Queen of the Pulps

Daisy Bacon (1898-1986) was the editor of Love Story Magazine, the biggest selling pulp fiction magazine during the dark days of the Depression and World War II and the magazines that began the pulp romance craze that lasted for over thirty years. From 1928 to 1947, Daisy commandeered the publication of this magazine that reached the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers across the country every week.

Daisy business shot Alfredo Valente

At the same time, she championed the “modern girl” through provocative opinions on the new role of women in both relationships and in business. Much of Love Story’s success can be attributed to Daisy’s intuitive selection of stories that featured the modern “working girl” who finds love with the man of her dreams. The right man always comes along for the heroine, and adultery and premarital sex were subjects rarely addressed, and only when the circumstances surrounding them resulted in a teachable moment for the heroine.LS 1936 08.08

Daisy was an unlikely candidate to be editor of a magazine that printed mass formula fiction that catered to a working-class audience. She was a descendant of William Bradford, five-time governor of the Plymouth Colony, and also a collateral descendant of Sir Francis Bacon. But she relished her job at Street & Smith and, after only two years of experience, became the editor of Love Story in 1928 and stayed editor until it ceased publication in 1947.

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Daisy edited other magazines as well, along with her responsibilities on the Love Story desk. Among them were Real Love, Ainslee’s Smart Love Stories, Pocket Love, Romantic Range, Detective Story Magazine (1940-1949), and The Shadow and Doc Savage in 1948-1949, the last year of their existence.

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The history of the romance pulp magazines is woven into the narrative of Queen of the Pulps: from Street & Smith’s beginnings as a fiction factory in the 19th century, to the creation of Love Story Magazine in 1921, to the dozens of romance magazines that tried to copy it in the years following and the changes that came with World War II and afterwards.

Queen of the Pulps is the story of Daisy Bacon, but it’s also the untold story of Love Story Magazine, a publication that had a huge impact on the popular fiction industry but, until now, has never been the subject of a full-length book. Finally, Queen of the Pulps is a love story itself, telling the story of Daisy’s personal relationship with a married man over a decade.