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The Art of Packaging: Lesbian Pulp Fiction

This type of fiction writing aimed specifically at the lesbian market (or men who wanted to read about lesbians) was popular in the 1950’s – mid 60’s. At the time it was really the only information for, or about, lesbians and became quite popular, though still slightly underground. Small publishing houses like Brandon, Beacon and especially Midwood really hit the market hard with these titles, (sometimes w/ different cover art and author name for the same book – see Queer Patterns). The later books from the ’60’s would have the more titillating covers, but they all had a great tagline or mini-description to draw the customer – “The story of a strange and terrible triangle – 2 tormented sisters and the woman they both desired” (Warped). When you look at these covers keep in mind that, almost always, the dark haired woman in the illustration is the boss and the blond has been ‘turned’ into a lesbian by her. Goddamn those brunette lesbians!

"... and as madam of the top call-girl ring, she took her pick of the very choicest dolls!"

"She knew no desire but for that of another woman."

"Lesbian Love - Can it ever be condoned?"

"She longed for a man, but her body made her a slave to those women who could satisfy her lust"

"She was only 17 but her body was paid for in full by another woman - A Lesbian"

"She searched for love - and found forbidden ecstasy"

"Addie was man crazy until Margo showed that man-woman love isn't everything"

"...they were more then ambitious, they were driven by lesbian desires"

"A delicate theme, treated honestly and cndidly."

Art of Packaging: Lesbian Pulp Novels

Lesbian themed fiction came out of the closet in the early fifties with 1952’s “Women’s Barracks” (see 9th cover down). Most of these were written by lesbians, for lesbians but, as is obvious, some were just sleazey fetish stories written by men to cash in on the trend. Looking at them now they seem naive and hilarious with their come-on tag lines “Primal Passions led them to Lust’s Outlands”. For the most part the design is in keeping w/ 50’s and 60’s pulp artwork – beautifully painted scenes with good layout and type work. One thing to remember on these covers – the butch girl always has dark hair and is always the boss.

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