New York: 1952. First edition in this format. These course booklets were mailed to readers on subscription, with an additional fee to order the cloth binder separately. A “180-Day Course” edition was published from 1950 to 1951. Some material (including an eight-page cosmetics color chart in the Personal Analysis Guide) appears for the first time in the present edition. Most is repeated from the 1950-51 edition. All editions are scarce in the full set. Ten of the booklets are numbered, plus one “Personal Analysis Guide” special issue. Each issue is fully illustrated in color and in black. This full set of eleven issues comprise a hundred-day “Course in Successful Living for Women.” Style icons of the day are credited as contributors on various articles: Diana Barrymore, Helena Rubinstein, Marguerite Benson, Clair Ogilvie, Charles Revson, Frankie Van, Lily Pons, Patricia Coffin, and others. Some edgewear. With a laid-in envelope (addressed to Alta Steele in Doniphan, Nebraska) containing two printed sheets of testimonials and advertisements (one illustrated in pink) for the course, plus a mail-order return envelope. A near fine set. Bound together in a gray cloth binder with a white-and-red embossed illustration. Eleven booklets, 32 pp. each. Item #17559
"You are invited to gain a whole world of new friends…new confidence and poise…new health and vitality…new prestige and pleasure…In short, you are invited to discover the new ‘YOU,’ that wonderfully Charming Woman latent within the present ‘you.’ To help you achieve these aims, this ‘CHARMING WOMAN’ Course has enlisted not one or two, but no less than 14 foremost experts from New York and Hollywood—specialists in each of the 14 major phases of success training,” (from the laid-in advertising brochure). This mail-order guide promises to instruct women in fashion, weight loss, personal grooming, and social conduct using the “expertise” of celebrities and midcentury style icons. It seems that The Charming Woman was not a fashion magazine that circulated aside from these guides, but the aesthetics and content of the present set are consistent with the genre.
Helen Fraser was a model and businesswoman who founded the Barbizon Modeling and Acting School in New York in 1939. The school still operates today with a headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and trains performers who appear mostly in teen entertainment.