issue and as Ralph Ginzburg kept on pointing out in the mailers: “Eros is already on its way to becoming a collector’s item”.
Issue 2 is in the May 2012 archive, 3 is in November 2012 and 4 in April 2013.