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35- & 40-






75-300 & 95-, 125-

Five-digit Numbers




In the first half of the 20th Century, there were three publishing giants competing for "confession" style magazines: Wilford Fawcett (read about him on the Gold Medal page), Alex L. Hillman (see the Hillman section of the database) and physical fitness guru Bernarr Macfadden (and no, the "f" isn't capitalized). I can find LOTS of information about old man Macf (who was one of those "larger than life" characters -- click HERE, if you're interested), but there's very little info on the publishing company itself. I'm relying heavily on comments from Kenneth R. Johnson, the author of The Digest Index and Defunct Paperbacks. (Thanks, Ken).

In 1961, Macfadden Publications bought out Hillman, primarily for Pageant Magazine, and suddenly found itself in possession of a paperback operation, as well. There was, for a very short time, a line of Hillman/Macfadden books, but Macfadden quickly set up its own format and style, using its own name. I get the impression that the company's heart was never really in the book business. The Macfadden paperback enterprise lasted only about a decade. The operation was sold, and became Manor Books for a short time before once again going under.

There is definitely some connection between Macfadden and Bartholomew House, which produced Bart House books during the war and several paperback anthologies in the 1950's. Ken Johnson notes that the first several Hillman/Macfadden books are listed as being produced by Bartholomew House, and he assumes that Macfadden folded everything together after the Hillman acquisition.

Macfadden's numbering system is downright weird, though after Ken explained it to me, I guess it sort of makes sense. Each of the price-based prefixes (35-, 40-, 50-, 60-, 75-, 95-) had its own number sequence, all starting with 101. I've listed them here by prefix rather than sorting them by date of publication.







The Macfadden Section was updated in June, 2016