George Salter & The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction

One of the largest collections within our Periodicals Collections is The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. We have 40 years’ worth of issues, and perusing them you’ll not only come across familiar writers, such as Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Ursula K. Le Guin, but encounter work by some of the most influential individuals in mid-century illustration and graphic design.

One example is George Salter, the magazine’s art editor from its first issue in 1949 until 1958. Salter designed the calligraphic logo, illustrated several early covers, and helped establish the look of F&SF. When Salter came to the magazine, he already had had a hugely successful career in book design, and was (and still is) well known in the field for his innovative and beautiful dust jackets. Although there are many bios available about him online, few mention his illustrations for F&SF.  A look at Salter’s covers, however, shows that they’re worth remembering alongside his other work: they are engaging, unconventional, and somehow manage to evoke something about science fiction and fantasy without relying on clichés. Take a look:

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If you’re interested in seeing more of Salter’s work, you can check out some of his book cover designs here and here. If you’d like to see more F&SF covers, the site Galactic Central has scanned every issue of the magazine’s run, and you can find them here.

About the author

Andrea Degener is the Visual Materials Processing Archivist in the department of Special Collections at Washington University Libraries.