Feb 27, 2014

Duke: The First Black Men’s Pinup Magazine

Duke was the first black men’s pinup magazine, launched in 1957. It was based on the editorial format pioneered by Playboy, and like that magazine was also published in Chicago. It featured fiction, interviews, fashion, racy cartoons, and of course, a pin-up centerfold. Notable writers published in Duke included Chester Himes, Langston Hughes, and George S. Schuyler. Science fiction writer Ray Bradbury had a story in the first issue called “The Last White Man.” Like Playboy and other men’s magazines of the time, Duke featured lots of illustration, and its interior design owed much to early issues of Hugh Hefner’s publication.

The editor of Duke was Dan Burley, a well-known African American journalist and jazz pianist who also worked at the Amsterdam News, Jet, and Ebony. The art director was Leroy Winbush. Sadly, Duke lasted only six issues before folding.

We’ve got scans of all six Duke covers, plus a bonus “Duchess of the Month” centerfold from the first issue!

You can see many inside page scans from the debut issue of Duke and read more about this remarkable magazine at Darwination Scans. (Thanks to them for a number of the scans in this story).

(Above): Duke debut issue, June 1957

02 Duke July57

July 1957

03 Duke Aug57

August 1957

04 Duke Sept57

September 1957

05 Nov57

Duke Ellington, November 1957

06 Oct57

October 1957

07 Duke DuchessJune57

Eleanor Crews, Duke‘s “Duchess of the Month” centerfold, from the June 1957 issue. Source: Darwination Scans

Many thanks to the delightful 16 Stone Vintage site for a number of cover scans.