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Harper’s Bazaar is one of the oldest American fashion magazines first published in 1867

The fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar is one of the oldest American fashion magazines which was first published on November 2, 1867.

It was published by Hearst Communications and it became one of the most famous magazines in the 19th century.

It was founded by Harper & Brothers and this company also gave birth to Harper’s Magazine and Harper Collins Publishing.

Cover of Harper's Bazar magazine from 1875 in the USA.
Cover of Harper’s Bazar magazine from 1875 in the USA.


Cover of Harper's Bazar magazine from 1886.
Cover of Harper’s Bazar magazine from 1886.

Bazaar assembled photographers, designers, artists and writers to deliver perspectives into the world of fashion and popular culture on monthly basis. From the beginning, the editor of the magazine was Mary Louise Booth who translated French authors into English.

The pages of this magazine have been home to various subjects such as simple instructions on how to tie a bow to pieces of fiction, work. and social life. Many writers wrote columns through the years such as Charles Dickens, Alice Meynell, George Elliot, Henry James, Daisy Fellowes and Eleanor Hoyt Brainerd.

Cover of Volume I, No. 49 of Harper's Bazaar, showing hairstyles.
Cover of Volume I, No. 49 of Harper’s Bazaar, showing hairstyles.

Harper’s Bazaar was a weekly magazine catering to women in the middle and upper classes. It showcased fashion from Germany and Paris in a newspaper-design format. It was not until 1901 that Harper’s moved to a monthly issued magazine which it maintains today. Hearst purchased the magazine in 1913 and until today it is owned and operated by them in the U. S. and also by The National Magazine Company in the U. K.

Taffy in Harper's Bazaar, August 1956.
Taffy in Harper’s Bazaar, August 1956.

The first outside photography in fashion was published in the Harper’s Bazaar that made fashion-magazine history. In 1933, editor-in-chief Carmel Snow brought photojournalist Martin Munkacsi to a windswept beach to shoot a swimwear spread.

Until this moment, nearly all fashion was carefully staged on mannequin-like models in a studio. Snow was the first editor that brought life to the pages of Bazaar. In 1934, Snow met the 36-year-old graphic designer Alexey Brodovich and immediately offered him a job as Bazaar’s art director. Throughout his career, Brodovich revolutionized magazine design. 

Emma Ferrer shot by Michael Avedon for Harper's Bazaar. Photo Credit
Emma Ferrer shot by Michael Avedon for Harper’s Bazaar. Photo Credit


Harper's Bazaar from 1922.
Harper’s Bazaar from 1922.

With his directive “Astonish me”, he inspired some of the greatest visual artists of the 20th century such as Hiro, Gleb Derujinsky, Irving Penn and Richard Avedon. Avedon began creating fashion portfolios for Harper’s Bazaar at the age of 22 and he was one of the best photographers of the magazine.

Here is another story from us: Fashion on the ration: how WWII and the rationing of clothes affected fashion and street style

The magazine is published in 32 countries and regions. To celebrate the 150 years anniversary the directors of the magazine published a 712-page illustrated anthology called An American Album: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Harper’s Magazine.

Marija Georgievska

Marija Georgievska is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News