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Short Stories was an American fiction magazine that existed between 1890 and 1959.
Short Stories began its existence as a literary periodical, carrying work by Rudyard Kipling, Émile Zola, Bret Harte, Ivan Turgenev and Anna Katharine Green. The magazine advertised itself with the slogan "Twenty-Five Stories for Twenty-Five Cents". After a few years, Short Stories became dominated by reprinted fiction. The magazine was sold in 1904 and eventually purchased by Doubleday, Page and Company, which in 1910 transformed Short Stories into a "quality pulp". The magazine's new editor, Harry E. Maule (1886-1971) placed an emphasis on Short Stories carrying well-written fiction; pulp magazine historian Robert Sampson states "For Short Stories, like Adventure and Blue Book to follow, rose above the expedient prose of rival magazines like ivory towers thrusting up from swampland".
In the 1920s and 1930s, however, Short Stories was best known as a publisher of Western stories, with many of the best-known Western fiction writers such as Clarence E. Mulford, Max Brand, Luke Short, Ernest Haycox, W. C. Tuttle, James B. Hendryx, Barry Scobee, Bertrand William Sinclair and B. M. Bower appearing in its pages. Short Stories also carried adventure fiction, such as "Northern" tales set in the Yukon,and adventures in the South Seas or Sub-Saharan Africa. The magazine's writers in the adventure genre included George Allan England, H. Bedford-Jones, Gordon MacCreagh, J. Allan Dunn, L. Patrick Greene (stories set in Africa), J.D. Newsom (with light-hearted Foreign Legion stories), William Wirt (who chronicled the exploits of a mercenary, Jimmie Cordie) and George F. Worts (who wrote about South Sea adventures).
In addition to fiction, Maule also created "The Story Teller's Circle", a forum for readers to write in and discuss issues (similar to "The Camp-Fire" department in Adventure magazine). Edgar Franklin Wittmack, Remington Schuyler and Nick Eggenhofer all painted several covers for Short Stories.
Maule edited the magazine for almost two decades.Between 1929 and 1932 Roy De S. Horn served as editor; Maule returned as editor in 1932. In 1936, Maule was succeeded in this role by Dorothy McIlwraith. The next year, Doubleday sold the publication to a new owner, Short Stories, Inc. (McIlwraith would also edit Weird Tales when Short Stories, Inc. purchased that magazine). During the 1940s, writers such as Frank Gruber, Arthur O. Friel, Theodore Roscoe and Carl Jacobi appeared in Short Stories.
A British edition of Short Stories was published between 1920 and 1959; it merged with the UK version of the West magazine in 1954 and was known as Short Stories Incorporating West. The September 1950 issue of Short Stories carried Robert A. Heinlein's story Destination Moon, an adaptation of the film. This was unusual as Short Stories rarely published science fiction.
Like other pulps, the advent of World War Two, and the arrival of paperbacks and television had a negative effect on Short Stories; circulation figures plummeted and by the 1950s the magazine was dominated by reprints. Despite the efforts of new editor M.D. Gregory and his associate editor, Frank Belknap Long, Short Stories ceased publication in 1959.